Romanians are heading to the polls to elect their new president.
The second round run-off pits social-democrat prime minister Victor Ponta against a centre-right mayor Klaus Iohannis.
Ponta, who has promised tax cuts and pension hikes, is the favourite to win, but journalist Costi Rogozanu feels there is not much difference between the two candidates.
“In Romania we have a social democrat who does not even hide the fact that he is on the right. And he even proposes a prime minister of the right, Tariceano, a liberal who has led a conservative government with the former president.”
One of the EU’s poorest nations, Romania is looking to exit an IMF-led aid deal and is emerging from painful budget cuts.
As they left the booths, voters expressed their hopes for the future.
“I voted for a European path for Romania,” explained one voter.
“A president who can take decisions, who is a strong president, not weak and who keeps the country’s books balanced and is not influenced by the political parties,” expressed another.
With two candidates who agree on the main issues, it may turn out to be a tight race.
From Bucharest correspondent Laura Davidescu reports: “If the public images of the two candidates in the Romanian presidential poll are quite distinctive, it’s not the case for their political projects. It’s not clear which path Romania should take to leave its reputation behind, that of a country on the fringe of the European Union.”