Exit polls show that pro-European President Klaus Iohannis comfortably won the first round of voting Sunday in the presidential race where he will face ex-Prime Minister Viorica Dancila in a runoff in two weeks.
CURS-Avangarde put Iohannis winning 39 % percent of the vote and Dancila 22.5% According to the exit poll, another candidate, Dan Barna was in the third place with 16.4%.
To win outright, Iohannis needed to win more than 50%.
Another poll, IRES polls gave Iohannis 38.7% and Dancila 22%, with Barna, a centrist, polling 16.1%.
Iohannis said the result was “a clear vote against the Social Democrats… this thing means an enormous step forward,” said Iohannis. “Millions of Romanians at home and abroad have voted for a normal Romania and to change things for the better in Romania,” he said.
Dancila said „We showed Romanians we are with them and we hope that in the next two weeks as many Romanians as possible will join us, even those with alternative views.”
The exit polls however do not take into account Romanian voters who cast their ballots abroad. More than 650,000 Romanians voted abroad, most voting for Iohannis and Barna, which could affect the overall result.
Turnout was about 47% one hour before polls closed.
Romania’s president nominates a prime minister, who then needs to be approved by Parliament.The president has some authority to block legislation, by sending send back laws adopted by parliament by challenging them in the constitutional court or by sending them back to be re-considered. The president is also in charge of foreign policy and security.
First results are expected Monday morning.