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     Romanian President claims victory in second round  <<back  next>>

Romania's President Traian Băsescu is heading for re-election after Sunday's run-off, official figures suggest.

With 99% of ballots counted, Băsescu had won just over 50.3% of the vote in the second round, according to the country's election bureau.

Earlier, exit polls had predicted victory for his challenger, former Minister for Foreign Affairs Mircea Geoana.

Both candidates claimed victory on Sunday night in what correspondents describe as a bitter contest.

Mr Geoana told his jubilant supporters in Bucharest after the polls closed: 'Our victory is the victory of all Romanians who want a better life. This is a beautiful night for Romanian democracy'.

Centre-right President Băsescu also claimed victory, saying exit polls were deceptive.

'I won. I assure you that... the correct polls showed that I was ahead of Mircea Geoana', he said.

'My voters need to stay calm and convinced that the counting of votes cannot be subject to fraud', he added.

The election campaign was fought against the backdrop of a serious economic crisis in Romania. It has also been marred by personal attacks and allegations.

One of the key roles of the next president will be to appoint a prime minister, as Romania has been led by a caretaker government since October.

The International Monetary Fund has delayed the payment of part of a bail-out loan because of the current lack of effective government in Romania. Analysts say corruption is still widespread, nearly three years after the country joined the EU.

7 December 2009

 Last updated: 08/12/2009 13:07:00

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