Exit polls showed no clear winner in Romania’s presidential election, and the vote will probably head to a runoff between a former ship’s captain with a populist message and a political veteran whose party is associated with the country’s Communist past.
The polls also showed that no party won a majority in the parliamentary election that would enable it to form a government by itself.
The two top vote-getters both promise to lead the East European country out of poverty and into the European Union, and both also will probably maintain their support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Romania has about 700 troops there.
Although 12 candidates contested the presidency, the race was between Prime Minister Adrian Nastase of the left-wing Social Democratic Party and Bucharest Mayor Traian Basescu, the former sailor.
The polls showed Nastase leading for the presidency with up to 43% of the vote and Basescu in second place with 35%.
About 18 million people were eligible to vote, and turnout was expected to be 57%.
If the exit polls hold up, a runoff will be needed Dec. 12 because no candidate will have received more than 50% of the vote.