Romanians are heading to the polls to vote in the legislative election, in a country that has had five prime ministers in as many years amid deep political uncertainty.
Cabinet shake ups and no-confidence votes have marked a period of instability in a country with one of the European Union’s highest emigration rates.
Some 18 million people are registered to vote on Sunday at 18,000 polling stations across the country, however some analysts believe turnout could be low.
Radu Magdin, a political analyst in Bucharest, told Euronews that turnout could be historically low, around 30% of total registered voters, compared to 39.5% in 2016.
That is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also reflects a disappointment amongst voters in their choices.
According to most pre-election polls, the weekend vote is likely to favour reform-oriented politicians united in their resolve to keep Romania in step with the EU mainstream and away from the camp of other post-communist nations, such as Hungary and Poland, with their populist, eurosceptic leaders.
The center-right National Liberal Party, known by its Romanian acronym PNL, appears set to become the top vote-getter. But the mainstay party of Romania’s EU-aligned, austerity-prone social conservatives is expected to fall far short of a parliamentary majority.
Its main rival, the left-leaning, populist Social Democratic Party, or PSD in Romanian, won the last election in 2016 and ran through three prime ministers.
Then in 2019 the government collapsed, and Ludovic Orban from PNL was appointed prime minister, heading a three-party coalition.