Romania’s incumbent president, Klaus Iohannis, is set to win another term after a second round of voting in the presidential election, exit polls showed Sunday.
Iohannis, supported by the National Liberal Party (PNL), got 65.5 percent of the vote, beating his competitor, former Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă from the Social Democratic Party (PSD), who received 33.5 percent of the vote, according to an exit poll by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy.
“It’s the most categorical victory ever obtained against the PSD,” Iohannis claimed after the exit poll results were announced. He asked people to also go vote in next year’s local and general elections to send the PSD into the opposition in parliament.
Still, Dăncilă argued that the PSD recovered some of its losses after the European Parliament election earlier this year when the party won about 22 percent of the Romanian vote, which gives her hope for winning next year’s elections.
“I thank my colleagues in the territory, I want to thank the PSD supporters and activists, to all those who wanted to replace hatred and separation with unity and trust,“ Dăncilă said.
In the run-up to the second round of voting in the presidential ballot, Iohannis had refused to engage in a televised debate with Dăncilă because he accused her party of governing against the interests of Romanians while in power, before her government collapsed in October. Dăncilă demanded a debate numerous times, but instead, the two ended up holding parallel press conferences almost at the same time last Tuesday in Bucharest.
Turnout was 54.89 percent, with more than 10 million Romanians coming out to vote on Sunday.
Romanians living abroad set a new record for participation, with some 930,000 casting ballots. Unlike those who live in the country, citizens abroad had three days to vote — instead of one — and could also send their vote by post ahead of the election. Between 3-5 million Romanians are estimated to live abroad, representing almost 20 percent of the country’s population.