The Latest: Exit polls see runoff in Romania president vote

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The Latest on Romania’s presidential election (all times local):

11:20 p.m.

Two exit polls show President Klaus Iohannis picking up nearly 40% of the votes in the first round of Romania’s presidential election, followed by Viorica Dancila, the recently ousted prime minister, with about 22%. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes in Sunday’s balloting, a runoff between the top two candidates will be held Nov. 24.

Official results are not expected before Monday though exit polls by two local pollsters showed very similar outcomes.

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IRES had the center-right Iohannis with 38.7% of the votes and Dancila, of the Social Democratic Party, with 22%. The poll by CURS-Avangarde showed Iohannis garnering 39% and Dancila at 22.5%.

Iohannis says the exit polls show that “millions of Romanians in the country and abroad voted for our project, for a normal Romania.”

Both exit polls had Dan Barna, of the center-right Save Romania Union, receiving slightly more than 16% of the votes.

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6 a.m.

Romania is holding a presidential election after a lackluster campaign overshadowed by the country’s political crisis, which saw a minority government installed just days ago.

Around 18.2 million voters are eligible to cast ballots in Sunday’s election for one of 14 candidates vying for the five-year presidential term.

Recent polls suggested the incumbent, Klaus Iohannis, is favored to capture the most votes. He appeared to be followed by center-left candidate Viorica Dancila, who until last month was Romania’s prime minister; independent Mircea Diaconu, a former actor and theater director; and Dan Barna, head of the country’s third largest party, the center-right Save Romania Union.

If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, a second round of voting is to be held Nov. 24.

A member of the European Union since 2007, Romania has been struggling to contain its state budget deficit, which is projected to reach 4.4% of GDP next year, well above the EU limit of 3%. Poverty is also widespread. According to a World Bank study last year, over 25% of Romania’s people live on less than $5.50 a day.

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