POLITICS

Exit polls give Geoana slight lead, Basescu refuses to concede defeat

All three exit polls released last evening at 9 p.m. after ballot stations were closed gave Social Democrat runner Mircea Geoana a slight lead over his presidential runoff rival, incumbent Traian Basescu. CCSB polling institute credited Geoana with 51.2 per cent of the votes and Basescu with 48.8 per cent, while INSOMAR gave 51.6 per cent to the PSD leader and 48.4 to Basescu. The difference between the two was smaller in the CURS exit poll, which credited Geoana with 50.8 and Basescu with 49.2 per cent. Voter turnout was of 53.51 per cent until 7 p.m.


Geoana and his supporters received the news with great joy. The Social Democrat leader thanked all his supporters and his family, but most of all Liberal leader Crin Antonescu and the PNL, saying that “this is Crin Antonescu`s victory and mine to the same extent.” After the first round of elections, Antonescu, who came in third, signed a collaboration deal with Geoana, which extends the cooperation to the creation of the future government. The Social Democrat leader said his election win was a victory of normality and common sense and promised to get to work immediately to appoint a prime minister who can efficiently fight the economic crisis.


Geoana also thanked Basescu for his activity as president in the last five years and assured him that he would treat him with all the due respect. “I am convinced he will have the power to go past this sense of bitterness and assure the proper transfer of duties, like in any democratic country,” he said.


But Basescu was not so quick to concede defeat. Even before the exit polls were released, the President addressed a crowd of supporters at the Democrat Liberal Party headquarters and claimed victory in the election, underlining that the vote count cannot be rigged. “I won, just like in 2004. I assure you that at 7 p.m., correct polls showed that I was ahead of Geoana,” Basescu told supporters. The president did not wait to hold his speech after Geoana, as custom required him to allow the first in the polls to hold a speech first, and left immediately after he finished addressing his supporters. Basescu and his PDL supporters are heavily relying on votes from the Diaspora, which is generally perceived as a stronghold of the current president, and the results of the vote abroad might significantly narrow Geoana`s lead or even trigger an upset, according to commentators.

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