In Romania, the nearly 19 million citizens eligible to vote today, Sunday, are called upon to appoint their head of state for a five-year term. The polling stations opened at 07.00 hrs local time (06.00 hrs CET).
It is the eighth presidential election of the Romanian reunification. If none of the total of 14 candidates for the highest office in the state reaches the absolute majority in the first round of voting, the ballot will be held on 24 November.
The home-grown favorite of this year's election race is the German-born incumbent Klaus Johannis: The 60-year-old, who competes as a candidate of the ruling Liberals (PNL), leads in all polls with more than 45 percent clearly, while his counterparts all below the 20 percent Mark lie.
In Romania, therefore, it will be especially interesting to see who will make it into the runoff election as Johannis' challenger, with unanimous opinion pollsters. The most promising candidates for the decisive round are the head of the bourgeois opposition party "Union saves Romania" (USR), Dan Barna, ex-prime minister Viorica Dancila as the top candidate of the post-communist PSD and the populist actor and former MP Mircea Diaconu from the two small parties "Pro Romania "and ALDE. Her political future is at stake, especially for ex-Prime Minister Dancila: If she does not make it to the run-off – a defeat never seen by the PSD in post-revolutionary times – she will no longer be acceptable to the Romanian comrades as party leader.
The Liberal minority government under Prime Minister Ludovic Orban (PNL), which has been in office for only a few days, was primarily concerned with a smoothly running election abroad: 835 polling stations (including 17 in Austria) are available to Romanian voters worldwide – almost twice as many as at the European elections of May. To prevent endless queues of about four million foreign Rumanen before embassies and consulates of their country, they can vote this time also over a period of three days – in fact, the vote has started outside the country's borders on Friday. The election deadline at home and abroad is on Sunday at 21.00 local time (20.00 CET).