Bucharest – The first results from Romania’s general election show the centre-right Democratic Party, PLD, and leftist Social Democratic Party, PSD, each neck-and-neck with 33 percent of the vote.
Data from the Central Electoral Bureau, based on a count of around 71 percent of votes, also show Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s centre-right Liberals running a distant third with 18 percent of votes while the main party of ethnic Hungarians in Romania, the UDMR got around six percent.
The nationalist Young Generation Party of businessman Gigi Becali is to get around 5 percent of votes.
The first preliminary results are slightly different compared to exit polls released on Sunday night, which gave the PSD roughly 36 percent of votes, and the PLD just under 31 percent.
The final official results are expected to be released by Tuesday morning.
The elections are the first since Romania joined the European Union last year and come as the global financial crisis starts to take its toll on the country’s soaring growth.
Squabbles between President Traian Basescu of the PDL and Tariceanu of the PNL wrecked a coalition between the two parties in 2007.
Since then Tariceanu’s minority government has been tacitly supported in parliament by the PSD and the UDMR.
President Basescu said before the polls that he would prefer a centre-right government.
He is not obliged by law to nominate a prime minister from the winning party.