Bucharest, Dec 7 (IANS) Romania's main opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) is likely to win the most votes in the country's quadrennial parliamentary election, according to a surprising exit poll jointly launched by poll agencies CURS and Avangarde as voting ended at 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT).
The CURS-Avangarde exit poll on Sunday showed that PSD would likely garner 30.6 percent and 30.5 percent of the votes, respectively, in the election of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, over one percentage point more than its main rival -- the ruling National Liberal Party (PNL), Xinhua news agency reported.
The PNL was in the forefront of most polls before the election, with 3-5 percentage points higher than its opponent PSD.
According to the exit poll, PNL received 29.1 per cent and 29 per cent of the votes in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, respectively, followed by the USR-PLUS Alliance with 16.4 and 15.9 per cent. Other parties, which may enter the new parliament, include the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, the Alliance for Unity of Romanians, the PRO Romania Social Liberal and the People's Movement Party.
Under special protection measures, Romania held the parliamentary election on Sunday amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with a total of 7,136 candidates competing for seats in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. In order to enter the parliament, the parties must obtain over 5 per cent of the national votes or over 20 per cent of the votes in at least four constituencies.
There are 465 seats in the current parliament -- 136 in the Senate and 329 in the Chamber of Deputies.
According to the data announced by the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC), the total number of eligible voters in Romania is over 18 million, yet the turnout rate in this general election was only 31.84 per cent, the lowest level in the past 30 years.
The ballot counting is currently underway. It is difficult to predict the final results given possible exit poll errors and the tight race. The first official results are due to be released later on Sunday night.
However, no matter which of the two parties gets the best score, the winner is unlikely to win more than 50 percent of the votes to hold the majority in the future parliament. Therefore, the future government will almost certainly be a coalition one.
The PNL has announced that it will negotiate with the USR-PLUS alliance to establish a ruling coalition after the election, though it has not received a positive response from the latter so far.
The election took place amid the worsened pandemic situation in the country, with the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases surpassing half a million on Friday.
Therefore, wearing face masks and maintaining social distance are rules that voters must follow in the election.
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