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Romanian Election Ends With Likelihood of Runoff

Associated Press
Monday, November 29, 2004; Page A15

BUCHAREST, Romania, Nov. 28 -- Exit polls showed no clear winner in the election Sunday to replace President Ion Iliescu, raising the likelihood of a runoff next month between a former ship's captain with a populist message and a political veteran.

Iliescu, a Soviet-educated engineer who was president from 1990 to 1996, was returned to office in 2000.

The polls also showed that in the parliamentary election, no party won a majority that would enable it to form a government.

The two top vote-getters, Prime Minister Adrian Nastase of the left-wing Social Democratic Party and Bucharest Mayor Traian Basescu, both have promised to lead the East European country out of poverty and into the European Union. Both also would likely maintain the country's support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq, where Romania has about 700 troops.

Exit polls showed Nastase leading with about 43 percent of the vote, while Basescu was in second place with 35 percent.

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