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Liberal Mayor Wins Romanian Presidency

  • RFE/RL

Klaus Iohannis has promised to continue defending the independence of justice initiated by outgoing center-right President Traian Basescu.

Klaus Iohannis has promised to continue defending the independence of justice initiated by outgoing center-right President Traian Basescu.

Liberal Party leader Klaus Iohannis has won a tense presidential runoff to become the first ethnic German president of Romania.

Iohannis, the longtime mayor of the Transylvanian city of Sibiu, defeated center-left Prime Minister Victor Ponta, winning almost 55 percent of the vote.

Ponta comfortably won the first round, but came under heavy criticism for preventing many of the 4 million Romanians living abroad from voting.

On November 16, thousands of Romanians queued for hours outside polling stations in cities across Western Europe, and many could not vote, despite the government's promise to speed up the voting process.

Police used tear gas against Romanians protesting outside polling stations in Paris and Turin.

In Bucharest and in cities across Romania, tens of thousands took to the streets on November 17 to celebrate Iohannis's victory.

The turnout, 62 percent, is the largest since 2000.

Iohannis has promised to continue defending the independence of justice initiated by outgoing center-right President Traian Basescu.

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