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Ruling Party Seen Leading Romanian Elections

29 November 2004 -- Exit polls suggest that Romania's ruling Social Democratic Party leads parliamentary voting but will come up short of a majority that would allow it to form a government single-handedly.

In yesterday's presidential vote, exit polls showed Social Democratic Prime Minister Adrian Nastase taking more than 41 percent of the vote against at least 35 percent for Bucharest Mayor Traian Basescu, suggesting that a second round will be required.

Voters will decide which of the two men will succeed outgoing President Ion Iliescu in a 12 December runoff.

In the parliament vote, two exit polls showed the Social Democrats winning up to 40 percent of the vote against about 35 percent for the centrist Justice and Truth Alliance.

Partial official results are expected later today.

The new Romanian leadership will be responsible for pushing through reforms aimed at reducing corruption and poverty ahead of the country's hoped-for entry into the European Union in 2007.