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Romanians Vote In Presidential Runoff

Romanians have begun casting ballots in a November 16 presidential runoff vote.

Opinion polls show Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta with a strong lead against his nearest challenger in the November 2 first round, Klaus Iohannis.

Ponta became Romania's prime minister after his left wing-dominated Social Liberal Union alliance took charge in May 2012 and toppled Ponta's predecessor in a no-confidence vote.

Ponta's party also capitalized on discontent over austerity policies, winning a landslide victory at parliamentary elections in December 2012.

Iohannis is an ethnic German physics teacher and the mayor of the medieval Transylvanian town of Sibiu.

He has been credited with transforming Sibiu into a tourist hub.

Ponta finished 10 percentage points ahead of Iohannis in the first round, but failed to get 50 percent of the first-round vote needed to win the presidency outright on November 2.

The winner will replace outgoing President Traian Basescu.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and BBC