Romania’s opposition Social Democrats (PSD) won Sunday’s general election, a preliminary parallel count showed on Monday.

Turnout was a record low of 33%. With 96% of ballots counted, the PSD  won 29.7% of votes and the centrist National Liberal Party (NLP) of prime minister Ludovic Orban 25.57%.

“The NLP thinks it is the winner of this election. We will seek to represent a way array of interests”, Orban told supporters.

In power for a year, Orban had been constrained in any reform efforts by a parliament controlled by the PSD, which won the previous election in 2016 by a landslide, but faced massive anti-corruption protests and disputes with the EU over controversial judicial reforms.

The PNL is set to fall short of a governing majority, but analysts say the party could try to seek a coalition including the centrist alliance USR-Plus, which won 15.5% of votes.

Another potential NLP ally is the ethnic Hungarian UDMR party, which has already said it wants to co-operate with the NLP.

Romania is one the poorest countries in the EU and millions of its citizens have moved abroad in recent years.


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