The international press watched Romania pass through its first local elections as a EU member on Sunday. The main conclusions signaled in the press are the low turnout and the fierce electoral battle for Bucharest mayor, between a candidate supported by the President and an independent.

International Herald Tribune reads that the June 1,2008 local elections were a test for the general elections to be held in autumn this year. Moreover, it is important because these are the first elections held as a European Union member when city halls will have access to European funds.

The newspaper reads that these election results will be a clear indicator for what will happen in the autumn parliamentary elections. The paper predicts that three big parties will get most seats: the Democrat Liberals (PD-L), sustained by Romania's President Traian Basescu, the governing Liberal party (PNL) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD).

Right wing candidate Vasile Blaga secured the first place in the first round of elections closely followed by an independent candidate, Sorin Oprescu, AFP informs.

AFP reads that Romanians registered a low turnout in this year's elections. The Bulgarian Focus news agency signals, at its turn, the low turnout and various electoral incidents in the country.