Close to 30 percent of Romanian voters showed up at polling stations across Romania to cast their ballots in local elections by 2 p.m. on Sunday. The figures for the first hours of voting seem significantly higher than during the 2008 local elections.

  • UPDATE Voter turnout at 5 p.m. stood at 39.01% at national level, about 5 percentage points higher than in the 2008 local elections. Some 33.55% of voters turned up and voted in urban areas, with 46.47% in rural areas. The highest turnout rate in Bucharest at 5 p.m. was reported in District 1 - 31.65%.

By 2 p.m. local time, seven hours into the voting process, 27.69% of Romanian voters had cast their ballots, according to a Central Electoral Office announcement. 24.72% of voters in urban areas and 31.74% of people in rural areas showed up to vote.

In the 2008 elections, poll attendance by 2 p.m. stood at 23.26%.

The next announcement in this regard will be made at 6.30 p.m.

In Bucharest, some 21.99% of voters cast their ballots by 2 p.m. today, with the highest attendance in the District 1 of the Capital city (24.15%). The counties with the highest attendance were Ilfov, Dambovita, Giurgiu, Teleorman and Prahova, while the counties of Timis, Maramures, Arad, Satu Mare and Bistrita Nasaud had the lowest attendance.

Political commentator Crstian Parvulescu was quoted as saying that voters seem not to consider local problems, but showing up to cast their ballots in larger numbers as a protest to the current political establishment.

Romanians are choosing their mayors, local city councils, county councils and county council presidents in local elections on Sunday.