Exit polls in Romania presidential elections announced at 9.00 p.m. on Sunday showed PM Victor Ponta and opposition candidate Klaus Iohannis neck in neck with votes counted by 7.00 p.m. local time, as thousands of people were still waiting to vote at polling stations across Europe and the US. Exit polls run by TV channels close to Ponta showed a slight advantage to Ponta (50,3 to 49.7%), while one for public TV channel TVR showed a 3 percentage points advantage for Iohannis.Online media report major irregularities by Victor Ponta's camp especially in rural Romania.
A poll by IRES for Digi 24 news channel, which was closest to final results in the first round of elections, showed 50.9% for Iohannis and 49.1% for Ponta.
A poll by Sociopol for Ponta-friendly Antena 3 news channel showed a reversed score: 49.1% for Iohannis and 50.9% for Ponta.
A poll by CSCI for Ponta-friendly Romania TV news channel: 50.7% for Ponta, 49.3% for Iohannis.
A poll by CURS for Romanian public channel TVR: 48.5% for Ponta to 51.5% Iohannis.
A poll by ARP for Realitatea TV news channel: 50%-50%
Final results will be seriously influenced by votes abroad, where thousands and thousands of Romanians waited many hours in long queues in cities across Europe to cast their ballots, defying a humiliating organisation of polling stations by the government. The situation of voting abroad prompted protests in Bucharest where thousands gathered downtown on Sunday evening.
Voters abroad are expected to favor Iohannis massively, especially since many more showed up to have their say after thousands of people could not vote in the first round of elections, due to terrible organisation of polling stations. And Romanian authorities under PM Ponta have opted not to open supplementary polling stations abroad despite electoral officials saying there was no legal problem with that.
In Romania, online media and Facebook users reported serious irregularities in counties under the control of PM Ponta's Social Democratic Party, especially in rural parts of South Romania.
Victor Ponta did not hold a speech once the exit polls were announced, which was unusual for a presidential candidate. For his part, Klaus Iohannis said the vote was "phenomenal", marked by a "massive turnout". He thanked all who voted and urged the government to prolong voting time at polling stations abroad.