Both candidates claimed victory in Romania's presidential runoff Sunday, leaving the outcome uncertain in an election Romanians hope can pull the country out of its worst political and economic crisis in 20 years.
Three exit polls showed the country's left-leaning ex-foreign minister Mircea Geoana appearing to lead incumbent Traian Basescu by a slim margin following a bitter race marked by allegations of corruption.
Geoana, an ex-foreign minister and leader of the Social Democrats who has branded himself a unifier and team builder, declared himself the winner, calling the results of the exit polls "a victory for normalcy, a victory for decency, for all citizens who want a better life."
But Basescu claimed the exit polls were deceptive. "You will see the manipulations on the television stations . . . Today you can trust me fully when I tell you I won," he said.
The first official vote tallies were expected Monday.