A presidential election aimed at helping Romania emerge from a political and economic crisis failed to produce a winner, and the top two candidates will compete in a runoff next month, according to two exit polls.
If the exit polls are confirmed by official results on Monday, centrist President Traian Basescu, 58, will face socialist former Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana, 51, in the runoff on Dec. 6.
One exit poll said Basescu won 34.1 percent of the votes, compared to 30.9 percent for Geoana, on Sunday. The other said Basescu won 32.8 percent, compared to 31.7 percent for Geoana. Conservative opposition leader Crin Antonescu polled about 21 percent, finishing third in an election featuring a dozen candidates
Romania's government collapsed last month amid squabbling between the two-party coalition, and the International Monetary Fund has delayed access to a $2 billion IMF bailout loan while the country struggles to set up a new government.
A president is key to reviving the government because he nominates a prime minister, whom Parliament must then approve and who would be responsible for forming a new coalition.