Incumbent president wins first round of Romanian vote

Incumbent President Traian Basescu won the first round of Romania's presidential election last night, and will face leftist leader Mircea Geoana in a Dec. 6 runoff, exit polls showed

Romanians voted yesterday in a closely fought presidential election that will prove vital in reviving economic and justice reforms and solving a government crisis that has delayed aid from the International Monetary Fund.

Without the quick formation of a new government and a renewed push to modernise, Romania could fail to recover swiftly from recession and will likely lag behind other former Soviet bloc states that have joined the European Union.

The new president will play a pivotal role in the reform process by nominating a new prime minister, who must replace the centre-left coalition that collapsed in October amid internal bickering.

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