December 6, 2009 / 7:29 PM / 9 years ago

Both candidates claim victory in Romania vote

Romania's incumbent President Traian Basescu casts his ballot at a polling station in Bucharest December 6, 2009. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Both candidates in Romania’s presidential election claimed victory on Sunday after early exit polls showed leftist challenger Mircea Geoana with a slim lead over centre-right incumbent Traian Basescu.

“Together, we won,” Geoana told supporters. “This is a beautiful night for Romanian democracy.”

But Basescu said that “correct counting of votes” showed that he had defeated Geoana in the tense runoff ballot.

Two exit polls broadcast after polls closed at 1900 GMT gave Geoana the lead. A survey by CURS agency for public television TVR said Geoana had 50.8 percent of ballots cast by 5 p.m. British time, versus 49.2 percent for Basescu. Another poll by agency INSOMAR showed Geoana ahead 51.6 percent to 48.4 percent as of 5 p.m. British time.

Reporting by Ioana Patran; Writing by Michael Winfrey, editing by Paul Taylor

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