Romania PM concedes presidential runoff defeat

Romania PM concedes presidential runoff defeat

Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:34AM GMT

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has conceded defeat in a tight presidential runoff against a rival who has vowed to fight corruption.

“I congratulated Mr. Iohannis on his victory. The people are always right,” Ponta said on Sunday.

Earlier Sibiu Mayor Klaus Iohannis claimed a “shock victory” against Ponta.

With the official result not expected until Monday morning, exit polls gave Iohannis a slight lead in the neck-and-neck race.

Throughout his bid for presidency, conservative Iohannis, 55, has pledged to reinforce the rule of law and to attract more foreign investment to the EU’s second poorest country.

Fraud investigations of senior Ponta aides are partly believed to have hampered the 42-year-old former prosecutor’s chances.

Iohannis is set to succeed President Traian Basescu, who is stepping down after a decade.

Thousands in Romania have held protest rallies following the first round of the vote, forcing Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean to step down on November 10.

Romania’s president is responsible for foreign policy and appointment of top officials, including prosecutors.

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