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Romania is holding today parliamentary elections to renew its Senate and Chamber of Deputies, amid strict protective measures due to the Covid pandemic.
18 million Romanians are called to cast their ballots this Sunday to elect a new bicameral parliament that will serve for the next four years. They will exercise their vote under special protective measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As many as 18,802 polling stations opened at 7:00 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) and will close at 9:00 p.m. (1900 GMT) in 42 constituencies in the country, while 748 stations in 93 foreign countries remain open on Saturday and Sunday.
A total of 7,136 candidates, including those from political parties and independent candidates, are competing for seats in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. To enter parliament, the parties must obtain over 5 percent of the national votes or above 20 percent of the votes in at least four constituencies.
The current parliament holds 465 seats, 136 in the Senate and 329 in the Chamber of Deputies.
Ludovic Orban faces Romanian voters in parliamentary elections for the first time as prime minister. Will he and his party convince enough out to vote amid the COVID pandemic? https://t.co/u1B5xyKSiF
The incumbent National Liberal Party (PNL) is in the forefront of most polls before the election, and the latest survey results concluded that the party would rank first with 28.5 to 33 percent of the votes, followed by the main opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD), with 23.6 to 30 percent of the votes. Only one of the four polls conducted predicted that the SDP will win with 35 percent of the votes, three percentage points more than the PNL.
No matter which of the two parties gets the best score, the winner is unlikely to get more than 50 percent of the votes to hold the majority in the future parliament. Therefore, the future government will almost certainly be a coalition one. Local analysts generally believed that the PNL is likely to reach an agreement in this regard with the USR-PLUS alliance, which currently ranks third in popular support.
Other parties, which may enter the new parliament, include the PRO Romania Social Liberal, the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, and the People's Movement Party. However, the 5-percent electoral threshold is not an easy task for the latter two.
The election is taking place amid the country's worsened pandemic situation, with the number of COVID-19 cases passing half a million on Friday. Therefore, wearing masks and maintaining social distance are rules that voters must follow in the election.