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Romania holds presidential election

BUCHAREST, Romania, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Romanian voters went to the polls Sunday to choose the nation's first president since joining the European Union.

In recent opinion polls, incumbent President Traian Basescu, a centrist backed by the Democratic Liberal Party, narrowly led Mircea Geoana of the Social Democrat Party, Euronews.net reported.

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Basescu campaigned for a smaller parliament to ease decision-making and fight corruption, while Geoana promised to push for a much-needed loan from the International Monetary Fund, Euronews.net said.

Trailing Basescu and Geoana in the polls was Liberal Crin Antonescu, who pledged to freeze utility prices and establish tax cuts.

About 18 million people were eligible to vote in the election, the outcome of which was seen as key to ending the recession and assuring the country's financial stability.

A run-off will be conducted Dec. 6 between the two front runners if no candidate emerged Sunday with an absolute majority.

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