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Romanian election too close to call

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BUCHAREST, Romania, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Both candidates in Romania's presidential election runoff claimed victory Sunday night but an official tally won't be released before Monday, officials say.

Mircea Geoana, leader of the Social Democratic Party, declared victory after exit polls showed him leading with 51 percent of the vote, The New York Times reported Sunday.

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But incumbent President Traian Basescu, supported by the Democrat Liberal Party, refused to concede, declaring himself the victor and alleging media manipulation, the Times said.

Basescu and Geoana emerged on top in a first round of voting Nov. 29, with Basescu garnering 32.44 percent of the vote and Geoana 31.5 percent. Under Romanian law, a runoff is mandatory if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.

Romania's deep economic crisis was a contentious point of debate during the presidential campaign, RIA Novosti reported Sunday.

The International Monetary Fund blocked a $2.2 billion bailout loan after Romanian leaders failed to resolve a political crisis and agree to budget cuts for 2010.

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