Oprescu Wins Second Term as Bucharest Mayor, Exit Polls Show

Sorin Oprescu, an independent backed by Romania’s governing alliance, won a second term as mayor of the capital Bucharest in local elections seen as an indicator of voters support before parliamentary elections in few months.

Voters in Romania’s capital city gave Oprescu, backed by the ruling Social Liberal Union, 65.8 percent of the votes compared with 15.7 percent for the Liberal Democrat rival Silviu Prigoana, according to an exit poll conducted by pollster CCSB, and 64.1 percent of the ballots compared with Prigoana’s 17.6 percent, according to pollster CURS.

The Social Liberal Union, which supports Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s government, and the former ruling Liberal Democratic Party will be the main contenders in parliamentary elections in October or November. Bucharest is Romania’s biggest city with 1.6 million people in a country of 19 million.

“The results are a signal of unity” and “it’s a great responsibility for me to receive over 60 percent of the votes of the Bucharest people,” Oprescu said in a televised speech from Bucharest late yesterday after the exit polls were published. He will remain independent, he added.

Ponta, a Social Democrat, was appointed on May 7, after ousting the government of former Prime Minister Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu, who was backed by a coalition led by the Liberal Democrats, who lost public support amid unpopular measures including a 25 percent cut in state wages and a value-added tax increase in 2010.

Ponta’s government agreed with the country’s international lenders to raise wages by 8 percent from this month. The cabinet seeks to grant another 7.4 percent increase next year to restore wages to pre-austerity levels.

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