Klaus Iohannis who is backed by the ruling Liberal party (PNL) won the first round of the Romania's presidential elections on Sunday (Nov. 10), taking 37.8% of the vote.
Ranked second is Social Democratic Party's (PSD) head Viorica Dancila winning 22.3%.
Since no contender won more than 50 percent, there will be a second round of voting. The two will now take part in a run-off election scheduled for November 24.
"We have beaten the Social Democrats," Iohannis, an ethnic German and former mayor of Sibiu in Transylvania, told supporters. "But the war is not over, we have to take another step forward in two weeks," he said.
Dancila, the first woman to make it to the second round of a presidential election, said she was "happy" with the result. "We are present in the second round, I thank those who voted with their hearts," she added.
Dancila was prime minister until last month, when her government was forced to step down after losing a no-confidence vote in Parliament.
Dan Barna, the leader of the insurgent Save Romania Union (USR), was third in the poll with 14.9%.
Fourth came actor Mircea Diaconu (independent) with 8.9%, followed by Theodor Paleologu (Popular Movement Party - PMP) with 5.7%, Kelemen Hunor (Democrat Magyar Union - UDMR) with 3.9%, Ramona Bruynseels with 2.7%, and Alexandru Cumpanasu with 1.5%, according to partial results from Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP), after the counting of 99.7% of the votes.
Around 18.2 million voters were eligible to vote. Turnout was just over 50 per cent, the lowest domestic turnout of the past 30 years. However, a record high 660,000 voters among the country’s diaspora took part.
While lacking an executive role, Romania's president has significant decision-making powers.
He is in charge of foreign policy and security, he is commander in chief of the armed forces, nominates a prime minister — who then needs to be approved by Parliament.
The President can veto laws adopted by parliament.
Ioannis, 60, started his political career in 1990. He entered national politics in 2009 and won his first term as President of Romania in 2014 with 54.43% of the votes. He recently helped Liberal Party head Ludovic Orban, take charge of the new government.