Exit polls: Romanian government headed for election loss

Exit polls: Romanian government headed for election loss Bucharest  - The opposition Social Democrats are poised to become Romania's strongest party while ruling Prime Minister Calin Popescu's National Liberal Party suffered a clear defeat, according to exit polls released after Sunday's parliamentary elections.

In voting for both the Senate and the lower chamber of Parliament, separate exit polling by the survey organizations Insomar and CCSB put the Social Democrats (PSD) at
35 to 36 per cent of respondents.

"We have earned the victory in this election," PSD leader Mircea Geoana said. "Romania can't continue like it has."

The centre-right Democratic Liberals (PDL) of Romanian President President Traian Basescu were at 30 to 31 per cent, pushing the National Liberals (PNL) into third place with about 20 per cent in each chamber, the surveys showed.

With the Social Democrats well short of a majority, PDL leader Emil Boc described the election as a "victory" for the right, with his party and the PNL combined possibly above 50 per cent.

With vote counting underway, the first official results were expected Monday.

Voter turnout was reported at 39.26 per cent, the lowest in Romania since the fall of communism. (dpa)