Romanians Going to Polls under New Voting RulesSoutheast Europe | December 11, 2016, Sunday // 09:12| views
File photo, EPA/BGNES
Voting has begun in Romania in a regular parliamentary election, with social democrats and liberals will be vying to get the biggest number of seats.
Some 18.9 million Romanians are eligible to cast ballots. The voting day started at 07:00 local time (EET).
The election comes just over a year after a controversial government of the left-wing Social Democrats (PSD) stepped down following a fire in a Bucharest nightclub that killed 64 people and sparked huge public outcry, with protesters arguing rampant corruption was to blame for the incident.
The PSD's support is projected at 40%. The center-right National Liberal Party (PNL), formerly led by serving President Klaus Iohannis, and newly emerged Save Romania Union (USR), which backs the liberals, are tipped to get some 35-40%, according to some local polls cited by DW.
New rules are being applied to Sunday's general poll. The total number of seats contested will be reduced to 466 (including 134 senators), instead of the current number of 588 members of the two-chamber legislature.
For the first time Romanians abroad will be able to vote by mail, following last year's irregularities and poor organization which largely raised discontent in the presidential vote.
The changes also mark a return to the proportional representation system, following the use of the first-past-the-post method in several election cycles.
The President in Romania is entitled to nominating a party of his choice if none gains more than 50% of the vote.
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