BUCHAREST, Romania — Two exit polls are giving Romania’s left-leaning Social Democrats a huge lead in a parliamentary election Sunday evening, a year after a major anti-corruption drive forced the last Socialist prime minister from power.

The Social Democratic Party scored about 45 percent while the center-right Liberals came second with about 21 percent of the vote, according to polling institute CURS-AVANGARDE and the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy.

The chairman of the Social Democrats, Liviu Dragnea, greeted it cautiously, saying he was “quite satisfied” and “overwhelmed” by what the exit polls predicted, adding “I hope we won’t have conflicts in the future.”

The Save Romania Union, a new party, which ran on an anti-corruption ticket, came third, allowing it to enter Parliament, according to the polls.

Former Prime Minister Victor Ponta, already the subject of a corruption probe, resigned after mass protests following a nightclub fire in October 2015 that killed 64 people. The country of 19 million people is one of the poorest in the European Union and perceived as one of the most corrupt.


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