A center-right mayor scored an upset victory Sunday in Romania’s presidential runoff after the prime minister’s early lead evaporated in the wake of public anger over a marred first round of voting. Prime Minister Victor Ponta, a Social Democrat, conceded defeat to Klaus Iohannis, a former physics teacher turned politician who campaigned on strengthening the justice system and reducing the role of the state in the economy, which grew dramatically under Mr. Ponta. State debt has risen to about 40% of gross domestic product from 19% in 2009. During that time, economic growth has averaged about 1% annually.
Mr. Iohannis’ Christian Liberal Alliance said its own vote count showed its candidate got 56%; Mr. Ponta didn’t contest that number. The official tally is due Monday.
“The people are always right,” Mr Ponta said after congratulating Mr. Iohannis. He said he would continue to do his best as premier, a job he has held since 2012.