Turnout was low across the board Sunday at local elections in Romania, where support for the national government was set to be tested.
A low turnout is considered by election researchers to be a mild advantage for the country's governing social democrats (PSD).
Two hours before polls were to close, 42.9 per cent of the 18 million people eligible to vote had already cast a vote.
Projections in the capital city of Bucharest pointed to a victory for the PSD. The party's mayoral candidate Gabriela Firea, who was considered the favourite, had secured between 41 and 42 per cent of the vote, according to exit polls.
Political newcomer Nicusor Dan looked to be the runner up with 29 per cent of the vote. Dan ran under a new local party, the Union to Save Bucharest, focused on fighting corruption and protecting the environment and monument preservation.
The PSD also looked to gain from higher turnout in southern Romania, where it has strong support.
Experts have predicted a loss at the local elections for the centre-right National Liberal Party (PNL), which is closely tied to President Klaus Iohannis.
The elections were seen as a test ahead of parliamentary elections in November.