|European citizenship - 26-11-2007|
Voting in Romania's first European elections took place on Sunday with candidates vying to be among the 35 MEPs who will represent the country in the European Parliament. The official results will be announced on Wednesday 28 November and the elected MEPs will take up their seats in 2008. Romania joined the EU in January 2007, the other country that joined at that time, Bulgaria, elected its 18 MEPs in May this year.
It was an obligation of EU membership that both countries should hold European elections in the first year of their membership. Before Bulgaria and Romania elected their MEPs, they were represented at Strasbourg and Brussels by Members nominated by the respective national Parliaments.
Turnout higher in rural areas than cities
In total 13 parties and 1 independent candidate stood in the election across Romania. Early figures show that the turnout was 28.3% - slightly higher than for a referendum on electoral reform also being held that day. Voters braved stormy conditions on Sunday to vote and reports say rural areas recorded a significantly higher turnout than the cities.
In January this year Romania's President Mr Traian Băsescu addressed MEPs in Strasbourg. He told the House that "Romania's accession is a milestone. It is now ready to shed the burden of the past, and, true to its basic principles and values, assume its role as a Member State in the best spirit of Community solidarity".
The 35 MEPs will represent Romania's 22 million people - the 7th largest population in the EU.