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Thousands celebrate as ethnic German mayor defeats PM to win Romania presidential runoff

  • Klaus Iohannis, leader of Romania's center-right Liberals and mayor of the Transylvanian city of Sibiu, smiles waving to supporters gathered to celebrate his victory in a presidential runoff in Bucharest, Romania, early Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta conceded defeat Sunday night in an extremely close presidential runoff against an ethnic German Transylvanian mayor. Ponta had been the favorite to win, but was narrowly edged out by Klaus Iohannis. (AP Photo/Raed Krishan)

    Klaus Iohannis, leader of Romania's center-right Liberals and mayor of the Transylvanian city of Sibiu, smiles waving to supporters gathered to celebrate his victory in a presidential runoff in Bucharest, Romania, early Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta conceded defeat Sunday night in an extremely close presidential runoff against an ethnic German Transylvanian mayor. Ponta had been the favorite to win, but was narrowly edged out by Klaus Iohannis. (AP Photo/Raed Krishan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Klaus Iohannis, leader of Romania's center-right Liberals and mayor of the Transylvanian city of Sibiu, waves to supporters gathered to celebrate his victory in a presidential runoff in Bucharest, Romania, early Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta conceded defeat Sunday night in an extremely close presidential runoff against an ethnic German Transylvanian mayor. Ponta had been the favorite to win, but was narrowly edged out by Klaus Iohannis. (AP Photo/Raed Krishan)

    Klaus Iohannis, leader of Romania's center-right Liberals and mayor of the Transylvanian city of Sibiu, waves to supporters gathered to celebrate his victory in a presidential runoff in Bucharest, Romania, early Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta conceded defeat Sunday night in an extremely close presidential runoff against an ethnic German Transylvanian mayor. Ponta had been the favorite to win, but was narrowly edged out by Klaus Iohannis. (AP Photo/Raed Krishan)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014 photo, a man waves the Romanian flag in front of a row of gendarmes, celebrating Klaus Iohannis's victory in the presidential elections in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. Thousands of people gathered in Bucharest to celebrate after Romania’s prime minister conceded defeat Sunday night in an extremely close presidential runoff against the ethnic German Transylvanian mayor. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru, Mediafax) ROMANIA OUT

    In this Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014 photo, a man waves the Romanian flag in front of a row of gendarmes, celebrating Klaus Iohannis's victory in the presidential elections in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. Thousands of people gathered in Bucharest to celebrate after Romania’s prime minister conceded defeat Sunday night in an extremely close presidential runoff against the ethnic German Transylvanian mayor. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru, Mediafax) ROMANIA OUT  (The Associated Press)

Thousands of people gathered in Bucharest to celebrate after an ethnic German Transylvanian mayor decisively defeated Romania's prime minister in a presidential runoff.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta had been the favorite to win. But Klaus Iohannis, the mayor of the city of Sibiu who promised to crackdown on corruption scored a surprise victory.

With about 76 percent of the votes counted, Iohannis was leading with about 54.8 percent and Ponta 45.2 percent early Monday.

Late Sunday, Ponta conceded defeat.

"Thanks to you, another kind of Romania is beginning," Iohannis said on his Facebook page.

Some 15,000 had gathered to protest difficulties encountered by expatriate Romanians voting abroad. But the protest turned into a celebration as Iohannis walked through the jubilant crowd gathered in a square where demonstrators were shot dead during Romania's 1989 revolution.