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Romanian Tennis Great, Running For Mayor, Causes A Stir

Former tennis star Ilie Nastase appeared to revert to his “bad boy” image in a new competitive field on Sunday: the Romanian capital’s mayoral race.

Nastase, among the 1970s’ tennis greats, was among 47 mayoral candidates vying to win the Bucharest title.

The political novice caused a stir at a polling station Sunday morning when, surrounded by his campaign team, he joked that he wasn’t familiar with political procedures.

“I don’t know how to vote, do you?” he asked his staff.

An election official asked Nastase to enter the booth and muttered, “I hope, at least, he can read.”

Those nearly amounted to fighting words for the ex-champ, who was nicknamed “Nasty” for his temper tantrums on the court.

Nastase glared at the voting official and began an argument that was interrupted by his advisers, who discreetly told him not to protest.

In any case, Nastase’s campaign has enlivened an election that is billed as a warm-up for Romania’s parliamentary and presidential elections this fall.

Election results are expected by Wednesday, with a runoff considered likely in Bucharest.


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