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2019 European Elections

In Romania, the campaign for the European Parliament elections of May 26 begins on Saturday and will conclude on May 25.

2019 European Elections
2019 European Elections

, 25.04.2019, 13:49

On May 26, Romanians will elect their representatives in the European Parliament. In the future Parliament, Bucharest will have 33 MEPs, one more than in the current legislature, but only in case the UK leaves the Union after all. The first European elections were held in Romania in 2007, when the country joined the bloc. Traditionally, low voter turnout marks this kind of elections, but this year things may be different, given that a referendum on the state of the judiciary, requested by President Klaus Iohannis, will be held on the same date.



On the other hand, the 2019 elections are held under the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, which could be an incentive for earnest debates on the challenges that require valid medium and long term responses from the European Union. Brexit, migration, social and environmental problems, employment, security and defence and, not least, the threat of sovereignist, Eurosceptic and even Europhobic trends, are just some of these challenges.



However, the campaign slogans of the main competitors in the Romanian elections hardly suggest that such a debate will take place. Instead, Romanian politicians are more likely to engage in nationalist and populist disputes on the already existing domestic political issues. The Social Democratic Party, the main partner in the ruling coalition, speaks about the patriotism that should govern the future MEP’s performance, and about the fact that Romania deserves more from the EU.



In turn, their junior coalition partners, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, wants dignity for the country and respect from the Union. “It is Romania’s time” and “Romania first,” the Liberals in Opposition also proclaim. “United in Europe” is what the People’s Movement Party calls for, hinting at the neighbouring Republic of Moldova, with a majority Romanian-speaking population. ProRomania, a party established by former Social Democrats, proudly affirms its dual, Romanian and European affiliation, whereas another alliance in Opposition, made up of Save Romania Union and PLUS, reminds voters that without theft and corruption Romania stands a chance.



The candidates running in the election are former ministers or experienced MEPs, former prime ministers or mayors, popular journalists and even an ex-president, Traian Basescu, the one who tops the list of People’s Movement candidates. The top candidate of the Social Democratic Party is former minister for European funds Rovana Plumb, the National Liberal Party’s electoral spearhead is journalist Rares Bogdan, while the top candidates of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats and the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania are 2 former MEPs, Norica Nicolai and Iuliu Winkler, respectively. The 2020 USR PLUS Alliance is headed by the former prime minister Dacian Ciolos, with another ex-PM, Victor Ponta, opening the list of ProRomania candidates. The same party has 2 other former prime ministers on its candidate list, namely Mihai Tudose and Iurie Leanca.



According to opinion polls, the favourites to win the election are the Social Democrats and the Liberals, followed by the 2020 USR PLUS Alliance, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats and ProRomania. The Democratic Alliance of Ethnic Hungarians and People’s Movement Party also stand chances of sending representatives to the European Parliament. The Romanian election campaign begins on Saturday, April 27, and the ballot is scheduled for May 26.

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