The Romanian parliamentary election campaign enters its final straight.
Romanians entitled to vote are invited to polls again on Sunday, this time to elect the members of parliament. Over 7000 candidates, almost 10% more than at the previous elections, are running for one of the 136 senator seats and the 329 deputy seats. A candidate map drawn up by Expert Forum Romania, shows that most candidates on the election lists, 641, represent the People’s Movement Party (PMP), headed by former president Traian Basescu. Next in terms of number of candidates is the National Liberal Party (PNL) with 640, the Pro Romania Party, headed by the former PM Victor Ponta, with 639, and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the largest party in the opposition, with 631. USR-PLUS, the only alliance running in these elections, has 616 candidates. Also running are representatives of the Alliance for the Romanian Unity (AUR), a rather new party on the political scene, the Romanian Ecologist Party, the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), and 43 independent candidates.
This is the second time this year that Romanians are invited to the polls, after the local elections of September 27. Just like in September, a set of rules is in place against the background of the coronavirus crisis, as regards the unfolding of the election campaign and the voting itself. Given that the number of participants in electoral meetings has been limited to only several dozens, and has been conditioned on the strict observance of the sanitary measures in place, the internet has become the most important toll for conveying electoral messages. For actions held in the street, the number of people in a group has been restricted to 6, while for door-to-door actions only two-member teams are allowed. The result has been a quite atypical election campaign, with a high political stake for all candidates.
The Liberals, who have been in power for over a year now, hope these elections will change the distribution of power in parliament, which has been dominated in the last four years by a hostile Social Democratic Party, and allow them to form a majority. The Social Democrats, the big winners of the previous parliamentary elections, also hope for a good result, after losing power last year following a no-confidence vote. In its turn, the USR-PLUS alliance also has high hopes, given the encouraging result in the recent local elections. The Romanian Diaspora will be represented in parliament by 4 deputies and 2 senators. Over 39 thousand Romanians abroad registered for postal voting in the December 6th elections, most of them in Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and France. Romanians abroad will have two days to cast their vote, namely the 5th and 6th of December. In the country polling stations are only open on Sunday, the 6th of December. (Translated by Elena Enache)