The right and left face each other in presidential runoff
On Sunday, November 10, Romanians went to polls in the first round of the presidential election. Out of the 18.2 million voters, 51.19% showed up in polling stations and decided that facing each other in the second round, due on November 24, would be the Liberal candidate, the incumbent president Klaus Iohannis, who got 37.82% of the votes, and the ex-PM and Social Democrat leader Viorica Dancila, who got 22.26%. An outspoken opponent of the Social Democratic Party, which he blames for damaging reforms in the judiciary and economy, Klaus Iohannis warned that a victory is not yet certain, and urged people to come to polls in the runoff as well:
Klaus Iohannis: “As for the runoff, I call all those who were with me in the street to defend the rule of law to come to polling stations so that your efforts may not be in vain! To those who want hospitals, schools, motorways, I tell you, come to polling stations to remove the Social Democrats from power completely, and to build all these things together! To those who no longer want to see their children and grandchildren leave the country, I tell you, come to polls, because now is the time to change things! And to the many people who are already away, I tell you, come to polls, because now you can make a difference!”
In turn, the Social Democrats’ chief voiced confidence in her victory:
Viorica Dancila: “The votes cast today help us to carry on our campaign, a campaign in which we will tell Romanians both what we have achieved so far, and, more importantly, what we intend to do for them once we win the presidential election. Our fight is not against a political party, we don’t try to dismantle a political party because democracy means that any party must be allowed to present its view. Our fight will be, as it has been so far, a fight for Romanians, for Romania, for balance and consensus, for unity, for a dignified representation of Romania both in the country and abroad.”
Whereas the turnout in the country in the first round was rather modest, the Romanians living abroad mobilized and went to polls in record numbers, reaching 675,000 people.
Strategies for the second round of the presidential election
Although the first day of the campaign for the presidential runoff is November 15, the competition between the 2 candidates started shortly after the first round and is already tougher than ever. The decision taken by President Klaus Iohannis and his campaign staff not to participate in any direct debate with Viorica Dancila is surprising for many people. On Tuesday, the President, who made no secret out of his goal to remove the Social Democrats from power, has written in a post that there can be no debate with a candidate of a party that ruled against the Romanians and which only goes through the motions of democracy. Dancila, who repeatedly asked for a debate ahead of the first election round, has reacted by saying that a debate would help her dismiss all “dirty” accusations levelled against her and her party in the past few years. In a press conference on Wednesday, Klaus Iohannis pointed out:
Klaus Iohannis: “Mrs. Dancila is the representative of an anti-democratic, unreformed party, which has governed against Romanians' best interests. In the current election campaign, she pretends to be a democratic candidate, expecting due respect from everyone, as if she had been defending Romanian democracy and Romanians all along.”
Viorica Dancila was quick to retort:
Viorica Dancila: “Mr. Iohannis speaks of a disastrous government. If disastrous government means increasing salaries and pensions, investing in local communities, making Romanian economy second at EU level in terms of growth, then the President is either dishonest or misinformed. Moreover, disastrous governing wouldn't have been praised by Member States and third-party states for the good handling of the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.”
The campaign is due to conclude on Saturday, November 23, at 7.00 AM.
Romania’s nominee for Transport Commissioner, approved by the EP
Adina Valean, designated by Romania for the post of European Commissioner for Transport, Thursday got the green light from the specialist committee in the European Parliament. Her priorities include an environment-friendly, fair and transparent transport network and fewer road accidents, in which respect Romania has the poorest figures in the EU. The president elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen will present the full commission and its programme to the European Parliament on November 27.
A new political crisis in the Republic of Moldova
The Republic of Moldova’s pro-Russian president Igor Dodon Wednesday entrusted one of his advisers, Ion Chicu, with the formation of a new government. The nomination comes after the Cabinet headed by the pro-European PM Maia Sandu was dismissed in a no-confidence vote initiated by Dodon’s Socialists, although they were part of the ruling coalition. On Thursday the new Cabinet was endorsed by the Moldovan Parliament and shortly after that they were sworn in.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)