Sunday

3rd Jul 2022

Romanian PM ahead in presidential elections

Romanian Socialist prime minister Victor Ponta won the first round of the country's presidential election on Sunday (2 November), with an ethnic German mayor set to challenge him in the run-off on 16 November.

Ponta won 40 percent of the vote, according to partial results made public early on Monday. Klaus Iohannis, the main challenger backed by a centre-right Liberal coalition, scored 30.5 percent, while twelve other candidates scooped the remaining votes, each under six percent.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Over 53 percent of voters went to polling stations, similar to 2009, when the last presidential elections took place.

But compared to 2009, Romanians abroad had a much harder time casting their vote. Romania does not have early voting by mail, so people in London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin and Brussels queued up for hours in front of the embassies, with thousands being left outside when doors closed, at 21.00 local time.

Police had to intervene in Paris, London and Vienna, where people refused to leave and expressed anger at how poorly the vote was organised.

Several hundred people also staged a protest in front of the foreign ministry in Bucharest, demanding the resignation of foreign minister Titus Corlatean and more polling stations abroad for the second round.

Roughly 3 million people living and working abroad are entitled to vote, but the foreign ministry only sent a total of 600,000 ballots to its embassies.

Monica Macovei, an MEP and former justice minister who ran as independent and gathered 4.5 percent of the vote according to partial results, demanded the resignation of the ones responsible for the "unacceptable" voting conditions for the Romanians abroad.

Ponta said he was sorry "some Romanians" were unable to vote, but said the long waiting hours were due to extra precaution to prevent fraud.

At 42, Ponta would be the youngest president Romania has ever had. He ran on a nationalist platform, vowing to "unite" Romania after the divisive presidency of Traian Basescu.

He indicated he would steer Romania's foreign policy more towards Russia and China, following the trend of his neighbouring country Hungary and its PM Viktor Orban.

Iohannis, on the other hand, who promises a "Romania of normality and things done well" is staunchly pro-European and is said to have good relations with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

He would be the first Romanian president coming from an ethnic minority - German settlers who came to Transylvania 900 years ago.

Romanians elect first ethnic German president

In a surprise result, Romanian voters have elected Klaus Iohannis as their first president to come from the German ethnic minority, defeating Socialist prime minister Victor Ponta.

MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship

Two MEPs have withdrawn their nominations from the MEPs Awards over the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis's participation as a sponsor — currently involved in an alleged bribery scandal in Greece.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. EU Parliament 'photographs protesting interpreters'
  2. Poland still failing to meet EU judicial criteria
  3. Report: Polish president fishing for UN job
  4. Auditors raise alarm on EU Commission use of consultants
  5. Kaliningrad talks needed with Russia, says Polish PM
  6. Report: EU to curb state-backed foreign takeovers
  7. EU announces trade deal with New Zealand
  8. Russia threatens Norway over goods transit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways
  2. Czech presidency to fortify EU embrace of Ukraine
  3. Covid-profiting super rich should fight hunger, says UN food chief
  4. EU pollution and cancer — it doesn't have to be this way
  5. Israel smeared Palestinian activists, EU admits
  6. MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship
  7. If Russia collapses — which states will break away?
  8. EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us