Wednesday

24th Apr 2019

Romanian social democrats set for return to power

  • It is unclear whether convicted Socialist leader Liviu Dragnea could become prime minister. (Photo: Partidul Social Democrat)

Romania’s Social Democrats are set to return to power a year after a major anti-corruption campaign forced the last Socialist prime minister from power.

The Social Democrat Party (PSD) won parliamentary elections on Sunday (12 December) with about 46 percent of the votes, according to official figures.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Their rival, the centre-right Liberals (PNL) received around 21 percent of the votes, while allies and newcomers to Romanian politics, the anti-corruption party Save Romania Union (USR) was on nine percent.

The PSD's likely coalition partner, the liberal Alde party, won around 6.5 percent, meaning they could secure a majority in the parliament.

The low turnout at the ballot boxes, 39.5 percent, likely aided the PSD's strong showing.

"Romania is an island of stability. I want this stable democracy to remain in place," PSD's leader, Liviu Dragnea, 54, was quoted by AFP.

"This means that all politicians and institutions have to respect today's vote. We should all understand that Romania needs a competent, stable and responsible government," he added.

Dragnea said his party would try to form a coalition with the Alde.

But it's yet to be seen whether he could become prime minister, as he received a two-year suspended prison sentence for voter fraud in April.

This bars him under Romanian law from becoming prime minister, and it would also stop former PM Victor Ponta from returning to power.

The 44-year-old Ponta is on trial for alleged tax evasion and money laundering. He denies the charges.

Corruption clean-up

PSD's revival comes only a year after a deadly nightclub fire in October 2015 at a Bucharest club, which became a symbol for a wider discontent and marked a turning point in calling for an end to corruption.

The fire, in which 64 people died, was blamed on corrupt officials turning a blind eye to a lack of fire precautions and standards.

The corruption crackdown that ensued after the tragic fire forced Ponta to resign.

Since then the country has been run by former EU commissioner Dacian Ciolos, 47, an independent who was backed by PNL and USR.

In the meantime, the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, the agency responsible for the anti-corruption drive, put former ministers, media moguls, and judges under investigation.

PSD's return to power could slow down the drive against corruption. It campaigned with an increase in pensions and other social spending, and tax cuts, in one of the poorest EU countries.

Romanian anti-corruption protests bring down PM

A nightclub fire that killed 32 people in Bucharest has triggered a popular movement against corruption in the capital and in the government. PM Ponta promised to resign.

Romanian president rejects PM designate

Social democrats and liberals said they could unseat the country's president - Klaus Iohannis - after he vetoed the nomination of a woman with alleged ties to Assad regime in Syria.

Opinion

Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections
  2. Ukraine comic-president invited to EU capitals
  3. Trump's Israel plan to 'test' EU resolve
  4. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  5. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  6. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  7. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  8. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us