Correspondent in Berlin
The closing of the polls in Romania, in the elections last Sunday, has given rise to a frenzied succession of political events, because of a result that took all parties by surprise. With more than 99% of the votes counted, the opponent Social Democratic Party (PSD) won more than 30% of the votes and the ruler National Liberal Party (PNL) barely obtained 25% of support, mainly due to the historically low participation, of 31.84%, due to the fear of voters to be infected in the polling stations.
This result seemed for a moment to hand over to the PSD, although the president Klaus Iohannis He refused to order his candidate to form a government after verifying, in a quick poll with his leaders, that he did not have enough support. A few hours later, and despite having declared on election night that he was “sure” that his party had won the elections and that they had to wait for the vote count to finish, the prime minister resigned, Ludovic Orban, face of the center-right group that has lost the elections despite the fact that in January, immediately before the health crisis broke out, the polls gave him 45% of the intention to vote. “I have decided to resign my mandate as Prime Minister, after a year and a month in which Romania has faced an extremely difficult period,” Orban announced, referring to the pandemic Yet the economic crisis.
President Iohannis moved the following tab, appointing an interim prime minister, the Minister of Defense, Nicolae Ciuca, 53 years old and general of the Army, who came to the Executive in November 2019 after overthrowing the previous Social Democratic cabinet in a motion of no confidence, which will remain in office until the Romanian Parliament left the polls is ready to invest in a new head of government and a new cabinet is formed. Iohannis has made it clear that there is no stable majority that can support a PSD government and that he remains waiting for the PNL to appoint the person he will entrust with the formation of the government, a center-right prime minister who achieves a coalition between the ruling PNL, the centrist USR-Plus alliance, which won 16% of the vote, and perhaps other related parties.
Among the possible partners, in fourth position and with 9% of the votes, is the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR), a nationalist formation that debuted in some parliamentarians. And the fifth party is the Democratic Union of Magyars of Romania (UDMR), which represents the Hungarian minority in the Balkan country and gets around 6%.
President’s rejection of the Social Democrats
Constitutionally, the Romanian president freely decides who to entrust the formation of the government if the winning party does not achieve an absolute majority. And Iohannis did not hide during the electoral campaign that his choice of government was a coalition between PNL and USR-Plus, a liberal center party founded in 2016. Openly, he has indicated that he does not want the return to power of the Social Democrats, associated with huge and recent corruption scandals that have even led to the former PSD leader, Liviu Dragnea, to serve a prison sentence at this time, in addition to a brutal economic crisis, which has forced a significant part of the population to emigrate (there are 670,000 Romanians in Spain alone) and which has turned the country into the country with the greatest export in human trafficking in Europe.
Although it does not have a chance to form a government, the PSD is expected to appoint a candidate for prime minister, to put at least Iohannis in an uncomfortable situation, and according to its leader, Marcel Ciolacu, the man would be the prestigious doctor Alexandru Rafila, representative of Romania in the World Health Organization (WHO) and whose advice has been highly appreciated during the pandemic by the Romanian population.