ROMANIA MONITOR

Date: 11 November 2019

Presidential elections in Romania – Iohannis’ victory worse than expected

The result of these elections was seemingly predictable. An overwhelming number of commentators expected the victory of the current president. However, it did not go without surprises. Iohannis achieved worse result than expected in polls and the former Prime Minister Viorica Dancila fought until the end. Even though according to recent polls she had about 8 percent of support, she will eventually compete with the current president in the second round.

SOURCE: SPIEGIEL.DE

Voting has lasted for two days (polling places abroad were open on Friday as well). Seventeen million citizens were entitled to vote. The turnout amounted to 50%. Among candidates registered by the Central Electoral Office, there were several “certs” who could count on a good result. This mainly concerns Klaus Iohannis who had 45% of support in polls. However, it turned out that his victory was not so impressive and the second round will be decisive.

The current president is a strong competitor. The politician is liked by society. However, the elections created an opportunity to estimate the support for particular politicians. Especially as parliamentary elections in Romania are scheduled for next year. Voting in November, therefore, will be a foray before the subsequent competition. Viorica Dancila can lose (but also win) the most. She had a good result which can allow her to keep the position of the leader of the party. And even though there are not many people who believe in her victory, she will not give up.

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According to the initial results of the exit poll, Klaus Iohannis (PNL) had 39% of votes. Viorica Dancila (PSD) had 22.5%. Dan Barna (USR PLUS) was the third with the score of 16.4% of votes. As votes were being counted, the position of the leader was weakening – according to the initial results, the three most popular candidates had 36.9, 23,45 and 14.2% of votes, respectively. Ultimately, the results ended up: Klaus Iohannis 36.65, Viorica Dancila 23.79% and Dan Barna 13.99%. The result of Iohannis is not fully satisfying and the former PM managed to mobilise her electorate better than expected. Let us recall that she run for elections several months after the failed European Parliament elections, after the arrest of the leader of the party for power abuse and corruption as well as after the collapse of the coalition and her government. This shows the strength of the Social Democratic Party and that it will be difficult to beat them in the next year’s elections.

The numerous Romanian diaspora contributed to the victory of Klaus Iohannis. 650 thousand Romanians scattered all over the world voted until 20:25. Let us recall that five years ago these votes helped Klaus Iohannis to win. Then, he competed with Victor Ponta (PSD) in the second round. He was a popular Mayor of Sibiu but he was being reproached for his foreign roots and faith (Iohannis, similarly as most of ethnic Germans from Transylvania, is an evangelical). However, this negative campaign did not bring an effect then. Will the scenario of five years ago happen again? We will see in two weeks. In Romanian politics everything is possible.

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