Romania’s president faces ex-premier in a runoff

A record turnout among Romanians living abroad

Photo: EPA Acting President Klaus Iohannis (C), flanked by PM Ludovic Orban (L) and member of the EP Rares Bogdan (R), after election results announcement.

Romania’s incumbent president Klaus Iohannis won the first round of Sunday elections with 36.6% of the vote, missing the necessary absolute majority and must compete in two weeks in a runoff against the Social Democrat Viorica Dancila, news wires reported. The politician, who until a week ago was head of government, came in second place with 23.8%, according to the partial results.

Iohannis welcomed the result as a clear vote against Dancila's PSD party: "The Romanians have never voted so widely and so clearly against the PSD. For Romania, this means a huge step forward," he said on Sunday evening. Dancila was Prime Minister of Romania from January 2018 to a week ago and had been ousted in parliament by vote of no confidence. She represented a criticized by the EU and Iohannis judiciary policy, which favored critics suspected of corrupting politicians. Her successor was Ludovic Orban, chairman of the civil party PNL, which supports the non-party Iohannis.

Voter turnout was 47.66%, below that of the 2014 presidential election, which was 52.31%. Iohannis could benefit from the fact that more Romanians were in cities than in rural areas. In Romania, urbanites choose more bourgeois-liberal. By contrast, Dancila's PSD is traditionally strong in the villages.

A record turnout was evident among Romanians living abroad, 673 073  cast their votes. Unlike in the past, this time it was possible to vote by postal ballot, and it was also possible to vote abroad since Friday. In previous elections there had been riots in consulates, because the crowd was so large.


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