Romania: mayors changing sides

In the run-up to local elections in Romania at the end of September, elected officials are defecting en masse to the party that has the best chances of winning the upcoming parliamentary elections. What is behind this trend of switching allegiance among local politicians?

Open/close all quotes
Libertatea (RO) /

Money only goes to the "right" party

Libertatea suspects the switches of allegiance are driven by necessity rather than opportunism:

“The system of allocating financial resources specifically to mayors from a certain governing party is more destructive to Romanian democracy than anything else. The mayors, sometimes desperate, have no other alternative for securing the money they need for their municipalities, and therefore turn to the party that distributes the funds. It is a matter of human weakness and incompetence on the part of these mayors, but there is also an evil system at play here in which citizens are ignored and prevented from advancing if they have no party membership card or simply have the wrong one.”

Dilema Veche (RO) /

Switching sides is normal

Dilema Veche can't understand all the fuss:

“We're paying far too much attention to the phenomenon of defectors. Politicians changing their party and even ideology is something that happens everywhere and is normal in a free world. People change their minds, and the right to do so is the direct consequence of freedom of thought. ... How can you find it normal for someone to leave their spouse and remarry because they've drifted apart, or for someone to change religions and believe in one God today and another tomorrow, yet at the same time find it inadmissible for a parliamentarian to resign from his party and go over to another one?”