Elections in Romania: is the current government out?
With 95 percent of the votes counted the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) has a narrow lead in Romania's parliamentary elections held on Sunday. Prime Minister Orban of the centrist National Liberal Party (PNL) wants to continue to govern the country, preferably with the eco-liberal party alliance USR-Plus. But he would still need a third partner. For commentators, this result comes as no surprise.
Underestimating the PSD again
Commenting in Adevărul, journalist Sebastian Zachmann says he has a sense of déjà vu:
“The PSD is repeating the 2015 scenario: one year before the parliamentary elections it went into the opposition and made a comeback with the election - proof that President Iohannis, the PNL and USR-Plus hadn't learned anything from the past. Everyone assumed that the PSD was in its death throes, even though after the results of local elections it was clear that the PSD would return stronger than before. The low voter turnout helped the PSD massively, because it is a party with a loyal voter base. PSD party leader Ciolacu was able to mobilise the party's army. ... If PNL and USR-Plus don't end their arrogant war now, the PSD will win all the elections in 2024.”
Punishment for being in power
La Stampa explains why the ruling PNL performed so poorly in the election:
“Prime Minister Ludovic Orban's National Liberal Party (PNL) was punished for what critics describe as its inadequate handling of the coronavirus emergency, and also for the severe economic crisis: GDP has dropped by 4.2 percent in 2020 and unemployment is rising. At just over 30 percent, voter turnout was lower than ever and will also have destroyed the conservative and pro-European prime minister's dreams of glory. This problem was exacerbated by the pandemic and the citzens' general disenchantment with politics.”