PA FOCUS on the Political Changes in June

Article written by Ana-Maria Anghel, Senior Public Policy Analyst

The June 9 elections marked a significant shift in Romania’s political landscape, with the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the National Liberal Party (PNL) emerging as dominant forces. Securing the most mandates in the European Parliament and nearly 60% of city halls and county councils, their victory was pronounced. The ultranationalist Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) made a surprising second-place finish, while the extremist S.O.S. Romania also gained representation. As the political scene braces for upcoming elections, the PSD-PNL coalition appears stable, ensuring a peaceful period in Parliament as the session concludes.

Highlights of the previous month

PSD AND PNL WON THE JUNE 9 ELECTIONS. In the June 9 elections, Romania’s Social Democratic Party (PSD) and National Liberal Party (PNL) emerged victorious in both local and European contests. They secured 19 mandates in the European Parliament (48.5% of votes) and a significant share of city halls, with PSD taking 34.7% and PNL 29%. However, Bucharest’s mayoral seat was won by independent Nicușor Dan. The ultranationalist Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) secured second place, while S.O.S. Romania, led by Diana Șoșoacă, won two EP mandates. Future MEPs are expected to select their EP committees soon.

USR HAS A NEW LEADERSHIP. Following the June 9 election defeat, USR President Cătălin Drulă resigned, and Elena Lasconi was elected with 68% of the vote. As the new leader, Lasconi, re-elected as mayor of Câmpulung Municipality, may abandon the ADU alliance and is open to new right-wing or center-right collaborations for future elections.

THE PRESIDENTIAL SAGA. The PSD-PNL coalition is yet to agree on presidential election dates. Initially, PSD proposed September 15 and 29, but PNL prefers November or a compromise in October to avoid the vacation period. Both parties want separate candidates, necessitating new dates. Negotiations continue with all party leaders.

Update: The Coalition representatives reached a consensus regarding the organization of the presidential elections, as follows:

  • The first round on November 24
  • The second round on December 8

Additionally, a common agreement was reached for organizing the parliamentary elections on December 1.

What to expect this month

Winning the June 9 elections, the PSD-PNL governing Coalition has a bigger advantage than we expected, with the result not only giving them legitimacy but also propelling them to first place in the list of favourites for the next two elections (general and presidential).

However, since PSD has several votes in front of PNL, especially at the local elections, the main liberal voices could express their concerns on the possibility of a future submissive PNL with the social democrats. Even so, our predictions for this month show rather political stability of the ruling parties and a period of recovery for the opposition, especially since neither the social democrats nor the liberals don’t seem eager to move to the opposition’s ‘camp’ just to end the Coalition.

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