Incumbent favoured in first round of Romanian presidential elections

  Romanians go to the polls today for presidential elections. The incumbent, President Klaus Iohannis, will be seeking a second

 

Romania eleections 2

Source: AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

Romanians go to the polls today for presidential elections. The incumbent, President Klaus Iohannis, will be seeking a second and final term.

Iohannis is running on an anti-corruption platform. His main challenger is a Social Democrat and former prime minister Viorica Dancila. Dancila was ousted from the premiership on October 10 after failing a parliamentary vote of no confidence.

The election is likely to go to a second-round vote on November 24, but polling suggests Iohannis is favourite to retain office.

An Iohannis presidency will be boosted by the fact that his National Liberal Party (NLP) is currently leading parliament in minority. Expect Iohannis to capitalise on this by legislating major anti-graft protections, which were weakened under the Dancila administration. This will likely include new appointments to the national prosecuting agency and the organised crime unit. Also likely is the lowering of the burden of proof in graft cases and the strengthening of the independence of the judiciary.

Iohannis’ agenda could be undermined should the NLP fail to maintain power at next year’s parliamentary elections—likely to be brought forward if Iohannis returns to office. However, the NLP’s chances will be boosted by Iohannis’ popularity and anti-corruption drive.