Romania’s ruling party, the PSD, has officially nominated the country’s prime minister, Viorica Dăncilă, as its candidate for November’s presidential election.
While it has been clear for some time that the PSD lacked a candidate with the political clout to take on the current president, Klaus Iohannis, few expected the gaffe-prone Mrs Dăncilă to clinch the nomination, which is likely to cause ructions within the governing coalition. The PSD’s main ally, ALDE, had hoped that its leader, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, would stand as a joint PSD-ALDE candidate. Mr Tariceanu is likely to announce his own candidacy next week.
“We’re determined to win these elections,” Mrs Dăncilă told reporters. “I don’t think our partners will leave the governing coalition because they are responsible people who realise that the country’s stability is very important.”
Varujan Vosganian, the deputy leader of ALDE, confirmed later on July 23 that his party would remain in the coalition but admitted that he had “lost trust” in the PSD.
Particularly cheered by the PSD’s failure to put forward a credible candidate will be Dan Barna, leader of the Save Romania Union (USR), who was last week put forward as the candidate of the Alianța 2020, which includes the USR and Plus, a party led by former prime minister and European commissioner Dacian Ciolos.
The Alianța 2020 already surpasses the PSD in opinion polls, and with some PSD voters expected to back Mr Tariceanu, there is a real possibility that Mr Barna could enter the second round run-off against Mr Iohannis.
Regardless of who he faces in the second round, the current president is widely predicted to easily win a second term in office.