Romania Election Bureau Refuses to Register Opposition Alliance

Romania’s Electoral Bureau on Thursday rejected a request to register an opposition alliance between Save Romania Union and former PM Dacian Ciolos’s PLUS+ for the European elections in May.

Graffiti painted on a wall depicts Romania’s prime minister Dacian Ciolos in Bucharest, Romania, 08 December 2016. Photo: EPA/Robert Ghement

Romania’s Central Electoral Bureau has refused to register an opposition alliance between Save Romania Union and PLUS+ – a new party led by former prime minister Dacian Ciolos – for the May 26 European elections.

The election bureau said this was because the presidents of the two parties, Save Romania Union’s Dan Barna, a Senator, and Ciolos, had not been registered by a court as leaders of the two factions.

A joint press release by the two parties maintains that both of them asked the court in Bucharest to acknowledge their election as political leaders of the two groups, but the court had failed to process their requests.

“What happened at the Central Electoral Bureau is the politicisation of an institution that should maintain democratic balance, which should not be allowed,” the joint press release said.

Barna, an MP since 2016, was elected as head of the Save Romania Union, the third force in the Romanian parliament, in November 2017.

Ciolos, who also served as EU Commissioner for Agriculture in 2010-2014, was appointed Romania’s technocratic prime minister in 2016.

He founded PLUS+ in 2018 and was elected leader of the party in February 2019.

Ciolos first founded another party, Romania Together, in 2018. But because the court delayed its registration for months, it hired a law firm to register a second political faction, PLUS+, anonymously. The court registered this party in only a few weeks.

The two parties decided to join forces for the European Parliament Elections in February.

An opinion poll conducted by the research company IMAS suggested the alliance win get 17.9 per cent of the votes in May. It said the ruling Social Democrats and the Liberals would get about 22 per cent of the votes each.

Ana Maria Luca