Romanian presidential election, 2014

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Romanian presidential election, 2014
Romania
2009 ←
2 and 16 November 2014 → 2019

  Victor Ponta PES2.jpg Klaus Iohannis (15573794782).jpg Elena Udrea.jpg
Nominee Victor Ponta Klaus Iohannis Elena Udrea
Party PSD PNL PMP

  Kelemen Hunor.jpg Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu at a government meeting.jpg Conventia PD-L 2013 - Monica Macovei (1).jpg
Nominee Hunor Kelemen Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu Monica Macovei
Party UDMR Independent Independent

President before election

Traian Băsescu
PDL

Elected President

TBD

Coat of arms of Romania
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Romania

A presidential election will take place in Romania in 2014. The election will be held in two rounds, on 2 and 16 November, as decided by the government in February.[1]

Context[edit]

Election will be held in 2014 because, according to the Article 83 of the Constitution of Romania, the "term of office of the President of Romania is five years, being exercised from the date the oath was taken".[2] The last presidential election was held in 2009 and Traian Băsescu was sworn in for his second term on 21 December 2009. He is ineligible for a third term according to the Constitution.

Calendar of election[edit]

  • 5 September: The Supreme Court announces the composition of the Central Electoral Bureau for the presidential election. It is composed of judges from the High Court of Cassation and Justice appointed by lot, representatives of the Permanent Electoral Authority and of the political parties.[3] Judge Veronica Năstasie is elected president of the Central Electoral Bureau.[4]
  • 23 September: Last day in which can be submitted the candidatures and the electoral insignia of the candidates.
  • 24 September: The Central Electoral Bureau validated all 14 candidatures submitted until 23 September.[5]
  • 3 October–1 November: Electoral campaign.[6]
  • 2 November, 7 a.m.–9 p.m.: First round of the presidential election is scheduled to be held. Over 18.3 million people in the country and 530,000 Romanians abroad are expected to go to the polls.[3]
  • 6 November: Validation and publication of the election results in the Official Gazette.[7]
  • 7–15 November: Electoral campaign.
  • 16 November: Second round of the presidential election is scheduled to be held.
  • 21 November: Validation and publication of the election results in the Official Gazette.[7]

Candidates[edit]

The candidature of Victor Ponta was validated during the Extraordinary Congress of the PSD in Alba Iulia, on 12 September.

As of 23 September 2014, fourteen candidates[8] submitted to the Central Electoral Bureau files with the number of signatures collected from citizens (at least 200,000): Victor Ponta, Klaus Iohannis, Monica Macovei, Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, Teodor Meleșcanu, Elena Udrea, Dan Diaconescu, Hunor Kelemen, Zsolt Szilágyi, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, Constantin Rotaru, William Brînză, Mirel Mircea Amariței and Gheorghe Funar.[8]

The left-wing parties have designated a single candidate – current Prime Minister Victor Ponta, rated with the best chance of winning the election by main opinion polls. On the other hand, right-wing parties, strengthened under the Christian Liberal Alliance, have designated Klaus Iohannis, the second favorite of the opinion polls. However, the right wing is still divided, many newly formed parties, with small number of members, designating their own presidential candidates. The best example is that of Elena Udrea, candidate from the People's Movement Party, also supported by the Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party. There are four independent candidates: former Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, former Minister of Justice Monica Macovei, former Chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service Teodor Meleșcanu and former Mayor of Cluj-Napoca Gheorghe Funar, who is leading a rival faction of the Greater Romania Party.

This is the first time since 1996 when more than 12 presidential candidates kick off the race for Cotroceni Palace. In 2000, 2004 and 2009, the number of those who fought for the Presidency was the same – 12 candidates.[9] Likewise, this is the first time two women candidate for the position of president of the country and the first time three ethnics of the national minorities figure on the ballot papers.

The number of people who announced they would be running was greater, but they failed to gather the 200,000 signatures needed for the submission of the candidature to the Central Electoral Bureau by the 23 September deadline.

Withdrawn candidates[edit]

Candidate Candidature launched Candidature registered
by the Central Electoral Bureau
Alliance Party
Victor Ponta 12 September 2014[11] 18 September 2014[12] PSD–UNPR–PC Alliance Social Democratic Party
National Union for the Progress of Romania
Conservative Party
Klaus Iohannis 11 August 2014[13] 22 September 2014[14] Christian Liberal Alliance National Liberal Party
Democratic Liberal Party
Civic Force
Monica Macovei 5 August 2014[15] 22 September 2014[16] Independent
Hunor Kelemen 17 July 2014[17] 24 September 2014[18] Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania
Elena Udrea 19 August 2014[19] 24 September 2014[20] PMP–PNȚCD Alliance People's Movement Party
Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party
Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu 23 July 2014[21] 24 September 2014[22] Independent1
William Brînză 23 September 2014[23] 24 September 2014[24] Romanian Ecologist Party
Constantin Rotaru 23 September 2014[23] 24 September 2014[25] Socialist Alliance Party
Corneliu Vadim Tudor 23 September 2014[23] 24 September 2014[26] Greater Romania Party
Dan Diaconescu 12 October 2013[27] 24 September 2014[28] People's Party – Dan Diaconescu
Gheorghe Funar 23 September 2014[23] 24 September 2014[29] Independent2
Zsolt Szilágyi 23 September 2014[23] 24 September 2014[30] Hungarian People's Party of Transylvania
Mirel Mircea Amariței 23 September 2014[23] 24 September 2014[31] PRODEMO Party
Teodor Meleșcanu 23 September 2014[32] 24 September 2014[33] Independent

1The Liberal Reformist Party that Tăriceanu leads is not registered, so he decided to run as an independent.
2There is an ongoing dispute between Corneliu Vadim Tudor and Gheorghe Funar as to who is the legitimate leader of the Greater Romania Party. Because Corneliu Vadim Tudor currently appears as the leader of the party in the Register of Political Parties kept at the Bucharest Tribunal, Gheorghe Funar is running as an independent.

Campaign[edit]

Victor Ponta launching his candidature for the presidential election on National Arena, Bucharest, 20 September
A campaign poster with Klaus Iohannis in Bucharest

Victor Ponta launched his candidature during his birthday, in a huge rally on the National Arena. Over 70,000 people across the country attended the rally.[34] One of the stadium lawns was covered with four large panels inscribed with the slogan "Proud to be Romanians" and depicting Romanian folk motifs.[35] Many opposing political analysts, members of the opposition and even President Traian Băsescu have likened the event with the rallies in the communist period dedicated to Nicolae Ceaușescu or, more recently, those dedicated to Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea.[36][37] Likewise, he was criticized by PMP candidate Elena Udrea for the costs of organizing such an event which, she said, cost around 2 million euros.[38] Klaus Iohannis launched his candidature in front of the Government, in the presence of up to 30,000 people. The special guest of the event was the Secretary General of the EPP, Antonio López-Istúriz White, which stated that "Victor Ponta can not and should not become president of the European Romania".[39] Elena Udrea launched the candidature to presidency through an anti-governmental march attended by 10,000 people.[40]

The vast majority of Romanians are Christian Orthodox as Ponta, while Iohannis is Protestant. Commenting on a poll, according to which 58.22% of the respondents said for them the religion of the President mattered, while 39.81% said there were indifferent to the issue, Ponta said he did not believe that a candidate for President "has a problem if he is Orthodox or is not of Romanian ethnicity".[41] Iohannis has reacted strongly to the statement by his rival, saying that bringing the issue of religion is a "painful attempt" to poison the campaign.[41]

Iohannis' slogan in the presidential campaign is "less talk, more things done", alluding to frequent television appearances of his rival, Victor Ponta.[42] In his presidential program are mentioned, inter alia: deepening of the strategic partnership with the United States, allocation of 2% of GDP for defense, 6% for health and 6% for education, restructuration of the management system of EU funds, development of the capital market, keeping the flat tax, return of VAT to 19%, etc.[43] Iohannis proposes a liberal economy based on competitiveness and prosperity, encouragement of a highly developed agriculture, connection of Romania to the Western world through infrastructure or decentralization, as "vector of modernization". Likewise, for Klaus Iohannis European course of the Republic of Moldova is a national priority.[44]

Controversies[edit]

The candidate of Christian Liberal Alliance, Klaus Iohannis, publicly asked Prime Minister Victor Ponta the cancellation of Ordinance 45 of 2014, that amends the legislation on presidential election,[45] affirming that these changes might lead to electoral fraud by favoring multiple voting.[46] In this regard, PNL brought to trial the Government.[47] Cristian Diaconescu, then the presidential candidate of PMP, notified by letter the Venice Commission about this.[48]

In September, the candidatures of Victor Ponta and Monica Macovei were contested at the Constitutional Court. However, they were rejected by the CCR judges.[49] On the other hand, the National Integrity Agency (ANI) has announced in April 2013 that it ascertained that Klaus Iohannis is in a state of incompatibility,[50] because he is the representative of Sibiu in the General Meeting of Shareholders of SC Apă Canal SA Sibiu, since 5 August 2010 and of SC Piețe SA, since 30 April 2009, which contravenes the legal provisions.[51] Iohannis repeatedly claimed that it is a confusion made by ANI.

Iohannis was also attacked by his rivals, especially Victor Ponta, on the topic regarding the provenance of his six estates. Many supporters of PSD and TV stations with some sympathies for this party stated that Iohannis bought these houses illicitly,[52] statements which were later refuted by Klaus Iohannis. He explained that has bought the six houses by "honest work" and that the money to purchase them originated either from own sources – salaries, tutoring, rents or from money received from his parents and parents-in-law or from loans from friends.[53]

Undercover spy[edit]

In a worsening institutional conflict between the Presidency and the Government, outgoing President Traian Băsescu has accused Prime Minister Victor Ponta of serving as an undercover intelligence officer between 1997 and 2001.[54] Ponta dismissed the charge as "all lies".[55] His rival Klaus Iohannis demanded an immediate clarification of the situation,[56] while the Minister of Justice Robert Cazanciuc labelled Băsescu's statements as "campaign statements", and the topic is "ridiculous".[57]

Espionage was already a talking point during the electoral campaign. Teodor Meleșcanu, who ran the Foreign Intelligence Service, resigned in September and joined the presidential race as an independent candidate one day later. Around the same time, Robert Turcescu, a popular television anchor, confessed live on air that he had been an undercover lieutenant-colonel for a spy service and resigned his post.[58] Under Romanian law, outing oneself as a spy is illegal, but prosecutors did not press charges.

Alleged electoral bribe[edit]

Members of PMP and PNL expressed outrage over the announced distribution of 18 kg of food to more than 6.5 million people during the electoral campaign, in October and November.[59] In a press release, PNL stated that "in the mad rush for votes for presidential candidate Victor Ponta, PSD doesn't have the slightest reluctance to use EU funds for masked electoral bribe". This demarche is endorsed by the Ministry of European Funds, that published on 20 September a notice of auction in which the Romanian government said it wants to provide 6,652,986 food packages within the Fund of European aid for the most deprived persons.[60] More specifically, over 150,000 food packages would be sent to each county, totaling 100 million euros.[61] PNL argues that the way this auction is organized raises serious questions about its legality. The Minister for European Funds, Eugen Teodorovici, said that EU funds are not used for electoral purposes and any claims of their diversion is "misinformation".[61]

President Traian Băsescu repeatedly stated that Victor Ponta "bribes the electorate" and "makes electoral alms from borrowed money".[62] In a press conference critical to Victor Ponta and Klaus Iohannis, Băsescu mentions the figure of 4.8 billion euros, money that would go towards electoral alms and will be paid by the population.[63]

During a large meeting in Iași, Klaus Iohannis mentioned that Ponta's figure is on each pole and tree, asking rhetorically from where come the money for his campaign. He also stated that every Romanian pays Ponta's campaign from the taxes and dues he introduced.[64] During the same meeting, Iohannis refuted all rumors regarding his intentions to cut the pensions after the election, after many pensioners received by post flyers with the messages "Only Ponta protects the pensions" and "Klaus Iohannis wants to cut your pension".[65] In a press release, ACL accused PSD that puts up a campaign against Klaus Iohannis and misinforms and deceives the voters.[66] The Romanian Post signed constracts with PSD, but also with PMP, Macovei and Tăriceanu, according to that will be sent by post newspapers, catalogs, leaflets, brochures and other electoral advertising materials.[67]

Opinion polls[edit]

First round[edit]

Several opinion polls were conducted in the period preceding official announcement of the 14 candidates. Many of them showed Crin Antonescu instead of Klaus Iohannis or Cristian Diaconescu instead of Elena Udrea. In the polls also figured Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu and Cătălin Predoiu, which withdrew the candidatures after the political events in the summer of 2014. The following table displays the main candidates (at least 1%) and evolution of their percentages.

Poll source Date Ponta
(USD)
Iohannis
(ACL)
Tăriceanu
(Ind.)
Udrea
(PMP)
Diaconescu
(PP-DD)
Kelemen
(UDMR)
Macovei
(Ind.)
Vadim
(PRM)
Meleșcanu
(Ind.)
CSCI 15–18 September 2014 42% 27% 9% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2%
CCSCC 19–24 September 2014 Decrease 38% Increase 32% Decrease 7% Increase 8% Decrease 3% Steady 4% Increase 5%
Sociopol 20–23 September 2014 Increase 42% Decrease 26% Increase 9% Decrease 6% Increase 5% Decrease 3% Decrease 3% 4% 1%
AB Research Grup 20–25 September 2014 Steady 42% Decrease 23% Increase 11% Steady 6% Decrease 4% Steady 3% Increase 5% Decrease 2% Steady 1%
GSSC Avangarde 28 September–3 October 2014 Steady 42% Increase 28% Decrease 8% Decrease 5% Decrease 2% Increase 4% Decrease 4% Steady 2% Increase 4%
INSCOP 2–8 October 2014 Decrease 40.6% Increase 30.1% Decrease 6.2% Increase 6.7% Steady 2% Decrease 2.5% Increase 4.6% Decrease 1.7% Increase 4.6%
Sociopol 18–20 October 2014 Increase 41% Decrease 28% Increase 7% Decrease 6% Increase 4% Increase 4% Decrease 4% Increase 3% Decrease 2%
IRES 23 October 2014 Increase 43% Increase 30% Decrease 6% Increase 8% Decrease 1% Decrease 2% Increase 5% Decrease 2% Increase 3%

Second round[edit]

Ponta vs. Iohannis[edit]

Poll source Date Ponta
(USD)
Iohannis
(ACL)
INSCOP 1–7 May 2014 51.7% 48.3%
Operations Research 5–10 June 2014 59% 41%
The Political Rating Agency 16–22 June 2014 55% 45%
INSCOP 1–6 July 2014 52.8% 47.2%
BCS 3–12 July 2014 49.6% 50.4%
IRSOP 10–17 July 2014 49% 43%
CCSCC 17–23 July 2014 51% 49%
GSSC Avangarde 25 August–3 September 2014 55% 45%
INSCOP 30 August–4 September 2014 54% 46%
CSCI 15–18 September 2014 57% 43%
CCSCC 19–24 September 2014 52% 48%
GSSC Avangarde 28 September–3 October 2014 57% 43%
INSCOP 2–8 October 2014 53.5% 46.5%
IRES 14 October 2014 55% 45%

Ponta vs. Tăriceanu[edit]

Poll source Date Ponta
(USD)
Tăriceanu
(Ind.)
GSSC Avangarde 25 August–3 September 2014 61% 39%
INSCOP 30 August–4 September 2014 54.7% 45.3%

Ponta vs. Udrea[edit]

Poll source Date Ponta
(USD)
Udrea
(PMP)
GSSC Avangarde 25 August–3 September 2014 73% 27%
INSCOP 30 August–4 September 2014 66.1% 33.9%

Ponta vs. Macovei[edit]

Poll source Date Ponta
(USD)
Macovei
(Ind.)
INSCOP 30 August–4 September 2014 66.8% 33.2%

Ponta vs. Meleșcanu[edit]

Poll source Date Ponta
(USD)
Meleșcanu
(Ind.)
INSCOP 1–7 May 2014 63.7% 36.3%

Results[edit]

A first round will be held on 2 November. If no candidate will get 50% + 1 of the votes of all registered voters, a second round will be held two weeks later, on 16 November, with the top two candidates running against each other.


e • d Summary of the 2 November and 16 November 2014 Romanian presidential election results
Candidates First round Runoff
Candidate Sustaining alliance or party Votes % Votes %
Victor Ponta PSDUNPRPC Alliance[a]
Klaus Iohannis Christian Liberal Alliance (PNLPDL)
Elena Udrea PMPPNȚCD Alliance
Monica Macovei Independent
Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu Independent[b]
Dan Diaconescu People's Party – Dan Diaconescu
Hunor Kelemen Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania
Corneliu Vadim Tudor Greater Romania Party
Teodor Meleșcanu Independent
Gheorghe Funar Independent
Zsolt Szilágyi Hungarian People's Party of Transylvania
William Brînză Romanian Ecologist Party
Constantin Rotaru Socialist Alliance Party
Mirel Mircea Amariței Prodemo Party
Invalid votes  %  %
Blank votes  %  %
Total valid votes 100.00% 100.00%
TOTAL (18,313,698 registered voters)[c] y%
Turnout
z%
Turnout
Notes
  1. ^ Alternatively it is known as Social Democratic Union (USD). Legally this alliance cannot use this name, as it belonged to an alliance between Democratic Party and Romanian Social Democratic Party.
  2. ^ The legal requirements for the registration of the Liberal Reformist Party were not fulfilled in due time for this election. As a result, Tăriceanu ran as an independent.
  3. ^ According to the Permanent Electoral Authority.[68]
Source: Biroul Electoral Central


References[edit]

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  2. ^ Constitution of Romania, Article 83
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  59. ^ Dorina Lascăr (5 October 2014). "Licitație ilegală cu fonduri europene pentru mită electorală mascată în 6,6 milioane pachete cu 18 kg de alimente". Nașul TV (in Romanian). 
  60. ^ Andrei Pricopie (6 October 2014). "Iobagii primesc tain electoral - "Plăsuța" de 18 kg de alimente pentru 6,5 milioane de "defavorizați"". The Epoch Times (in Romanian). 
  61. ^ a b Andrei Pricopie (8 October 2014). "PMP și liberalii, supărați pe Ponta că a aranjat să împartă pungi de 18 kg de alimente în plină campanie". The Epoch Times (in Romanian). 
  62. ^ Paul Filimon (13 October 2014). "Traian Băsescu: Ponta și Iohannis sunt mincinoși și corupți. Nu îl susțin nici pe Ponta și nici pe Iohannis. Susțin candidatul PMP. Toată populația României îi plătește campania lui Ponta. Nu mai vorbim despre moralitatea lui Iohannis care are un proces deschis cu ANI. Nu îi consider pe niciunul demn de a fi președinte". România Liberă (in Romanian). 
  63. ^ Irina Tacu, Valentina Postelnicu (13 October 2014). "Băsescu: Nu-i susțin și nu îi voi susține nici pe Ponta, nici pe Iohannis la prezidențiale. Rămân consecvent în a o susține pe Elena Udrea. DECLARAȚIILE președintelui". Mediafax.ro (in Romanian). 
  64. ^ "Iohannis: De unde provin banii de campanie ai lui Ponta? Sunt bani din taxe și impozite, bani din corupție?". Realitatea.net (in Romanian). 18 October 2014. 
  65. ^ Nicoleta Nicolau (18 October 2014). "Pensionarii denunță „campania denigratoare” pe care PSD o face prin poștă". Ziua de Constanța (in Romanian). 
  66. ^ "PSD și Poșta Română, acuzați că trimit pensionarilor pliante anti-Iohannis". Ziare.com (in Romanian). 15 October 2014. 
  67. ^ "Poșta Română: Sunt contracte și cu Macovei, Udrea și Tăriceanu pe distribuirea de material electoral". Mediafax (in Romanian). 20 October 2014. 
  68. ^ http://www.bec2014.ro/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Adresa-AEP.pdf

Further reading[edit]