Romania’s opposition Social Democrats win national election

Romania’s opposition Social Democrats win national election

BUCHAREST: Romania‘s opposition Social Democrats have taken a surprise lead over the governing National Liberals after a parliamentary election but appear less likely to emerge on top in what promises to be prolonged post-election wrangling to form a new coalition government.
With 95 per cent of ballots counted Monday, the populist, corruption-prone and fiscally reckless Social Democrat Party (PSD) had around 30 per cent of the vote, with the reformist center-right National Liberal Party trailing them by about 5 per cent.
The progressive USR-Plus alliance, which has pledged not to be part of any Social Democrat-led government, won about 15 per cent of the vote.
Only two other parties crossed the 5 per cent threshold to enter Parliament: the far-right AUR alliance, whose vocal opposition to coronavirus restrictions resonated with close to 9 per cent percent of voters, and the UDMR party that represents the country’s Hungarian minority, which won around 6 per cent.
The National Liberal leader, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, said Monday that coalition talks with the Social Democrats were out of the question but did not provide a clear explanation for how his party hoped to reach a new governing majority in the 465-seat bicameral parliament.
“I want to be very clear, we will never negotiate with the PSD, we will not let the PSD harm Romania,” Orban said.
The AUR alliance was established just a year ago under the leadership that militates against same-sex marriages and was supportive of Orthodox Church clerics who defied pandemic restrictions in Romania to hold religious ceremonies.
But it did surprisingly well among Romania’s expats, having taken the lead in Italy and coming in second in Spain and France.
Some 4 million Romanians who live abroad, mostly in Western Europe, have traditionally voted for reform-oriented parties that seek to ally the county with the European Union mainstream, but the pandemic has apparently upended traditional allegiances.

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