* PSD-UNPR candidates win all Bucharest District Mayoralties, plus the Bucharest City Hall won by Gabriela Firea
* PSD+UNPR Alliance 43.96pct, USB 29.15pct in elections for Bucharest City Hall
The partial count at 16:00 on Monday of 507 out of 1,252 polling stations in Bucharest shows that the alliance between the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) garnered 43.96 percent of the votes in the Sunday elections for the Bucharest City Hall, followed by the Save Bucharest Union (USB), with 29.15 percent of the votes, according to the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC).
The National Liberal Party (PNL) comes next, with 10.93 percent, followed by the People’s Movement Party (PMP) – 6.40 percent, and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) – 2.94 percent.
For the Bucharest General Council, the PSD+UNPR Alliance garnered 41.51 percent of the votes, USB – 24.27 percent, and PNL – 12.87 percent.
Also, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) won 39.17 percent of the votes for mayors in Sunday’s local elections; it was followed by the National Liberal Party (PNL), with 32.94 percent, according to a partial count by the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) of the results from 2787 polling stations of the existing 3,186 nationwide.
Next came the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), 5.47 percent; the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), 4.35 percent; independent candidates, 5.18 percent.
At the same time, PSD won 1466 mayoral offices nationwide; PNL – 952, UDMR – 178; ALDE – 56, independent candidates – 44.
UNPR won 20 mayoral offices; PMP – 16; the PSD+UNPR Alliance 9; the Civic Hungarian Party – 12; the German Democratic Forum – 5, the Christian Democratic National Peasant Party (PNTCD) and the Romanian Social Party (PSRO) – 3 each.
One mayoral office each went to the Community of Russian Lipovans, the Party of Ialomita People, the Democratic Union of Romania’s Czechs and Slovaks, PRU, the PSD+ALDE Alliance for Budesti, Sinmihaiu de Cimpie and Romuli, the PSD+ALDE Social Liberal Alliance for Bran, and the PSD+ALDE Social Liberal Alliance.
As far as local councillor offices are concerned, PSD won 37.39 percent; PNL – 31.29 percent; UDMR – 5.54 percent; ALDE – 6.32 percent; PMP – 3.85 percent; UNPR – 3.07 percent.
In figures, PSD won 14,451 local councillor offices; PNL – 11,404, and UDMR – 2,019.
Next were ALDE – 2,093 offices; PMP – 1,101; UNPR – 996 and PSRO – 258. At the same time, 154 independent candidates won local councillor offices.
In the county councillor races, PSD won 37.52 percent; PNL – 32.16 percent; ALDE – 5.94 percent; UDMR – 5.80 percent; PMP – 4.13 percent; The PSD+UNPR alliance – 2.70 percent; UNPR – 2.20 percent.
The remaining formations and independent candidates got less than two percent.
Lowest turnout in 24 years in Romania’s local elections
Voter turnout in the local elections on Sunday, when polls closed at 21.00, stood at 48.27 per cent, according to data announced by the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC). In urban areas, the turnout was 38.80pct, and in rural areas 59.71pct.
The figures were below the similar estimates in 2012, which were 56.39 per cent overall, 49.88pct in urban areas, and 65.30pct overall.
Voter turnout in Romania’s local elections ranged from 65pct in 1992 (the first free local elections following the fall of the Communist regime in 1989) to 49.38pct in 2008. The 2012 and 2016 elections had only one round; in the two-round system used until 2008, attendance was higher in the first round as a general rule.
IntMin Toba: 245 instances of potential multiple voting were reported at Sunday’s local elections
Interior Minister Petre Toba sad Monday that the information system used in Sunday’s local elections has signalled 245 instances of potential multiple voting, but he added that many of the instances were attempts by the voters to test the system.
“Yesterday, in the time between the opening and closing of the polling stations, 245 instances of potential multiple voting were signalled. All these instances are being currently investigated by the Police working in local teams and at the level of the General Inspectorate,” Toba told a news conference on Monday at the Government House.
He added that many of the instances were checked and no multiple voting intentions were detected.
“The system generated the reports automatically. I want you to know that many of the reports have been checked and they were dismissed. There were many instances in which the voters wanted to see whether or not the system works. There were instances in which voters cast their ballots at one station, came out and went to another station, producing their IDs without an intention to vote, just to see whether or not the system works. (…) We will inquire into each of the automatic reports of the system, while the Romanian Police will come up with recommendations to the prosecution offices,” said Toba.
According to Toba, the June 5 local elections were the safest in the last years, as the number of fraud instances reported declined 51 percent and the number of fines served declined 53 percent from the previous ballots.
Computerization of polling stations flawless, says electoral authority head
The computerization of the polling stations in Romania’s local elections on Sunday worked flawlessly, Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) President Ana Maria Patru declared after the polls closed at 21.00.
“Data from our field representatives, as well as the voters’ response and media reports today allow us to assert that the computerization of polling stations worked flawlessly, and the polling station computer operators did their job very well. We congratulate them for successfully carrying out a mission regarded by many with suspicion, and we thank the Special Telecommunications Service, who designed the computer application and supported the AEP in implementing it in the polling stations,” Patru told Agerpres.
She admitted there were some minor incidents about wrong or insufficient ballots printed or polling station officials work, but assured that this didn’t influence the overall outcomes of the elections for mayors and local and county councils throughout Romania.
In a premiere for Romania’s electoral process, the AEP had computer operators in all the 18.616 polling stations; they had tablets with a dedicated app installed, allowing them to check, by scanning voter’s IDs, that nobody cast their vote twice.
Gabriela Firea: I will be everybody’s mayor
Gabriela Firea, PSD+UNPR’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall, stated after the results of the exit-polls were revealed that Bucharesters are the winners, having voted “for a person and a platform” instead of engaging in tactical voting.
“I want to begin honestly by thanking all Bucharesters who voted today for a person and a political platform instead of casting a tactical vote once again. (…) I am very happy that my project – which means a Bucharest featuring better schools and hospitals, the solving of the infernal traffic problem, more playgrounds for children and more parks, the lowering of pollution, transparency at the City Hall and zero tolerance for corruption – won. I congratulate Bucharesters, because they are the winners tonight, but I assure those who have not voted for me that I will be everybody’s mayor,” Gabriela Firea said on Sunday at the PSD headquarters.
She emphasised that the City Hall can get involved in creating jobs too. “I have already announced the setting up of a special department for attracting Romanian, European and American investors that would come with serious investments in Bucharest infrastructure, in order to be able to conclude all these objectives and these worksites that have been tarrying for years,” Firea added.
“I thank President Liviu Dragnea for having confidence in a woman, in an area in which it is said there are also many who would not vote for a woman. This bad luck gave way, so to say,” Firea added.
She promised she will not spare “a drop of energy” in order to make Bucharest not only the city we reside in but also the city we like to live in. PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated that the Social Democrat Party has showed on Sunday that it can be different from the other parties but also from what it was in the past.
“It’s an important day for the process of modernising the party, it’s an important stage we reached. Of the 45,000 candidates we had, over 20,000 were new names. Today, PSD has showed that it can be different from the other parties but also from the past, from the party it was in the past,” Dragnea stated after the results of the exit-polls were published.
According to him, PSD’s campaign was positive, centred on projects. “I want to congratulate Gabi Firea for the positive, realistic and responsible campaign she led. We have showed Bucharesters that the Bucharest City Hall can be won with a project and a platform. I congratulate her for withstanding all attacks, all challenges, and likewise I am very happy I staked on this ambitious and courageous woman who will be a very good mayor. In a first in over 100 years, Bucharest will have a woman mayor and it’s also a first for PSD too, because for the first time it will have a PSD member as Mayor of Bucharest,” the PSD President emphasised.
He gave three red roses to Gabriela Firea – one for her courage, one for her tenacity and one for responsibility. “This is binding,” the PSD+UNPR candidate stated.
Last but not least, Liviu Dragnea assured Romanians that the confidence PSD received “is not a blank cheque.” “It’s a vote that makes us responsible and I assure them that PSD’s main priorities will be developing Romania, developing communities, raising the standard of living and making sure no Romanian is left behind,” he added.
Dragnea announces that PSD, UNPR and ALDE have majority in Bucharest General Council
PSD President Liviu Dragnea (photo R) presented on Monday afternoon the results obtained by the political party both in Bucharest and elsewhere in the country, emphasising that alliances will be formed with UNPR and ALDE, ruling out PNL and PMP.
“It’s a huge responsibility. I am aware that the confidence conferred yesterday is not a blank cheque. It’s important for them to understand that this team led by Gabriela Firea is one from which Bucharesters are waiting for results. In what concerns the political vote in Bucharest, we have 24 seats, ALDE has 4 seats, PSD, UNPR and ALDE can form the majority within the General Council, we have a seat in addition to the threshold required,” the PSD leader explained.
He pointed out that in Bucharest Districts 2, 3, 5 and 6 PSD can form a majority just with ALDE and UNPR, while in Districts 1 and 4 the final results are awaited “because here too we hope to form a majority with ALDE.” Likewise, Dragnea also presented the nationwide situation, in what concerns County Councils and the city halls of county seats.
“PSD holds the majority by itself in 14 counties, and will be able to nominate the County Council Chairmen. In another 11 counties, we can form the majority only with ALDE. In other counties, we can form a PSD-UNPR-ALDE majority. There are counties in which we are starting negotiations to form majorities, but not with PNL and PMP.”
“We won 19 county seats, 6 of which are new. We lost 3 county seats we used to hold. PSD’s number of mayors is higher than before these elections,” the PSD President stated.
Gabriela Firea, winner of the Bucharest City Hall elections, stated that she will ask her husband for advice. Florentin Pandele, Gabriela Firea’s husband, won his fifth tenure as Voluntari Mayor. Gabriela Firea added that for them as a family “things will be more difficult” because they will be busy.
“My husband has won too and I congratulate him. For us, as a family, things will be more difficult because we will be busy. My team of General Council members and I will have a difficult but definitely successful work,” Gabriela Firea stated.
Asked whether she will ask her husband for advice, Gabriela Firea pointed out she considers herself prepared and knows the legislation but “I will ask the advice of all those who believe they can help me take the right decision, whether we’re talking about my husband or the district mayors.”
In Voluntari, Florentin Pandele managed to win his fifth stint as mayor, after he ran as an independent. According to preliminary Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) data, Florentin Pandele won 67 percent of the votes, namely 10,032 votes, while PSD’s Robert Frunza was second with 2,029 votes.
Vasile Blaga and Alina Gorghiu not resigning: “We rebuilt the Right”
On Monday, PNL leaders Alina Gorghiu and Vasile Blaga made their first statements after the local elections. Although they failed to win a single mayoralty in Bucharest, they boasted with having a far higher number of mayors. “From 750, we now surpass 1,000!” Gorghiu stressed. Blaga pointed out that PNL rebuilt the Right despite some people’s efforts to prevent it from doing so. “We’ve rebuilt the Right, and it wasn’t easy, dispelling the forecasts of those who did not have confidence, and some tried their best to destroy it. I thank Predoiu and the other candidates in Bucharest for having serious solutions and platforms. I believe Bucharesters do not reject politics, they reject petty politics. The fact that 70 percent of Bucharesters did not show up at the polls shows that the parties have a serious problem and we will conduct an analysis in the following days,” Vasile Blaga stated.
“I am glad that there are still people who vote in Romania! We’ve waited until today to make these statements in order to present accurate information. I want to dismiss from the start the scenarios according to which Predoiu was left on his own. Not at all! It was his choice,” Alina Gorghiu added.
Catalin Predoiu on his resignation: “Several colleagues have asked me to stay”
Catalin Predoiu, PNL’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall, stated after he resigned from the office of PNL Bucharest President that several colleagues have asked him to stay.
“It’s a resignation, it’s not a condition, it’s not pending, it’s a formal resignation,” Predoiu stated, pointing out that “it’s a serious decision. Several colleagues have asked me to stay. The Co-Presidents have invited me to seriously think about this,” Predoiu stated.
He pointed out that the party’s National Political Bureau (BPN) will assess his results in the elections.
“The result is not assessed by a single person. In a serious party such as PNL, such analyses are carried out by the party’s leadership bodies. This is the rule. That this or that person takes an individual decision and carries out a self-assessment, that’s an entirely different story and that person has the right, but the overall talks will take place within the BPN,” Predoiu added.
PNL’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall also stated that at national level “things fare much better than they did in the exit-poll on Sunday.” On Monday, Predoiu wrote on Facebook that he resigned and thanked all his supporters.
Nicusor Dan: Save Bucharest Union becomes Save Romania Union
Nicusor Dan, Save Bucharest Union’s (USB) for the Bucharest City Hall, announced on Sunday evening that he will not accept the office of Deputy Mayor, and USB’s representatives within the Bucharest General Municipal Council and local councils will vote only in favour of projects that are good for Bucharesters.
“Today’s political parties, with which we will share the seats in the Council, are not in the position of making alliances with us. (…) This is the answer that the thousands of people whom we met during this elections campaigns gave to us, given the profoundly corrupt way the parties have managed Bucharest so far,” he explained.
Asked whether he is pleased with the result, Dan pointed out that an analysis will be carried out. He nevertheless added that finishing second in the local elections is a good result for USB, a party set up 6 months ago.
Nicusor Dan reiterated the opinion according to which PNL would not have won the elections, but also that USB voters are fed up with all the political parties that have managed Bucharest so far, and these voters would not have forgiven USB if it formed an alliance with the Liberals.
On the other hand, Nicusor Dan drew attention to the negative effects of the one-round mayoral elections. Nicusor Dan added that USB, which will become the Save Romania Union (USR) and will run in the parliamentary elections next autumn, will talk “with all truly new political parties, not with those consisting of old political names rechristened in new parties.”
“USB becomes the Save Romania Union and will fight for seats in parliament at the parliamentary elections this autumn. Our doors are open to all groups of citizens who tried to fight the system, to the new political parties, and we hope that together with these people we would manage to bring to the Romanian Parliament a force that would represent citizens who are fed up with today’s politics,” Nicusor Dan stated at a press conference held after the voting ended.
He added that as members of local council and of the municipal council, USB representatives will fight for transparency, for putting a stop to the embezzlement of public funds, and for a fair relation with Bucharesters. “I want to assure the Bucharesters who voted for us that we will not compromise,” he emphasised.