PLUS candidate Dacian Ciolos leads in race for USR-PLUS leadership
MEP Dacian Ciolos received the highest number of votes from the members of the reformist party USR-PLUS, which is running online internal elections to pick up a leader. The party resulted from the merger of USR and PLUS.
Ciolos, the head of PLUS party before the merger, will run in a second round against Dan Barna - the former leader of USR. The president of USR-PLUS will be elected this weekend.
Ciolos won at a 2.1pp margin with 46% of the votes, versus 43.9% of the votes received by Barna. A third candidate received some 10% of the votes, according to G4media.ro. The turnout was 74.4%.
The elections in USR-PLUS are supposed to contribute to the political normalisation in Romania. But despite somewhat different profiles and the fierce race between the two, the candidates support similar values and argue for similar reforms. While USR inherits the profile of a former NGO, more oriented toward civic activism, PLUS inherits the profile of Dacian Ciolos - the former prime minister of a government of technocrats that ruled in 2016 as a neutral solution that put an end to a political crisis.
From this perspective, Ciolos should, in principle, be a more appropriate candidate for negotiating a coalition again with the Liberals (PNL). However, he made strong statements against prime minister Florin Citu and is not likely to accept him as the leader of a new coalition government. Such an option is unlikely, irrespective of the outcome of the USR-PLUS elections.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos/George Calin)