Large opposition alliance in Romania barred from running in EP elections on technicality
The alliance of Save Romania Union (USR) and Plus – the party of former prime minister Dacian Ciolos – was barred from running in the elections for the European Parliament as the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) rejected their request in this sense, the two parties announced. They said the BEC’s decision was abusive and taken under pressure from the political power in Bucharest.
BEC’s official motivation for rejecting the alliance’s request was that the presidents of the two parties, Dan Barna for USR and Dacian Ciolos for Plus, were not registered within the political parties’ register. The two parties explained that they filed requests in court to have their presidents registered but that they haven’t yet received final decisions in this sense.
“This is a political decision taken under pressure from the corrupt regime Liviu Dragnea has established in Romania. The legal documents that we submitted didn’t count. The legal decisions of the two parties and of their 14,000 members didn’t count. The 200,000 signatures that we have raised also didn’t count,” the two parties said in a joint statement.
The BEC’s decision is not final and USR and Plus said they would challenge it at the High Court. If the court’s decision is also unfavorable, they will run in the elections for the European Parliament on separate lists. However, even in this case, the two parties said they would help each other gather new signatures and they would support each other during the electoral campaign.
The USR Plus alliance came third in a recent opinion poll carried by IMAS, with close to 18% of the intended vote. The main ruling party PSD and the main opposition party PNL were neck and neck in the same poll, at 22.7% respectively 22.6% of the intended vote.
Both USR and Plus are new parties on the local political scene, which have drawn support from young people, unhappy with the big parties which have held the power in Romania in the last 30 years. Their agenda is focused on supporting the fight against corruption, on banning convicted people from running from public office and bringing new people into politics.
Former PM Dacian Ciolos opens the alliance's joint list for the EP elections, which also includes two of his former ministers - Cristian Ghinea (USR), former EU funds minister, and Dragos Paslaru (Plus), former labor minister. Clotilde Armand (USR), who almost won the elections for Bucharest's District 1 City Hall in 2016 is also high on the list.
(Photo source: usrplus.ro)