Third biggest party in Romania’s Parliament elects new leader

Save Romania Union (USR), the third biggest party in Romania’s Parliament by number of mandates, elected a new president on Saturday.

MP Dan Barna from Sibiu is the party’s new leader after the USR congress organized in Poiana Brasov. He ran against former culture minister Vlad Alexandrescu and got 127 votes from a total of 191 delegates that participated in the congress.

Dan Barna, 42, was elected USR vice president in May. He was a secretary of state in the EU funds ministry in the Dacian Ciolos cabinet last year. He is part of USR’s liberal faction, which supports the party’s positioning against the people’s initiative to change the Constitution and ban same-sex marriages.

USR, which came third in last year’s parliamentary elections, with close to 9% of the votes, has been divided by internal scandals in the last year. At the beginning of this year, the party’s founder Nicusor Dan successfully fought off an initiative to bring former PM Dacian Ciolos into the party, promoted by some powerful USR members, including former EU funds minister Cristian Ghinea.

Nicusor Dan was reelected as president of USR in May but shortly after that he resigned as the party’s leadership decided to take stand against the people’s initiative to change the definition of family in Romania’s Constitution. Dan said that this position narrowed the party’s supporter base. He left the party and said he would only return if the party would change its stance on this issue. However, an internal referendum decided that USR should maintain its position.

Nicusor Dan said on Saturday that the party’s internal elections were illegally organized. USR’s Bucharest organization, which still supports Nicusor Dan, didn’t take part in the elections as they supported a third candidate.

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(photo source: Dan Barna on Facebook)