French-Romanian politician wins contested mayoral seat amid allegations of fraud

Foto: INQUAM/George Călin

A French-Romanian politician has won a contested seat in the Romanian capital amid allegations of electoral fraud and protests.

Clotilde Armand was declared the mayor of Bucharest’s first district on Wednesday to defeat incumbent  Daniel Tudorache of the Social Democratic Party.

She won the hotly contested seat in Bucharest’s richest district by 1,007 votes. She ran for the same seat in previous elections four years ago and lost.

Her win may have been even bigger after police began an investigation when a man was filmed carrying almost 500 voting ballots away from a voting station which Ms Armand’s camp said was blatant fraud.

Mr. Tudorache denied being involved vote rigging and claimed he had won more votes. His supporters turned out to demand a recount.

However, electoral authorities on Wednesday ruled against  a recount in the first district reportedly in a 12-5 vote, and said Ms Armand, 47, who was supported by the Save Romania Union-Plus center-right group had won the seat.

There were other allegations of fraud including from the outgoing Bucharest mayor Gabriela Firea, a Social Democrat, who also asked for a recount. She was defeated by centrist mathematician Nicusor Dan who won the seat to become mayor of the capital of 2.3 million on his third attempt.

However, the Central Electoral Bureau will allow for a recount in Bucharest’s fifth district after the Liberal candidate who was runner-up said the election was marred by fraud.

Electoral authorities will allow another recount in the southern county of Calarasi where the election is also disputed.

Referring to the incidents and allegations, President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday said it was “inadmissible that there are heated discussions about voting fraud.”

„These toxic practices continue to be used by retrograde politicians who don’t understand that lies and disinformation are no longer tolerated.”


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