German elected mayor of Romanian city where revolution began

Dominic Fritz. Foto: INQUAM/Virgil Simionescu

A German citizen has been elected the mayor of Romania’s third largest city where the revolution began more than three decades ago.

It is the first time a foreign citizen has been elected mayor of a Romanian city. Romania passed a law to allow for EU citizens to run for local office in 2015. It joined the bloc in 2007.

Dominic Fritz won 54.8 percent of the vote to defeat the incumbent Nicolae Robu who lost his bid for a third term to run the economic and cultural hub in southwestern Romania.

„Yesterday, we finished the era of transition, 30 years after the fall of communism,” Mr Fritz said after the results were announced. „I am a candidate who has no connection to communism, nor with the system of local barons, or cardboard cutout billionaires.”

„The fact that the people of Timisoara trusted me shows they have confidence in their own force, and energy and multicultural, European history,” he said.

The 37-year-old grew up in the Black Forest region in southwest Germany and moved to Berlin where he worked as chief of staff to ex-German president President Horst Köhler. He was a member of The Greens until 2019.

He came to Timişoara when he was 19 as a volunteer at a local orphanage.

Mr. Fritz, who ran for the Save Romania Union-Plus, holds a residence permit in Timişoara enabling him to run for the post.

EU law allows for any citizen with residence to run for elections anywhere in the EU both in the local and European Parliament elections.

Following his victory in Sunday elections, Fritz now joins a small group of Europeans governing a city in a country different from their own.

Clotilde Armand, a French-born Romanian citizen, has won  a seat as a district mayor in Bucharest, partial results show. The result has been marred by allegations of fraud, which the Social Democrats reject. They are asking for a recount which Ms Armand’s camp doesn’t want, saying she has clearly won the race.

Dutchman Marcel Meijer became Denmark’s only non-Danish mayor when he won election for a town on the Danish island of Samso.

During the campaign Fritz pledged to modernize the public transport system and digitalize local administration.

Romania’s uprising against communist leader Nicolae Ceauşescu began in Timişoara in December 1989

The city will be the European Capital of Culture in 2023.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here