Romania’s prime minister has ruled out a national lockdown after parliamentary elections this weekend, saying it will harm the economy which is already under strain from the health crisis.
„I can guarantee 100% there will be no lockdown. Romania can’t afford it; the economy can’t afford it, ” Ludovic Orban told Romania TV.
Last week, President Klaus Iohannis denied there would be a post-election lockdown, seeking to dispel rumors that the government was planning to impose more restrictions once the election is over.
Speculation has persisted about the government’s post-election plans, but Mr Orban dismissed it as a political ruse to weaken support for the Liberal Party, which has lost four points in opinion polls in the last month over pandemic fatigue.
Seeking to reassure Romanians that local restrictions were paying off, the prime minister said that the in recent days, the number of people recovering from Covid-19 exceeded the number of new cases.
„For the past seven-eight days, we have seen a downward trend,” he said adding that fewer tests were carried out over the holiday period.
Romania reported 4,916 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as testing lagged during a two-day holiday. Fewer tests are carried out at the weekend as well.
The National Liberal Party which Mr. Orban heads is expected to come first in the Dec. 6 ballot, despite the decline in support. It is likely to try and form a coalition government with the Save Romania Union-Plus party which would give the government a parliamentary majority.
Feelings are mixed about how opportune the Dec. 6 ballot is. A survey showed that 55.4% believe the ballot should have been postponed while 40.9% say it’s good that elections are going ahead.
The survey was carried out between Nov. 6 and Nov. 27 by the Institute of Marketing and Opinion Polls for Europa FM radio. A total of 1,010 people responded and the poll has a 3.1% margin of error.