Romania should be able to hold elections next month if Covid-19 cases don’t explode, president says

Klaus Iohannis, Navy Day, Aug. 15, 2020, Romanian presidency
Klaus Iohannis, Navy Day, Aug. 15, 2020, Romanian presidency

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis says that the country should be able to hold local and then parliamentary elections this year, as long as people respect restrictions and coronavirus cases don’t skyrocket.

Romania reported 1,409 cases of novel coronavirus on Wednesday, a sharp rise after the previous two days, but Iohannis said Wednesday that he thought elections were still likely.

Local elections are scheduled for September 27 and political parties have already been campaigning for weeks. Parliamentary elections are expected toward the end of the year.

“I can’t tell you what the situation will be in five weeks, but we all hope that the epidemic won’t grow exponentially and the number of new cases will decrease,” he said Wednesday evening/

“If things go reasonably, I think we can organize elections,” as long as health rules and social distancing is respected.

Asked about a no-confidence motion submitted by the opposition Social Democratic Party which could oust the minority Liberal government ahead of the ballot, Iohannis said.

“It seems. If the country is in the middle of an epidemic and we are in an economic crisis, you don’t come and submit a motion,” he said.

“That shows you that the Social Democrats are not only cynical, but irresponsible. (the party) wants to show it’s still here. It has no solutions, but is probably looking for solutions for the barons who feel disconnected to public resources and are probably suffering.”

He questioned the timing, saying that no party had ever submitted a motion during the parliamentary recess.

Parliament is expected to debate and vote on the motion in September.

Earlier Wednesday, a few hundred employees from the hospitality sector protested in the Old Town, a top tourist spot in the capital.

Industry chiefs said income was 70% less than the first six months of 2019 and 40% of businesses had suspended their activity.

Protesters played the national anthem and marched through the pedestrian area, shouting: Thieves, thieves!” and “Resign!”

One poster read: “The way you are serving (the country), you don’t deserve tips!”

Addressing the issue, Iohannis said that while new Covid-19 cases remained high, authorities would not relax restrictions, such as face coverings or allowing restaurants with indoor seating to reopen.

Outdoor restaurants were allowed to reopen in June and can serve customers  until midnight. Many restaurants have outdoor seating due to Romania’s hot summer months.

Iohannis said the government would come with measures to support the stricken hospitality industry.



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