Romania’s ruling Liberal Party have opened up a 11.1% lead over the opposition Social Democrats, a poll released Tuesday shows.
The center-right Liberals, who have a minority government, scored 33% in a June poll, a slight increase from the previous month, and the first time since the coronavirus pandemic that month-on-month support for them has increased.
However, it is a steep decline since January when they polled 47%, a figure which was also a reflection of the deep unpopularity of the Social Democrats who were ousted in a non-confidence vote in October after three years in office.
The June figures for the Institute of Marketing and Opinion Polls (IMAS) show a level of public support for the Liberals’ prudent approach to the virus pandemic. They gained public confidence for trying to handle the crisis and balance health concerns with the economy.
The Social Democrats, Romania’s biggest party, on the other hand, has lost some ground in recent months over leadership challenges and conflicting messages. Some members pushed for the government to ease the lockdown quicker, even as the number of new cases rose.
They also called for government to pay significant pensions hikes approved by Parliament and spend more on social welfare, although the government says the costs would ramp up the budget deficit.
The Social Democrats’ share of the vote fell to 21.9% from 23% in May, a drop from their best score in February when they had 25.8%.
Romania’s third-biggest party, the centrist Save Romanian Union, increased its share of the vote to 12.3%, slightly more than 11.6% it scored in May.
Romania holds local elections on Sept. 27.
The poll, which was ordered by Europa FM, was carried out from June 5-27. Some 1,010 were surveyed and the margin of error was 3.1%.