Small town Romanian mayor becomes first person to announce bid for presidency

Foto: INQUAM/Octav Ganea

Romanian mayor Elena Lasconi on Sunday announced she would run for president in upcoming elections and simultaneously compete for the leadership of the USR centrist party which fared poorly in June 9 local and European Parliamentary elections.

Ms Lasconi,52, is the first person to publicly announce her campaign for the September 2024 presidential election. President Klaus Iohannis is stepping down after serving a maximum two terms as head of state.

Ms Lasconi is the mayor of the southern town of Campulung Muscel and although her Union to Save Romania party is socially progressive, she resonates with traditionalists due to her opposition of same-sex marriage.

„It’s time for RECONSTRUCTION! (…).. I find myself in a situation in which I cannot remain a spectator. I refuse to sit idly by and watch democracy crumble in this country we all love. I know that I can change a lot and I have a duty to try, as I do every day here in Câmpulung,” she wrote on Facebook.

Speaking of the USR’s poor result in the local and parliamentary elections where they came fourth running with other parties in a wider alliance, she said: „Romanians are always right. The message of Romanians must not be ignored, but listened to. So I decided to run for the presidency of USR. The reason: the reconstruction of the party, the only alternative to the ruling coalition,” Lasconi wrote on Facebook.

„I tell everyone that in USR there are honest and good people who want to live in Romania, just like me. And please: do not lose hope (…) We didn’t run when it was good for us, but now when it’s hard for us. ”

„Make no mistake, we are at a crucial moment for our party, but also for Romania,”

The current USR leader, Cătălin Drulă announced his resignation after the June 9 poll. So far, Timisoara mayor, Dominic Fritz, has also launched a bid to  lead the centrist party.

Lasconi unleashed a maelstrom last year when she said she’d voted in favor of a 2018 referendum that sought to ultimately ban same-sex marriage.

The issue was that Ms Lasconi was not a far-right populist but a member of the (USR), the only parliamentary party in Romania to explicitly oppose the referendum that sought to redefine marriage as a union between a man and a woman and limit LGBT rights.

Her own daughter Oana Lasconi publicly disowned her mother after her comments,adding fuel to the controversy, although she later backtracked saying she’d been overly emotional, Radio Free Europe reported.

Op-Ed: Now you’ve been re-elected Bucharest mayor, can you build a bus stop, Nicusor Dan?


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