Reports: Ex-PM poised to quit as head of Social Democrats after “disastrous” showing in presidential election (update 3)

viorica dancila
Foto: Inquam Photos / George Calin

Romania’s former Prime Minister Viorica Dancila is poised to quit as the head of the Social Democrats after a “disastrous” showing in the presidential election where she suffered a major loss to President Klaus Iohannis in the presidential runoff, media reports said.  

Dancila, 55, initially refused to quit after the results were announced saying her fate should be decided at a party congress.     

But calls mounted on Monday for her to step aside and Social Democrats met at the Parliament to discuss the party’s future.

Hotnews news outlet reported that Parliament speaker Marcel Ciolacu gone to Dancila’s home and had asked her to step down, apparently offering her a safe parliamentary seat in the eastern town of Buzau and the leadership of the Social Democrats women’s group.

She apparently agreed, Hotnews reported, citing sources and will resign at a party meeting on Tuesday. Ciolacu said on social media that he’d met with her but didn’t reveal details of what they discussed.

If Dancila refuses to quit, two-thirds of the party’s Executive Committee are required to vote her out.

Results from Sunday’s election saw Iohannis win a second term with 66.06% of the vote to Dancila’s 33.94%.

Voters preferred Iohannis’ pledge of a “normal,” Romania, while Dancila lost out after a populist campaign and three years that were marked by protests and instability.

After the results were announced, Dancila insisted she had won more votes than the party had won in May European Parliamentary elections and vowed to stay on.

But others said she should go including Ciolacu who said: “Let’s be honest, it is a disastrous result which comes after a similarly bad result in the European Parliamentary elections,” he wrote on Facebook.

„The Social Democrats need a new beginning, we have local elections in six months, we can’t lose them,” Ciolacu said.

Nicolae Badalau, the leader of the Social Democrats in the southern city of Giurgiu_ one of the few counties where Dancila won_ said she should should step down.

“In politics, there’s just one act- resignation. Or an election, or a congress. We don’t have any other solutions. The Social Democrats need a new beginning, that is clear,” he said.

The result is a major blow for the party which has veered toward populism which has failed to turn into a modern European-style center-left party, analysts say.

Dancila won just five out of Romania’s 41 counties and lost heavily overseas, where just over 6% of Romanians voted for her.

In his victory speech, Iohannis, a former high-school physics teacher who was mayor of the Transylvanian city of Sibiu, said. “Romania won today! A modern, normal, European Romania won today!”  

„I receive this victory with joy, thankfulness, modesty and with faith in Romania.”


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