Romania’s pro-European parties inflicted a serious defeat on Romania’s ruling Social Democrats (PSD) in the European parliament elections Sunday (26 May), according to partial official results.
The centre-right National Liberal Party (PNL) and the centrist USR-PLUS alliance together racked up more than 48% of the vote, with 97% of ballots counted.
According to these results, the PSD obtained 23.38% of the vote, a sharp drop from the 37.6% they won in 2014.
In Romania, after counting almost 97% of the votes, the results are:
1. PNL – 26.79%
2. PSD – 23.38%
3. USR-PLUS – 21.40%
4. PRO Romania – 6.61%
5. PMP – 5.66%
6. UDMR – 5.45%
7. ALDE – 4.24%
— Georgi Gotev (@GeorgiGotev) May 27, 2019
The turnout reached a record 49%.
— Kit Gillet (@KitGillet) May 26, 2019
I've been waiting for close to three hours to exercise my democratic right to vote in the European Elections for Romania 🇷🇴 and I will likely not get in before closing. People are yelling #letusvote pic.twitter.com/bwDmLh6Zlr
— Simona Rata (@RataSimona) May 26, 2019
The PSD has been dogged by controversy over its proposed justice reforms, which both the opposition and Brussels say will weaken the fight against corruption in Romania.
“We aren’t happy about this vote,” PSD party chief Liviu Dragnea said.
Dragnea also ruled himself out of challenging incumbent centre-right President Klaus Iohannis in national elections due later this year, surprising many observers who thought he would put himself forward.
Since coming to office in 2016, leading PSD figures — including Dragnea — have used increasingly Eurosceptic and nationalist rhetoric to combat criticisms from Brussels targeting the PSD’s judicial reforms.
Iohannis celebrated Sunday’s results, saying they showed voters were “in favour of a European Romania”.
“The government formed by the PSD has to go,” he said.
Another headache for the PSD is likely to come in the results from a referendum also held on Sunday which was called by Iohannis to ask voters’ opinion on the PSD’s judicial reforms.
Turnout has exceeded the 30% threshold needed to make the referendum valid and analysts expect voters to have rejected the PSD’s plans.
Official results for the referendum are due on Monday.