Romanian parties finalise EU election lists

The three major parties in Romania held stormy meetings on 30 March to establish the names and the order of appearance of candidates for the European Parliament elections in June. EURACTIV Romania reports.

Three major surprises emerged from the Romanian party list talks. The Liberal Democrats (PDL) announced that former Justice Minister Monica Macovei would enter the party and be featured second on its EU elections list. Macovei is highly regarded in Brussels for her persistent judicial reforms and fight against corruption (EURACTIV 06/06/08). 

The PDL, close to the country’s president Traian Basescu, won the last general elections with the most seats in parliament. Following last November’s elections, it now governs in alliance with the left-wing Social Democratic party (PSD) (EURACTIV 28/11/08). 

The Liberal Democrats hope to win 15 seats out of the 33 reserved for Romania in the Parliament. Prime Minister and PDL leader Emil Boc announced that Macovei, politically unaffiliated, would join the PDL, which would be “a gain for Romania and the party”. 

As anticipated, the PDL list will be topped by Theodor Stolojan, first vice-president of the party and former prime minister. He is followed by Macovei, Cristian Preda, – known as an advisor to President Basescu, Traian Unguranu, a journalist and columnist, and current MEP Marian Jean Marinescu. 

The other surprise is that MEP Daniel Daianu, a former minister of finance and political heavyweight, did not feature on the list of the National Liberal party (PNL) led until recently by former prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu. Daianu, an active MEP at present, is highly respected as an international economist and professor of public finance. 

Catapulted from the outside 

But perhaps the biggest surprise came from the Socialist side. The atmosphere at the PSD meeting was troubled by Lavinia Sandru’s announcement that she would join the Social Democrats and run on their list for the EU elections, only to go back to her small party afterwards. Sandru is a former member of the Democratic Party, which existed until 2007 before merging with the PDL. 

PSD circles fumed at the arrival of Sandru, with former president Ion Iliescu the most vocal critic of the idea. PSD President Mircea Geoana maintained ambiguity about Sandru’s candidacy. 

“If she joins the party, we could look at this matter again,” he said. 

Although the PSD is set to finish its list on Thursday, the first few names seem to be those of Adrian Severin, Rovana Plumb, Adriana Ticau, Daciana Sarbu (who are all current MEPs). 

The PNL’s new president, Crin Antonescu, announced that his party’s list had been confirmed by the party’s leadership. Norica Nicolai, PNL vice president, was confirmed to top the list, followed by current MEPs Adina Valean, Renate Weber, a lawyer, Ramona Manescu and Cristian Busoi, both of them current MEPs. PNL hopes to win 7-8 seats. 

Another big name missing from the liberals’ list is Adrian Cioroianu, a former minister of foreign affairs. He was reported to be unhappy with the eighth place on the list assigned to him. 

Background

The 2009 European elections will take place on 4-7 June 2009, for the first time across all 27 member states of the European Union: including Romania, which joined in 2007. More than 375 million EU citizens will be called to elect 736 members of Parliament. 

The 2009 ballot is the seventh round of European elections, and coincides with the 30th anniversary of the first EU poll held by universal suffrage. 

Since 1979, the European Parliament has gained greater powers, yet voter turnout has steadily decreased over the 30 years, from 63% to 45%. 

A recent Eurobarometer poll shows that many citizens are unaware of the elections, despite describing the Parliament as the most trusted EU institution. 

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