Romanian elections tomorrow: what are the odds?

I must warn you, this is an article that only people familiar with the Romanian politics would understand. I am really fond of following the latest developments in the Romanian new, yet fragile democracy.

There are parliamentary elections Sunday and the polls tell us that we are in for some fights between parties in the race for the Prime minister┬ánomination. Moreover, because the Romanian Constitution is rather fuzzy regarding how the nomination process will take place if a party doesn’t reach the absolute majority, the two coalitions that sit at the very ends of the political spectrum will have troubles pushing for their choice.

There are several scenarios: the Social Democrats manage to get 40% of the seats in the Parliament and coupled with the Liberal Democrats and the newly formed far-right party (which is basically a spin-off from the Social Democrat Party) will use the “the election winner has the first pick” strategy to influence the President to nominate Liviu Dragnea. Dragnea is the Socialist leader and most likely to take on the top government job. However, Dragnea was convicted of frauding one previous election.

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Second scenario: there is a massive voting participation of groups unlikely to go to vote (like young people) that have the main preference the Save Romania Union, a newly founded party that has a strong pro-European focus and that is associated with the current Prime Minister. This would push the Union to exceed expectations and together with the National Liberals to coagulate a coalition to support Dacian Ciolos, European ex-commissioner and current PM. It is unlikely that those parties won’t need the help of either the Hungarians’ Union or the Popular Movement Party (a right-wing party led by the former Romanian President).

Let’s look at the polls to see what would happen on Sunday. However, approach the polls with caution, as they have proved to be quite deceiving in major elections this year. IRES, a polling company, declared that the Social Democrats would get 44% of the votes (which, to be honest, it is a highly inflated figure). I would say that the real voting percentage would be somewhere in the ballpark of 40%. It might be that we are in for a surprise, and PSD will fall below 40. But, we should watch the mobilisation among young voters.

The National Liberals are credited with 23%, which is a very low figure for a major party. This figure might be true, particularly because USR has “eaten” the liberals’ slice. But, according to IRES, USR will reach 7%. This is something I cannot believe. The amount of support for USR is unprecedented for a party that has less than half a year of activity. Regarding USR, there are two scenarios: a) high participation among the young voters will result in USR reaching easily 20%; b) low participation among young voters and the 7 % might be true.

From what I have seen on social media, young people are motivated to go to vote more than ever and they are getting behind the fresh team of inexperienced politicians that found abode at USR.

As you can see, the balance of power is in a very fragile equilibrium and from the past political experiences, 50% +1 haven’t been enough to back a government in the long-term. So we might be in for some serious struggles that might have reverberations for the year to come.