20,000 Romanians join centre-right PNL’s pre-election rally

20,000 Romanians join centre-right PNL’s pre-election rally
By bne IntelliNews November 7, 2016

More than 20,000 people took part in a rally organised by Romania’s National Liberal Party (PNL) on November 6 to present its candidates for the parliamentary elections. The rally was attended by technocratic Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, whom the PNL supports for another mandate.

Ciolos’s technocratic government was appointed in November 2015 for just one year until the 2016 election, but has proved popular with Romanians. Last month, the PNL nominated Ciolos for another term, a nomination which was accepted by the prime minister, who has nonetheless said several times he will not join any political party.

Romania will hold general elections on December 11. The country’s biggest party, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), leads the polls with around 10pp ahead of the PNL. However, the PNL hopes that by backing Ciolos for another term it could increase its appeal to the electorate. 

Demonstrators on November 6 carried banner supporting the prime minister, and one participant told bne IntelliNews that the event was “a demonstration for Ciolos.” 

Ciolos addressed the rally, taking about his #Romania 100 Platform, a future strategy for the government, saying he did not want it to be "just an illusion", as it has been called by critics.

“We need a change in the politics and in the political parties.” Ciolos said. “Romania needs that each of us to make a change [...] I would like to ask you, once you return home, to think how each of us can change oneself so that we can ask the society and the leadership to change, to be more honest, to be more direct when it has something to say and have more common sense. I think that change, today, starts first of all with us,” he added.

Speeches were also given by Gheorghe Falca, the mayor of the western city of Arad and the leader of the electoral campaign for the parliamentary elections, Leon Danaila, a well-respected doctor who is running for a senator post, and film director Tudor Giurgiu, among others.

Much of central Bucharest was paralysed by the rally, as a huge line of coaches bringing in PNL supporters from across the country snaked through the capital to Revolution Square. 

The new political party Save Romania Union (USR), which has said it will make no alliances in advance of the elections, is also endorsing the technocratic prime minister for another term after the December 11 parliamentary elections.

On October 17, Ciolos posted the #Romania 100 Platform on his Facebook account. The platform contains 10 governing principles, accompanied by a portfolio of national projects which, Ciolos considers, should be continued or started by the next government. PNL leader, Alina Gorghiu, said last month that she and Ciolos had agreed on the harmonisation of the party's strategy with the ideas included in Ciolos’ Platform Romania 100.

The PNL suffered an unexpected defeat in the Bucharest elections this summer and lacks credible members who could bring it victory in the parliamentary elections. Former co-president Vasile Blaga had to resign after the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) started investigations into his alleged bribe-taking. Supporting Ciolos might bring the party more votes thanks to the popularity the former EU commissioner enjoys.


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