Romania’s PM Ponta to run in November 2014 presidential elections

By bne IntelliNews July 1, 2014

Romania’s PM Victor Ponta, who is also the president of the ruling PSD party, has announced his candidacy for the presidential elections scheduled for November 2014, Ziarul Financiar daily announced.

Until recently, more names were rumoured for the leading party’s candidate in the November elections – but Ponta, 42, was still believed to be the most likely option. The nomination was thus broadly expected and Ponta enjoys his first chance in November’s elections against a dissipated opposition.

The other options were former PSD candidate Mircea Geoana and Bucharest mayor Sorin Oprescu. The former lost the previous elections against incumbent President Traian Basescu at a very thin margin. The latter lost his support among voters, after his performance as a mayor.

Until now, the centre-right parties have not proposed a single candidate and will probably have more candidates in the first round. The largest centre-right party, PNL [until recently at rule] avoided making a single nomination while both its former president Crin Antonescu and current president Klaus Iohannis expressed intentions to run in the elections.

The other two smaller centre-right parties - PDL and PMP, have already nominated their candidates. The former leading party PDL, which has cooperated with current President Basescu for a long time until recently, has elected as candidate former justice minister Catalin Predoiu. PMP, which is currently politically sponsored by President Basescu, has brought forward former foreign affairs minister Cristian Diaconescu. Even though both of them have demonstrated robust professional performance, they are however seen more as technocrats and not politicians among voters. As opposed to them, PNL’s Antonescu enjoys a larger degree of awareness among voters while Klaus Iohannis is rapidly gaining ground in this regard.

The elections will be held under a two-ballot procedure, with the second round to be held only if none of the candidates gets the 51% majority of the votes.

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