Klaus Iohannis, the leader of Romanian opposition (PNL, center-right), has been elected President of Romania, according to the first official results of the Nov 16 secound round of elections. His rival, the Prime Minister Victor Ponta (PSD, center-left), was the favourite according to polls, but in the end he was voted only by 45% of the voters, 10% less than the number of votes collected by Mr. Iohannis.
Many believe Victor Ponta lost the elections because of his Government’s attempts to limit the number of votes abroad, both in the first round and in the second rounds of elections. With millions of Romanians working and living in Europe and America, the Government introduced extra bureaucracy in the first round, which made thousands of Romanians not been able to vote before the sections were closed; and also refused, before the secound round, to open more voting sections in the European cities, widely known as anti-PSD fiefs.
The Government’s actions to limit the vote brought unprecedented reactions both in Romania and among the Romanians abroad, transformed into street protests and, in the end, a massive presence to polls to vote for Mr. Iohannis. On Sunday, incidents emerged in European cities like Torino and London, where the local police dispersed the voters gathered in front of Romanian diplomatic offices.
Mr. Iohannis’ victory is also seen as a consequence of an incredibly efficient campaign on social networks; just one day before the final vote, Mr. Iohannis’ team announced their candidate already defeated V. Ponta in terms of number of Facebook fans. Parallel symbolic vote on the internet also showed K. Iohannis was already “The President on the internet”. “You wrote history today. For the first time, the Internet made the difference”, K. Iohannis commented on his Facebook page soon after the exit polls.
A German ethnic, Mr. Iohannis built his campaign around the necessity of “normality in politics” and “the culture of well done things”, messages opposed to a noisy and byzantine way of doing politics in nowadays Romania, but also linked to the respect showed by many Romanians to German community in Transylvania, often associated with seriosity and efficiency.
K. Iohannis spent most of his public life as the mayor of Sibiu, a city in Transylvania. He has become in 2014 the leader of the National Liberal Party.
More about K. Iohannis on wikipedia.