2019 Presidential elections
On November 24th, Romanians are expected to vote in the second round of the 2019 presidential elections. The two remaining candidates are the incumbent President and PNL candidate, Klaus Iohannis and former Prime-Minister and PSD candidate, Viorica Dăncilă. Despite numerous attempts from Dăncilă to have a debate with her counter-candidate, Iohannis refused to participate. The two candidates had separate meetings with the media and members from the academia.
Klaus Iohannis was mistaken to state that PSD should “disappear”. Despite his refusal to debate with Viorica Dăncilă, and the public pressure demanding a democratic deliberation between the two candidates, Iohannis is still favorite to win this race. Iohannis also benefits from the support of USR-PLUS since Dan Barna encouraged his electorate to vote for the PNL candidate. Other political parties, however, preferred to „stay on the fence” and encouraged their electorate to vote with whoever they see fit.
USR members had five days to vote on wether Dan Barna should remain president of the party. The results show that 75% of the members who participated at the internal elections voted in favor of Dan Barna and he remains president of USR and of the USR-PLUS alliance (taking into account the members who were absent, Barna gathered a little over 30% of the support of all members of USR). With Dan Barna gaining a disappointing result in the Presidential race it remains to be seen if USR-PLUS will be able to at least maintain, or even exceed, its 15% for the 2020 local and parliamentarian elections.
Donald Tusk was elected president of the European People’s Party, thus being the first Eastern European to be the president of the biggest political party at the EU level. Being elected with the vast majority of votes, the election of Tusk is particularly important for Romania, as it creates new opportunities for eastern-Europeans to have an impact on the high politics of the EU.
On November 21st, Romanian Siegfried Mureșan (PNL) was elected vice-president of PPE, an influential position allowing him to forward Romania’s interests within the most influential European party.
Fiscal and Economic Updates
Prime-Minister Ludovic Orban outlined that the budgetary deficit puts a lot of pressure on the exchange rate. He took this opportunity to attack the PSD government for its inability to draft the budget and for the several negative budgetary rectifications. As such, the week debuted with a historic low of the RON as compared to the EUR. At 4,77 RON for one EUR. The president of CFA Romania considers this depreciation something natural, as compared to the other countries in the region. On November 21st, 2019, the EUR reached a value of 4,78 RON. With the current account deficit as well as the budgetary deficit at their current points, we can expect the EUR to reach 4,8 RON before January 2020.
On November 18th, 2019, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban stated that while the Government is working towards finishing the 2020 budget, there are delays caused by the old Government to deal with. The government is still loaning money from the internal market, and the economic growth will likely not be greater than 4%. The 2020 budget is a priority but it is as of yet unclear what will happen to the minimum wage and the pensions law. Regarding the second problem, the EU Commission has already asked the Government to undertake measures for public spending to be reduced in 2020. With upcoming elections next year for both local officials and MPs, it is highly unlikely that the pensions will be cut. However, if the numbers presented by Florin Cîțu last week are to be believed, then it will be extremely difficult for money to be found without further enlarging the deficit.