The Social Democratic Party (PSD), the leading group of the governing coalition in Romania, are choosing their new leadership at a Congress this weekend. PM Viorica Dancila is aiming to stay head of the party, but faces five challengers.

Viorica Dancila, lideri PSDFoto: Agerpres

Viorica Dancila has taken over as interim leader of the PSD after Liviu Dragnea, ex-President of the party, was sentenced to prison under corruption charges a day after the European elections in May. Dancila has long been seen as a puppet prime minister in the hands of strongman Dragnea, but she is said to have resisted some of his pressure to change laws which would prevent corruption investigations against him and other politicians,but which have been opposed by Romania's partners abroad.

  • Since taking over as interim leader of the party, Dancila has made a point insisting that meddling with justice is off her agenda. She is now one of six contenders for the position of president of the party, when it convenes in a congress on June 29 to elect a new leadership.

She faces Serban Nicolae, leader of the PSD faction in the Senate and one of Liviu Dragnea's closest associates when he was pushing for changes in the judiciary. Also running for the position are Ecaterina Andronescu, currently Education minister; Liviu Plesoianu, a deputy who is a star among the more radical PSD members and promoted heavily by Russian propaganda tool Sputnik; Ilie Rotaru and Catalin Stochita.

Several other prominent PSD members are running for the position of executive president - Regional Development minister Daniel Suciu, Finance minister Eugen Teodorovici, Bucharest District 5 mayor Daniel Florea; PSD deputy Sorin Bota.