Romania's Social Democratic Party (PSD), the leading party of the governing coalition, on Saturday voted "unanimously" for group leader, prime minister Viorica Dancila to run in presidential elections later this year.

Teodorovici, Dancila si FiforFoto: Captura Facebook
  • She will face incumbent Klaus Iohannis, who is supported by the opposition Liberals (PNL) and is seen as a favorite especially after a recent meeting with US President Donald Trump; and Dan Barna, the candidate of smaller opposition alliance USR-Plus, which has reported major political gains lately.

Dancila, who's been serving as PM for about a year and a half, was long seen as a puppet PM for former PSD leader Liviu Dragnea as Dragnea could not serve as head of government due to a suspended corruption-related sentence. She ascended to party leadership once Dragnea was received a second prison sentence a day after the European elections earlier this year.

In her speech before a party congress on Saturday, she depicted herself as someone who started rising from a simple family to fight for a "secure country", a "dignified" member of the European Union which is run by the people, with the people.

The first woman with a relevant mandate to run for president in Romania, she claimed she was "stronger than all these men who do nothing but yell from the sidelines" - a reference to top presidential contenders Klaus Iohannis and Dan Barna.

Iohannis appears to have gained massive electoral capital with a visit to Washington where he met US President Donald Trump several days ago.

Both Iohannis and Barna - who depicts himself as the leader of a movement who challenges traditional politics represented by both PSD and Iohannis' Liberals - are trying to take advantage from a loss of political support for the PSD in recent years.

  • Since taking full governmental power in 2016, the PSD focused almost exclusively on efforts to put an end to the fight against corruption and place the judiciary under political control, which would help a lot of its leaders. This led to significant electoral losses, despite populist moves like increasing public sector salaries and pensions: the EP elections several months ago delivered unprecedentedly bad results for the party.​