Incumbent president Klaus Iohannis defeated rival Viorica Dancila with a score of 64.8% to 35.2% in the second round of presidential elections on Sunday, according to an exit poll by polling institutes CURS-Avangarde. Another poll by IRES institute showed a score of 66.5%-33.5% in favor of Iohannis. It was a smashing victory for the man who ran for a second term in office, as Romanians showed up at polling stations in larger numbers than in the first round of elections to vote in what was seen a popular rebuke to Dancila's Social Democratic government of recent years.
The vote was marked by an almost 50% turnout by closing polls across Romania and an unprecedentedly high turnout in Romanian communities across the world.
At 9 p.m. local time, official turnout stood at 49.87%, compared to 47.66% in the first round of elections. The figures do not include turnout in the Diaspora, where more than 900,000 people reportedly voted - or some 10% of the total vote.
Turnout was especially high both in counties seen as Social Democratic (PSD) strongholds but also in major cities such as Bucharest-Ilfov, Sibiu, Brasov and Cluj, which are seen as anti-PSD strongholds.
- Klaus Iohannis has focused his electoral campaign on fighting the PSD and its current leader Viorica Dancila, accusing the party of governing against the interests of Romanians. The PSD took over the government following a landslide victory in 2016. Since then, under the iron first of its former ruler Liviu Dragnea, it has led a major campaign to change the rules of Justice, which was seen as undermining the rule of law in the EU member country. The past three years were marked by massive protests against the PSD policies.
- Dragnea was eventually sentenced to prison in a corruption case earlier this year and the leadership of the party was inherited by his puppet PM at the time, Viorica Dancila. Dancila remained a PM until earlier this month when she was dismissed after losing a censure motion in December. Her government was succeeded by one formed by the Liberals (PNL), the party supporting Iohannis.
Iohannis' strategy proved successful as he, with a first term presidency marked by a successful foreign affairs performance, byt late responses to PSD actions and overall slow-motion interventions in key domestic issues, obtained the support of all opponents of the PSD - including those who do not necessarily approve of him.