Romania’s Klaus Iohannis looked set to be re-elected as president in the second round of presidential elections Sunday, confirming the pro-European trajectory of the eastern EU member.
Thirty years after the fall of communism, the centre-right former physics professor is running against Social Democrats (PSD) leader and former Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, whose government fell last month following a no-confidence vote.
In a first round of voting on November 10, Iohannis gained 38 percent of the vote, ahead of 13 other candidates. Dancila came second with 22 percent.
Analysts say voters who backed lower-placed candidates can be expected to largely swing behind Iohannis on Sunday, amid deep resentment towards the PSD over controversial judicial reforms.
The PSD government has engaged in a long battle with Brussels — and Iohannis who backed the EU over allegations it was trying to push through measures to neuter the judiciary and benefit PSD politicians.
The left-wing party is seen as the successor of the elite which dominated the country before the overthrow of communism in 1989 and is accused of harbouring corruption in its ranks.
And while nationalism has been less present in Romanian politics than in Hungary or Poland, the PSD also tried to frame its clashes with European Union institutions as evidence that the party was standing up for Romania.
Former foreign minister Cristian Diaconescu said Iohannis guaranteed “predictability” in Bucharest’s foreign policy.