The votes from the run-off for Romania’s presidential election have been counted and mayor Klaus Iohannis has been elected President. Iohannis defeated Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who conceded in a national television address. However, Ponta said he plans on staying on as Prime Minister, seeing no reason to resign. Iohannis currently serves as Mayor of Sibiu and he was part of the German ethnic party. Iohannis was elected President with the National Liberal Party. Current President Traian Bāsescu was term-limited after he served two five-year terms.
In the first round of the presidential election, Ponta had led with 40% of the vote, compared to Iohannis’s 30%. However, Iohannis was able to make up the deficit, with some saying that Ponta took the win for granted and let his guard down. In addition, the turnout rate was higher in the run-off than in the general election, 62% compared to 53%.
The two men had competing priorities for the nation were they to win. Ponta pledged to continue focusing on economy by reducing the deficit and raising the minimum wages while strengthening pensions. After Bulgaria, Romania is the second-poorest member of the European Union. Iohannis, however, had pledged to combat corruption. One of the ways he plans on doing this is by increasing the independence of the judicial system. Romania has been ranked as one of the most corrupt EU member states.
Romania allows citizens living abroad to vote and some feel that led to Iohannis’s victory. Four million Romanians are living abroad and there was reports of difficulty voting. This led to the Romanian foreign minister resigning last week.