4 December, 2023
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It is almost sure that Klaus Iohannis will win the presidential elections, claims the editor of the blog ”The Bridge of Friendship” in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio

On 9 November 2019 the editor of the blog ”The Bridge of Friendship” was interviewed in the emission ”Saturday 150” of the Bulgarian National Radio. The questions from the interview tried to clarify the expectations towards the new Romanian government in internal plan, its relations with the European Commission and the expectations for results of the presidential election, whose first tour will take place on 10 November 2019.

Vladimir Mitev explained that it is expected that he Orban government introduce austerity, after the salaries in the state sector and pensions were raised in the times of social democrats’ rule. It is expected that the new government will communicate much better with the European Commission, which was unhappy with the social democrats, because they changed the balance in justice. The Romanian proposal for eurocommissioner – the eurodeputy Adina Vălean, has a lot of experience in the European Parliament, but probably she will be asked inconvenient questions at her hearing on 14 November 2019 in the europarliament. As for the presidential elections, it is almost sure that they will be won by Klaus Iohannis. The question is who will be second on the first tour and will have the right to participate in the second tour.

Here comes the transcription of the interview:

Georgi Markov: Good morning, Mr. Mitev!

Vladimir Mitev: Good morning.

Colleague Mitev, what are the expectations from the new Romanian government in internal plan?

Let me first remind that the new Romanian government was formed with difficulties and after huge pressure upon the parliamentary parties to support it. At the end, the vote of confidence passed with the vote of members of parliament from the Social Democratic Party, which ruled until now, and from the party of the former prime minister Victor Ponta – Pro Romania, who opposed the instructions of their leaders.

One of the first expectations is getting realised – there is “cleaning” of state administration. State officials from the previous government are being dismissed and even the prime minister Ludovic Orban joked that he will get muscle strain, because of signing of orders for dismissal of state officials. It seems that there will be more considerable changes in a few domains. The first one is the financial and economic domain. Romanians expect a new period of austerity. During the times of social democrats a growth model, based on growth through consumption on the base of higher salaries in the state sector and pensions was used. The current financial minister Florin Cîţu claims that growth should happen through austerity. He defends his views pointing the attentio at the rising budget deficit. In this domain probably will be changes in comparison with the previous government. Another domain, where the president Iohannis – from the same party as the prime minister Ludovic Orban, seeks for change is justice. The social democrats changed the balances in this domain as they created a special department for investigation of crimes in this sphere. Now the elimination of this department is being discussed.

It could be also interesting that the minister of defense was the chief of the Romanian General Staff until now. Maybe this is interesting, because when the president Iohannis was in the USA this summer, he expressed his desire that more American troops be placed in Romania.

It is noticeable that there are no announcements for social measures or for care for the ordinary Romanian on behalf of the government. It is announced that this rule is temporary and that the longest period, in which it can stay in power is one year – until the parliamentary elections, which will be held in the end of 2020.

The formation of the new government and its swearing-in was followed with great attention not only in Romania, but also in the European institutions. Is the new Romanian cabinet a good piece of news for Bruxelles and are there signs that how it will work with the future European Commission?

I think it is obvious that the change is wanted by Bruxelles. Bruxelles had problems with the social democrats, who didn’t follow European advice in justice and changed the balances in this domain. So far it was Iohannis who played the role of “the European” in Romanian politics. At this moment there is a government, which represents the party of Iohannis. The European Commission and the European Parliament have rejected a few times the social democrats’ proposals for Romanian eurocommissioner, claiming that Iohannis should also approve it. Now the rulers in Romania are from one and the same team and there should be no problems in communication with the European institutions.

Is the candidature for Romanian eurcommissioner sufficiently strong and will she manage to win the trust of the eurodeputies? You noted that there was a procedure, which led to the rejection of the Romanian nomination. What should we expect now?

Adina Vălean, who is nominated by Romania for eurocommissioner of transport has long experience in the European Parliament. At this moment she is the only Eastern European MEP, who is president of a parliamentary commission – the one for industry, research and energy. In a statement the European Commission underlined that Adina Vălean was the reporter on the mechanism for transport interconnectedness of Europe, which means that she probably has the necessary experience in the transport domain. However we should take in mind that the contradictions on European tops have strengthened recently. Probably there will be inconvenient questions towards Vălean during her hearing on 14 November 2019. There are already critical voices in Romania – e.g. from the Union Save Romania – a party, which traces its birth from the ecological protests against the mine project “Roşia Montana”. A senator from this party – Mihai Goţiu – accused Vălean in support for the usage of cyanide technologies in the mine work, because in 2010 Vălean organised a conference, which seems to emit such message. Vălean herself claims that in 2013 she doesn’t support the mine project Roşia Montana, after the National Liberal Party positioned itself against the project. It is a curious fact that Vălean’s husband is Crin Antonescu – a Romanian politician, who was the leader of the National Liberal Party, when it was in alliance with the Social Democratic Party in the times of Victor Ponta’s rule. Another detail is that Vălean respects a condition put upon the future Romanian eurocommissioner by the European social democrats – to be a woman, so that the European Commission is more balanced in terms of gender. I suppose that at this moment Vălean is the best, which the Romanian government can propose.

On Sunday Romania will have its important presidential elections. Fourteen candidates will race for this position. Could we say which are the candidates with greatest chances and what are their messages to the voters?

It is almost sure that the elections will be won by Klaus Iohannis. It is believed that he has the necessary geopolitical support. The opinion polls give him around 45% in the first round. He is a convinced euroatlanticist and for Romanians it is generally important to emit euroatlantic messages. The intrigue is who will reach the second tour. One of the possible second placers is the social democrat’s leader Viorica Dancia. She is strongly criticised over her personal qualities or deficits, but her government raised the income of a number of Romanians, who otherwise don’t have great access to money or power. The voters, who are happy with her rule, will probably support her. This year pensions were raised by 15% and next year they will be raised by 40%. Even the party, which comes to power now claims it will keep this measure intact. But the fears from possible cuts could make the people vote for Viorica Dancila in order to show that they want something different from austerity.

Another interesting candidate is Dan Barna, who is the representative of the alliance between Union Save Romania – the party of the young in Romanian politics and the party “Plus” of Dacian Cioloş. Barna is considered Macron’s man in Romanian politics in this moment. His messages are technocratic – for reduction of clientelism, for elimination of corruption, for affirmation of business and empowering of the young people. He wants to return more Romanian emigrants in their motherland. His message and campaign motto is “Happy in Romania”’. A journalistic investigation was published against him, which suggested that he had abused European funds, but the prosecution announced that he is not accused in any crime.

Another interesting candidate is the actor and former member of the European Parliament Mircea Diaconu. He builds the image of a man of the people and probably will be supported by people from smaller towns and villages. He presents himself as a victim of anti-corruption, so people, who don’t approve of what happened in the golden era of Romanian anti-corruption will probably vote for him.

In general, the messages of Romanian presidential candidates were devoid of details and sounded like cliches. There were no confrontations between the candidates. Iohannis never appeared in an election dispute with his opponents. On Thursday on radio Europa FM there was a debate, in which not only Iohannis, but Dancila didn’t participate. So one has the feeling that the results of these elections or at least of their first round are predetermined. And that there is no real competition in these elections.

So you expect that there will be a second round?

There are claims that Iohannis could win even in the first round, but most probably there will be second round. The difference between him and the next candidates is big.

What happened and didn’t happen in the campaign period showed that he will be elected. There were no journalistic investigations against him, there were no scandals, related to his person, he never appeared publicly in an uncontrolled environment. I suppose that his team has decided that it is sufficient if he simply manages not to do a mistake in the campaign and this will bring him the victory.

We will see whether things happen as we prognose them on Monday morning or Sunday late in the evening. Thanks. We spoke with the colleague Vladimir Mitev for his expectations from the new Romanian government, which swore in this week and we tried to prognose how presidential elections will unfold. On Sunday Romanians will choose between 14 presidential candidates.

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