After the 1989 Revolution, 2004 was the fifth electoral year of Romania. Since 1992, every four years, local, general and presidential elections were organized, the last two being simultaneous. According to the new Constitution adopted in 2003, the presidential mandate is valid for five years and the parliamentary one only for four, hence there will be a gap between the parliamentary elections and the presidential ones.
Although the local poll from June 2004 was organized for the mayors and for the local and county councils to be elected, in fact it proved to be a noteworthy test before the general elections from autumn.
The main contenders were the government Social Democratic Party, the DA Alliance NLP+DP (formed of a liberal party and social-democrat one), the Party of Great Romania (a national party with communist affiliations), the Humanist Party of Romania (a center party focused on the small enterprises) and the Hungarian Democratic Alliance of Romania, an ethnic party with a constant electorate of approximately 6-7% concentrated on ten counties from the center of Transylvania.
The Romanian elections have generated a special political balance:
At present, there are parliamentary forces that can decide the government’s dismissal if a major mistake is made. The winning of the presidential elections by Traian Basescu has led to the annulment of the SDP’s parliamentary elections winning. Through political pressures, the new president has announced that he will force the formation of an Alliance minority government. Being entirely an image product, on the helm of the state, Train Basescu will have to prove that he is also endowed with other leadership qualities. These elections have proved the great balance that exists between the political action and the image campaign. The negotiations between parties and not the image campaign have determined the winner of the presidential elections. But, at the same time, the electoral performance of one single man has succeeded in entailing an opposition structure that seemed to have small chances a few months ago. Just as he had won the sector town halls of Bucharest with unknown people, Traian Basescu succeeded in offering victory to a bunch of unpopular leaders who had governed the country between 1996 and 2000.
After a predictable defeat in the local elections from Bucharest, SDP succeeded in arresting the apparently imminent decline and in competing from equal positions in the parliamentary elections. It was the first party from Eastern Europe who succeeded in winning more votes than it had won at the beginning of the mandate. That was one of the important outcomes of the campaign, because it helped diminish the erosion; the campaign was greatly prepared by the adaptation of the party during the last year, which prevented the party’s collapse.
January 2005: the DA Alliance’s team leads Romania. Although SDP has won the parliamentary elections, the presidential victory of Traian Basescu has triggered the establishment of a NLP-DP government. This government has been voted by the Parliament with a fragile majority and it has already been disputed. Being deprived of great personalities and of a solid support, this government has the difficult task to integrate Romania in the European Union.
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