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News 30 Oct 17

Romanian Anti-Graft Party Chooses New Leader

Romania’s anti-corruption party Save Romania Union, the third political force in the country, has chosen former spokesman as its new leader on Saturday amid internal turmoil, months after its founder left the faction. 

Ana Maria Touma
BIRN
Bucharest
Dan Barna, new leader of Save Romania Union. Photo: Dan Barna/Facebook

Romania’s third political force in parliament, the Save Romania Union, an anti-corruption political faction set up in mid-2016, has chosen On Saturday its second leader in six months, after its president and founder resigned from the party in June due to a row on gay marriage.

Dan Barna, Save Romania Union's former spokesman, was voted by 127 representatives, a large majority of the delegates who showed up at the party congress, which took place in Poiana Brasov mountain resort. 

Barna, a former state secretary in the technocrat Economy Ministry in 2016, faced former technocrat culture minister Vlad Alexandrescu who only secured 50 votes. The third candidate, Cristian Seidler, withdrew from the race.

Barna is part of the party’s liberal wing that advocates a centre-right ideology. Alexandrescu represents the progressives in the party, supporting a centre-left ideology.

Seidler, a supporter of conservative party founder Nicusor Dan, and his supporters announced on Friday that they would boycott the internal elections and would contest the result in court, accusing the two rivals of irregularities in selecting the delegates allowed to vote at the congress. They said the Bucharest branch has too many representatives.  

The party has been in turmoil since Dan’s resignation, especially due to a lack of consensus over its ideological direction.

Dan resigned from the party on June 1, after the leadership decided that all its MPs should vote as a bloc against modifying the constitution to fit the conservative definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman. Dan wanted to allow the party’s MPs to vote according to their personal stances.

The Save Romania Union was the surprise of the December 2016 legislative elections in Romania, after it managed to secure nine per cent of the votes and become the third party in the Parliament.

The anti-graft movement was founded by Dan in June 2016, after the municipal elections, and it attracted many former dignitaries from Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos’s technocrat government.

Ciolos himself wanted to join the party at the beginning of 2017, but Dan opposed the move, antagonising several influential members. 

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