Liviu Dragnea, by a hair to become ruling party’s head

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Social Democrats were electing their chairperson on Sunday, with the current acting chairman of the Social Democrat Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea being the only candidate running for this position.

Social democrat sources told local media that an 81.23 percent turnout was registered, meaning that about 400,000 out of the total of 531,000 PSD members went to polls to elect the new party’s president. An official result will be announced on Monday.

According to the PSD Central Electoral Committee president, Florin Iordache, the best turnout was registered in Olt, Teleorman (Dragnea’s fief), Maramures, Ialomita, Gorj, Galati and Dolj, while the lowest turnout was in Bacau, Cluj and Valcea branches.

After casting his vote, Dragnea said that the internal elections are the first serious test PSD is going through, while underlining it’s a new start for the party.

“It’s about closing up a political cycle, there are many challenges ahead of us and through the test today and through the actions we’ll carry on the upcoming days, PSD has the chance to be the first party that understands that the Romanian citizens want more and more to take part in the decision making process, want to be consulted, their opinions and proposal to be considered (…),” Dragnea said.

Regarding the turnout, Liviu Dragnea said he is content with it, with Social Democrat members coming to “polls” despite the bad weather. He informed the National Executive Committee of the party will analyze the turnout on Monday, also adding there won’t be any sanctions, but only an assessment for the future.

Asked about the situation in Cluj where there was a quite low turnout, Dragnea answered there won’t be any sanctions: “I am not that bad, just we now know where we are standing.”

Late last night, after the voting ended, Dragnea stated that he feels a huge responsibility to not repeat “the mistakes” that PSD used to make and ‘the compromises that were eating on” the party, while the past mistakes must be assumed.

The party’s honorary president Ion Iliescu said that Dragnea has all necessary data to provide a competent leadership.

“Dragnea is not new in the party. He has teamed up with several former presidents and he is a person that has been continuing an activity and a leadership style for many years,” Iliescu also pointed out.

He even came to Dragnea’s rescue regarding the latter’s charges, saying that the National Anti-corruption Directorate’s action to ask for Dragnea’s prosecution in the referendum file is conflicting with the democratic spirit, as Dragnea did nothing illegal but only did his job as a party leader to mobilize people to come to the polls.

As for premier Victor Ponta, the one who left the PSD president position vacant after he resigned in July, he pledged to endorse the new team leading the party.

“After almost 6 year at the helm of PSD, it’s time for a new beginning in the party, too. I am voting for the team and for the growth continuation. I teamed up well with Liviu and I am sure he will continue the good projects that we started together- the party’s modernization, the opening to the city while maintaining a special relationship with the countryside, attracting as many young as possible, staying connected to the real problems of the Romanians. I will be next to the team who’ll lead the party,” Ponta wrote on Facebook, while informing he will keep staying “100 pc connected and preoccupied with the ruling.”

For the first time, the PSD chairperson is not voted within a Congress, and the voting system introduced for these elections is giving all party members the chance to elect their leader.

The ballot boxes have been placed all over the country, and some 531,000 party members were invited to cast their vote. The polls were opened on Sunday between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., with the results of the voting being centralized in Bucharest.

The results of Sunday’s elections will be validated on Monday by the National Executive Committee, and the party’s Extraordinary Congress on October 18 will elect the other members of the PSD leadership, the executive chairperson, vice-chairpersons and the secretary general respectively.

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