Romania’s Democrat-Liberal Party, the country’s biggest opposition member, elected Vasile Blaga as its new leader replacing former Prime Minister Emil Boc to shore up voter confidence ahead of elections.
Blaga, 56, who also heads the Parliament’s upper house and was the only candidate for the position, received 1,197 votes cast by the Democrat-Liberals, while 28 voted against him.
“We plan to revive” the party “as the main catalyst for all right-wing political parties,” Blaga said before the vote. “We are headed toward a tough battle at general elections.”
The Democrat-Liberals, part of a coalition that supported previous governments led by Boc and Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu, saw their public support cut by more than half to about 16 percent in local elections on June 10. A wave of party defections allowed the Social Democrats and the Liberals to gain a parliamentary majority and validate Victor Ponta as prime minister on May 7, after toppling Ungureanu on April 27.
While in power, the Democrat-Liberals backed an austerity plan that included a 25 percent cut in public wages and tax increases to meet pledges to the International Monetary Fund and the European Union under two accords since 2009.
Romania is expected to hold general elections in November or December, according to Ponta, as the current ruling alliance, known as USL, would win about 60 percent of the votes, according to a May 9-15 survey, conducted by pollster IMAS on 1,038 people.