The democracy in Romania, strongly affected by irregularities in the elections. Why Europe will no longer save us

The resurgence of political extremism, fueled by immigration and the war in Ukraine, two crises that are consuming all international political energy, threatens the political stability of the continent. The lapses in human rights, the deterioration of democracy, and the respect for rules are no longer the main focus of attention for European institutions.
The democracy in Romania, strongly affected by irregularities in the elections. Why Europe will no longer save us

The June 9 election is heavily contested, not only by those who lost the elections. Social Democrats and Liberals were also affected by disorganization and fraud in certain political competitions, but the fact that they obtained satisfactory results makes them blind to the disaster caused by the Permanent Electoral Authority and the decisions of the government led by Marcel Ciolacu.

Gheorghe Flutur, PNL, has been leading the Suceava county since 2008. He lost the elections in 2024 to Gheorghe Șoldan, PSD, a 33-year-old young man. Also, after 20 years, the Social Democrats managed to win the mayor’s office as well.

MOLDOVA CONSPIRACY. Campaign led by PSD and PNL against Gheorghe Flutur in Suceava county. He accused his own party of allying with the Social Democrats to defeat him in the elections – Photo: Casian Mitu/ Inquam Photos

These two victories prompted Marcel Ciolacu to come before the public opinion, wearing under his jacket a t-shirt that read „Make Suceava Great Again,” a paraphrase of Donald Trump’s campaign slogan in the USA.

„Toni Greblă doesn’t need to resign. Mr. Toni Greblă organizes bags on the streets? I understand, it’s hard to lose, but there must also be dignity in politics,” said Marcel Ciolacu at the press conference, commenting on accusations of fraud and poor election organization. 

SATISFIED WITH RESULTS. Marcel Ciolacu expressed great satisfaction that PSD managed to break the two-decade liberal dominance in Suceava county - Source: YouTube/ PSD

One million invalidated ballots

Faced with a wave of challenges, requests for vote recounts, and evidence of falsified minutes, representatives of PSD and PNL have adopted a defensive attitude, trying to shift the discussion towards political confrontation.

They argue that the fraud accusations come from those who lost the elections and are nothing more than a strategy by USR to hide poor results, as well as to prepare for the presidential and parliamentary election campaigns.

But from the official data published so far, a truly worrying picture emerges for democracy in Romania.

Regardless of the results, the votes of 500,000 people were invalidated. In the European Parliament elections, where there was a single ballot and the procedure was quite simple, 9,214,607 people voted, and the number of void votes was 482,919, which is 5.24%.

Moreover, in the local elections, over a million ballots were also invalidated. These two figures show how poorly the elections were organized, and here lies the responsibility of the PSD-PNL Government and the Permanent Electoral Authority, led by the controversial Toni Greblă.


But Toni Greblă's responsibility is not to "carry the bags with votes," as Marcel Ciolacu suggested, but to guarantee the conduct of a fair, transparent, and independent electoral process in the face of political interference. Which he failed to do.

Toni Greblă wants the government to count the votes

Decisions by the AEP have favored the ruling parties. 

For example, the decision to print ballots on the election day or to introduce political representatives of national minorities in the polling stations.

Traditionally, these are under governmental control, and their involvement meant that in a polling station, the government had four people (PSD, PNL, UDMR, Minorities), while the Opposition had one (Alliance ADU), at most two, where REPER also ran.

The huge number of invalidated votes is related to the organization of the elections and there are indications that it was not objective.

For two days, USR supporters and other people, numbering a few hundred, are gathering in Victory Square to protest the election organization. 

PROTEST. Protests against the organization of the elections and fraud took place in Victory Square. Radu Mihaiu (USR), mayor of Sector 2, believes he lost because the law was violated in several polling stations - Photo: Octav Ganea/ Inquam Photos

The demonstration is not large and will not change anything, but it is a sign that dissatisfaction with the June 9 elections exists and is accumulating.


The electoral legislation in Romania needs improvement, according to several experts, but unfortunately, the proposals coming from Toni Greblă, the president of the AEP, represent an attempt to eliminate even the little transparency that still exists in favor of absolute opacity regarding the vote counting.

Fabulous result for PNL in the local elections. 38% of the number of mayor mandates, 37% of the number of local councilor mandates, 30% of the number of county council president mandates, and 32% of the number of county councilor mandates. Disaster, as Ciolacu would say

Florin Roman (PNL), coordinator of the local election campaign

He proposed nothing less than that the representatives of parties and civil society should not be allowed to attend the counting of the minutes from the polling stations at the Electoral Offices.

"The signatory organizations express their concern about the statements made by the President of the Permanent Electoral Authority, Toni Greblă, who argued that it would be necessary to revise the electoral legislation to no longer allow the presence of candidates, observers, and the press during the vote counting," states a protest published on the ExpertForum website and signed by several NGOs

"We consider that this statement goes against any principles that should ensure the transparency of the electoral process and can seriously compromise its integrity," the statement further emphasizes.  

"To our knowledge, no AEP president has ever tried to remove observers from the electoral process, and not even political parties have made such statements. It should be in the interest of the AEP, as a guarantor of organizing fair elections, that the process is monitored by as many independent organizations as possible," representatives of civil society further clarified.

Deterioration of democracy

The irregularities and frauds in the June 9 elections will remain, at least for now, an internal issue; European institutions and international organizations will not get involved for the time being, as the public agenda is marked by the crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

Europe and international organizations cannot ignore what is happening in Romania right now and cannot remain silent. We have asked the OSCE and the European Commission to put pressure on the Romanian authorities, who have the obligation to remove any suspicion of theft and fraud

Ramona Strugariu, co-president of REPER

However, the issue will not go unnoticed, and the flawed organization of the elections, legislative shortcomings, and lack of transparency will be noted in reports by organizations monitoring democratic processes.

Through this round of elections, Romania has taken significant steps backward, and it is evident how the military conflict at the border gravely erodes the political system in our country. 

The situation is not unique. Across Europe, there is a deterioration of democracy and a resurgence of political extremism.

Every day we write for you. If you feel well-informed and satisfied, please give us a like. 👇