The presidential election booths. The myth of the independent, shattered at the polls ANALYSIS

The dry figures of the presidential elections of the last three decades show that the chances of an independent to enter the second round are relatively low, requiring a minimum of two million votes, and to win the election, at least 5.27 million votes.

In most elections, the presidential elections were contested by PSD and PNL/PDL PHOTO Colaj Adevărul

The last two decades have shown that the PSD hardly succeeded in mobilizing a mass of voters other than the loyal electorate in the second round of the presidential elections, an aspect also speculated by Mircea Geoană (deputy general secretary of NATO), a person who apparently does not run for the first position in the state, but it is in a media offensive, by promoting a country project, interviews over interviews or conferences in the academic area.

Geoana mentioned in the most recent interview for Digi24 that PSD relies on four million voters, but the post-December history showed that PSD was able to give the candidate for the head of state who got the least number of votes and still entered the round of second. Viorica Dăncilă was the one who obtained only 2.05 million votes in 2019. What Geoană did not say is that he, as a candidate, received fewer votes in the first round than Adrian Năstase, Victor Ponta and even formerly under Corneliu Vadim Tudor, former PRM candidate. Geoana obtained 3.02 million votes in the first round 15 years ago, while “Tribune” entered the second round with 3.17 million votes in 2000.

Instead, in the second round, the candidate who won with the lowest number of votes was Traian Băsescu, in 2009, right in front of Geoană. Traian Băsescu got 5.27 million, while Geoană had 5.20 million votes. Băsescu had managed to secure his second mandate with an increase of 150,000 votes, after a campaign in which Mircea Geoană had on his side including the big moguls from the press (Sorin Ovidiu Vântu, Dan Voiculescu or Dinu Patriciu).

On the other hand, the most voted president was Ion Iliescu, with 12.23 million votes (85.07%) in 1990, and the second, also Ion Iliescu, in 1992, in the second round, with 7.39 millions of votes. Emil Constantinescu is also on the podium of the most voted presidents, having 7.05 million votes in 1996.

Electoral arithmetic, clearly unfavorable to independents

The figures are not at all encouraging for an independent candidate, although an apparently non-partisan person, such as Mircea Geoană, pointed out that there is “a clear corridor” for an independent president. “This election is extremely important for Romania's future. After having presidents of various colors and political families, I think for the first time there is a clear aisle for an independent president, not to be dependent on parties. That's what people want”, stated Geoană.

The independent who managed to gather the most votes in a presidential round was Mircea Diaconu, in 2019, but supported by Pro Romania-ALDE. Diaconu got 815,201 votes, which meant 8.85% of the total number. He was fourth in the first round race.

In fact, in 2009, another independent was touted as a presidential hopeful. In July 2009, Sorin Oprescu had 36% confidence in the polls. Four years later, Oprescu had a trust of 54%, 2% more than Victor Ponta, who had not yet managed to run for the first position in the state. In 2009, Sorin Oprescu, as an independent, obtained 309,764 votes, i.e. 3.18%. In 2014, Oprescu no longer entered the race, as there were other independents who failed brilliantly. Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, who left the PNL, obtained only 508,572 votes (5.36%). A symbol of the anti-corruption fight at the time, Monica Macovei took 421,648 votes (4.44%), and Teodor Meleșcanu, who left the position of SIE director, managed to pass the 100,000 vote threshold with difficulty, obtaining only 104,131 votes (1.09%)

Presidential coalitions, always more fluid

In the last 20 years there has been no consistency in how the parties align to support a candidate with a chance for the position of head of state. In 2004, PNL and PD joined hands and sent Traian Băsescu into battle after Theodor Stolojan withdrew from the race on October 2, just seven weeks before the first round. Instead, in 2009, PNL went with guns and baggage to Mircea Geoană in the second round, after their representative in the first round, Crin Antonescu, had managed to get almost 2 million votes. In 2014 there was another PNL-PDL collaboration, to help Klaus Iohannis against Victor Ponta. In 2019, in the second round, the liberal Klaus Iohannis enjoyed the support of the USR, a party that now completely renounces the head of state. “The USR PLUS Alliance urges its members and supporters to participate in the second round of presidential elections, which will take place on November 24, and to vote with the current president, Klaus Iohannis“, was the announcement of the Union on November 14, 2019.