New president in Romania November 2014
A presidential election took place in Romania in 2014, and was held in two rounds, on November 2 and 16. In the first round, out of a record number of fourteen runners the top two candidates qualified in a run-off. Victor Ponta, acting Prime Minister and leader of the Social Democratic Party won around 40% of the vote, and Klaus Iohannis, mayor of Sibiu and leader of Christian Liberal Alliance, won around 30%. Following massive protests on how Ponta's government organized the elections in the diaspora, Klaus Iohannis staged a surprising come-back and won the run-off with 54.5%, or more than a million votes over his contender.
Ponta, acting as Prime Minister of Romania since May 2012, ran his campaign on promoting a national reconciliation message of a "great union" between all Romanians,defending his governance as balanced, with both left-wing and progressive measures, and promising to end the "era" established by the previous president, Traian Băsescu. However, his government faced some indirect international criticism, with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland criticizing in October 2014 what she called the "cancer of democratic regression and corruption" in several Central and Southeastern European nations and with politicians who "protect the corrupt office holders from prosecution and bypass parliament as often as it suits them". Iohannis, belonging to the country's German minority (as a Transylvanian Saxon), focused his campaign on the independence of the justice system and a pro-Western orientation, and promised to promote "Romania of thoroughness" and a "Romania of things well done," while blaming the country's economic and political problems on the regional governance of the Social Democratic Party, the so-called "barons".
The electoral campaign ran between October 3 and November 1 and was overshadowed by several corruption scandals (Microsoftgate, EADS, illegal retrocessions) involving key figures of PSD, but also the candidate Elena Udrea. Outgoing President Traian Băsescuaccused Victor Ponta of being an undercover spy, incompatible under the Romanian legislation with a public position, while Klaus Iohannis faced accusations of incompatibility filed by the National Integrity Agency after September 2013. Following very long voting times and large numbers of people who couldn't vote before the closing of polls in diaspora, large protests were staged in multiple cities across Romania and at Romanian embassies before the second round. This was regarded as both incapacity and unwillingness of Ponta's government to organize fair elections, and led to a surprisingly large turnout of over 64% (largest since 1996), and a surprise win for Iohannis in the second round.