Romanian President Confident of Clinching Second Term

Centre-right Romania President Klaus Iohannis, who frequently locked horns with the country's previous Social Democrat government, faces former Prime Minister Viorica Dancila in a presidential run-off on Sunday seen as likely to return the incumbent for a second and final term.

Sixty-year-old Iohannis, a former mayor of the Transylvanian city of Sibiu, won the first round on November 10 with 37.8 per cent of the vote, ahead of 55-year old Dancila who took just over 22 per cent.

His chances in the run-off got a boost when third-placed Dan Barna of the reformist USR PLUS alliance called on his supporters to give their votes to Iohannis. Barna won 15 per cent.

President since 2014, Iohannis is running for re-election on a promise to tackle the large-scale corruption, nepotism and incompetence that he says flourished during three years of government by Dancila's Social Democratic Party, PSD.

He is also vowing to restore Romania's reputation within the European Union, tarnished by what critics of the PSD say was an assault on the freedom of the judiciary and which risked EU sanctions.

Dancila: 'I won't accept austerity'

Dancila is trumping the economic growth recorded under her rule and the rise in the minimum wage, public salaries and pensions that helped fuel it, at the expense, critics say, of state coffers and inflation.

Dancila became prime minister in January 2018 but was ousted in October this year in a no-confidence vote.

She is stoking fears that Iohannis and the National Liberal Party, which is in minority government and backs the president, will cut pensions and salaries.

Split-screen 'debate'

Widely seen as an uninspiring orator, the incumbent has refused to face...

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