One year after the local elections, partial elections were held in Romania on Sunday. New mayors were elected in 49 localities in 32 counties. According to the Permanent Electoral Authority, the turnout was 33%. These elections were necessary because some of the mayors elected last year resigned their posts after becoming MPs following the parliamentary elections at the end of the year, while others received court sentences. The most important posts that had thus become available were those in Craiova and Targu Jiu, both in the south of the country.
In Craiova, the capital of the historical region of Oltenia, the ruling Social Democratic Party again won the mayor position. The new mayor, Mihail Genoiu, who has been acting as interim mayor, will replace Lia Olguta Vasilescu, who won an MP seat and later also became the labour minister. Genoiu is considered a close aide to Vasilescu, who is also investigated by the National Anticorruption Directorate for acts she allegedly committed as mayor. Voter turnout in Craiova stood at a mere 18%. In Targu Jiu, however, the Social Democrats lost the elections, with the opposition Liberal candidate Marcel Romanescu winning with more than 50% of the votes. The position as mayor had remained vacant in this city as the former mayor Florin Carciumariu became senator.
At the local elections in June last year, the Social Democratic Party and the National Liberal Party won the largest number of mayor seats, 37% and 30% respectively. The two parties were able at the time to retain control of their traditional strongholds with the Social Democrats winning mostly in the south and east of the country and the Liberals in the centre and west. The Social Democrats also won the position of Bucharest mayor and of all of the capital city's six sectors. Gabriela Firea thus became Bucharest's first female mayor and the first Social Democrat to win in Bucharest. Her election heralded the Social Democrats' convincing victory in the parliamentary elections in December, when they won 45% of the votes, while their main rivals, the Liberals, only won 20%.