The rise of the opposition alliance between the parties Save Romania Union and PLUS+ alarmed the government. In direct contrast with the democratic rules, Romania’s Electoral Bureau on Thursday March 7 rejected the registration of the two party alliance for the European elections in May.

According to the Bureau the reason is the leaders of the two parties, Dan Barna and Dacian Ciolos, had not been registered by a court as presidents of the two parties.

But, in a joint press release the two leaders said that both of them asked the court in Bucharest to proceed according to the electoral law, but the court had failed to process their requests.

Dan Barna is the president of the Save Romania Union since October 2017. The party is the third force in the Romanian parliament.

Dacian Cioloș served as Prime Minister of Romania between November 2015 and January 2017. In the period between 2010 and 204 he also served as EU Commissioner for Agriculture. He founded PLUS+ in 2018 and was elected president of the party in February 2019.

The two parties decided to join forces for the European Parliament Elections in February.

According to the Romanian law the leaders of political parties have to be registered in the Official Register of Parties in Romania. Both Barna and Cioloș meet all the legal requirements to be registered. But this register was not updated in time for the Central Electoral Office’s decision.

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Reacting to the move, the co-leading candidates of the European Green Party, Greens/EFA co-president Ska Keller and Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout said:

“This coalition of USR PLUS has collected more than 200,000 signatures and was waiting for registration of the two presidents of the participating parties, Dan Barna and Dacian Cioloş. This registration did not happen, despite the two parties meeting the necessary requirements. Since the authorities are not processing this registration, the Election Office is now refusing to allow them to participate in the elections. This is the first time a list has been rejected since 1990”.

“This is an absurd use of bureaucracy to obstruct political participation. We expect the S&D and ALDE to call immediately on their Romanian partners in government and demand that this movement is allowed to participate. Since we all agree that these elections are so important for the future of Europe, they should be open to all political parties to take part,” the co-leading candidates added.

The decision to obstruct the Alliance 2020 USR-PLUS from running in the upcoming elections for the European Parliament by Romania’s central electoral bureau is a serious cause for concern.

According to the latest opinion polls the alliance should win approximately 18% of the votes in May while the ruling Social Democratic Party and the National Liberal Party would get about 22% each.