Romania: New right-wing populist party sees meteoric rise in parliamentary election

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Remix News Staff

Romania, with its parliamentary elections having taken place earlier this month, saw the meteoric rise of a new right-wing populist party, Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR), which ended up garnering nine percent of the vote, after having collected less than one percent vote in municipal elections only a few months earlier. The general election on Dec. 6, which was anticipated to be one Romania’s most uninteresting national votes in decades, proved to be quite the opposite, with the Alliance for the Union of Romanians — launched on Dec. 1, 2019 — making massive breakthrough amid the unprecedented health, economic, and social crises seen this year.

AUR propelled itself to the Romania’s fourth-largest party in parliament by capitalizing the widespread discontent with the ruling coalition government’s COVID-19 response, its ardent support from the Romanian Orthodox Church, a willingness to vocally oppose far-left social issues which have become normalized in the West, and a savvy and effective social media strategy, the Financial Times reports . AUR Founder George Simion, in his victory speech, said: “Romanians are fed up with theft, lies and a lack of attachment to national values. We are a Christian party, a nationalist, patriotic party.” “A conservative revolution has commenced,” AUR co-founder Claudiu Tarziu, a 47-year-old former journalist and member of the civil society group Coalition for Family, said shortly after final vote tallies came in. “We are part of the Coalition for Family, and we defended the family, and we promoted the family, and we plan to do this in parliament,” Tarziu said, adding that the Alliance for the Union of Romanians was the only party in Romania to support the reelection of US President Donald Trump. The AUR has a strong connection to the Romanian Orthodox Church. In 2018, Tarziu was one of the organizers of a constitutional referendum to ban same-sex marriage which ultimately failed due to low turnout. Later on, during the parliamentary campaign, AUR fervently defended a piece of legislation which looked to ban the far-left left gender identity theory from being taught to school children. The law, however, was deemed unconstitutional by the Romanian Constitutional Court on Dec. 16 of this year. As a result of their support for the bill, mainstream parties denounced AUR as “homophobic”. During the run-up to the election, AUR organized demonstrations against the disproportionate economic impact that anti-coronavirus measures have had on small, nationally-owned business versus larger multinational companies — a measure which appeared to resonate with Romanian small business owners. The party slammed large “foreign companies that take their profits out of Romania” who have been allowed to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, while small local farmers’ markets have been shut down. “It’s clear that the political class needs a reset,” Constantin Rares, a 32-year-old AUR voter, told Euronews.

Most of the population, especially young people, are disgusted by everything that the old political class represents.” Although the new party’s emphasis on nationalism may have some overlap with dominant Eastern European conservative parties in the region, such as Hungary and Poland’s ruling government parties, nationalism in Romania has also been a point of contention, particularly for the Hungarian government. A large group of ethnic Hungarians lives in Romania, and they have often accused nationalist Romanians of suppression and even outright attacks and arson against Hungarian cultural establishments. The Hungarian minority party Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania’s (RMDSZ) performed well in the most recent election and will be entering into the country’s coalition government, which Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said should help improve relations between the two countries. AUR’s electoral success was in part driven by Romanian’s large diasporas in Western Europe, which, until now, largely voted for the globalist USR-PLUS party. In Italy, AUR was the diaspora’s first choice, and the second choice for both diasporas in Spain and France. December’s election turnout was a mere 30 percent, the lowest since the fall of communism in 1989.


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