Preparations were ongoing on Monday for what appears to be the most important electoral event prior to presidential elections due to take place this weekend: a debate that incumbent President and top contender Klaus Iohannis will hold on Tuesday with political experts and journalists, but in the absence of his challenger, Social Democratic leader Viorica Dancila.
- Iohannis - who runs for a second term on behalf of the National Liberal Party (PNL) - has consistently refused to face Dancila in the electoral campaign. Faced with criticism over his refusal to debate her, he explained he would not legitimise Dancila's party, who governed until earlier this month and was constantly criticised by Iohannis over its actions, especially in the field of justice affairs.
In these circumstances, Iohannis has insisted he would still debate his views - but with journalists and politicians.
Despite it is not attended by Dancila in a proper electoral manner, the debate has been depicted by Iohannis' Liberal representative Rares Bogdan as "US-style".
The debate would be held at the Central University Library on Tuesday. Many participants who would take questions appear to be handpicked by the president, but, as Rares Bogdan put it, they are due to cover all segments of the media, not only those who "were always the central point of the fight for full democracy in Romania".
Dancila has continuously challenged Iohannis for a public confrontation. But she herself refused all debates with any other candidates prior to the first round of elections a week ago.
- Now, she suggested on Sunday evening that she would not exclude showing up uninvited at the debate that the president has been preparing. Asked whether she would go there, she answered: "I don't know yet."