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Save Romania Union

The Save Romania Union (Romanian: Uniunea Salvați România, USR) is a political party in Romania. The party was founded following the success of the Save Bucharest Union (USB) party in the 2016 local elections. After being officially registered as a political party in 2016, it united with the local USB and Union for Codlea parties, thus gaining most of its initial membership base from the two latter parties.[9] It is currently the third largest political party in the Romanian Parliament after the 2016 legislative elections and runs on an anti-corruption platform.[10]

Save Romania Union

Uniunea Salvați România
AbbreviationUSR
LeaderDan Barna
FounderNicușor Dan
Founded1 July 2015 (USB)
2016 (USR)
HeadquartersBlvd. Aviatorilor 9, Bucharest
Membership (2019)13,619[1]
IdeologyAnti-corruption[2][3]
Liberalism[4]
Economic liberalism[5]
Political positionBig tent[6]
European affiliationAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe[7]
European Parliament groupRenew Europe
ColorsBlue
SloganFără hoție ajungem departe (Moving forward without theft)
Chamber of Deputies
27 / 329
Senate
13 / 136
European Parliament
4 / 32
Mayors
0 / 3,186
County Councilors [8]
15 / 1,434
Local Councilors
39 / 40,067
Website
www.usr.ro

Ideology and issuesEdit

Dan Barna, the president of USR, characterized the party as "generally centre-right",[10] leaning centre-right on economic policy and centrist in terms of social policy. However, USR has a substantial amount of both progressive and conservative members.[11] He compared the party with Emmanuel Macron's La République En Marche!, while mentioning that the key difference between the two is that USR predominantly consists of people who have not been involved in politics before.[10]

Anti-corruption campaignEdit

Since its foundation USR has supported the anti-corruption drive in Romania and the activity of the National Anticorruption Directorate. USR was against the modifications to the justice laws initiated by the government coalition PSD-ALDE and requested the rejection of OUG 13 (see also the 2017–2019 Romanian protests).

In 2018 USR helped and supported the initiators of Fără Penali în Funcții Publice ("No Convicts in Public Office") civic campaign, whose objective is to bar the persons convicted to final imprisonment sentences for intentional offences from being elected to local government, the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate or the office of President of Romania by amending the Article 37 of the Romanian Constitution[12] (which regulates the nomination rules). USR and volunteers collected more than 1 million signatures from eligible voters.[13]

LGBT rightsEdit

USR's position on LGBT issues is not clearly defined. The party leader, Dan Barna, declared: "Gay marriage is not yet a subject for the public agenda, there is no initiative promoting same-sex marriage. Maybe in 20, 30 years next generations will take care of this problem, but for now, this is not a priority."[10]

However, USR was the only parliamentary party in Romania that did not support the constitutional referendum, proposed by Coaliția pentru Familie (CpF) and supported by the Romanian Orthodox Church. The constitutional amendment proposed to change the definition of family in order to prohibit the same-sex marriage, however it failed, as the turnout was only 21.1%,[14] below the required voter turnout threshold of 30%.[15][16] USR considered the referendum a way to divide the Romanian people and to distract the attention from the real issues Romania currently faces, such as corruption.[17]

Roșia MontanăEdit

USR supported the inclusion of the Roşia Montană site in UNESCO World Heritage. At the 42nd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, held in Manama, Bahrain, the government's representative, Ştefan Răzvan Rab, state secretary of the Ministry of Culture, in Bahrain, on June 24 to July 4, asked for postponement on behalf of Romania including the Rosia Montana Mining Cultural Landscape in the World Heritage List until the completion of the judicial dispute with Gabriel Resources, an unprecedented fact in the history of UNESCO. USR Senator Vlad Alexandrescu, under whose Ministry of Culture 2015-2016 Roşia Montană was included in the UNESCO indicative list, accused the PSD-ALDE government coalition of treason, writing in a post on 2 July 2018 on Facebook:

"It is Romania's most shameful moment since being a member of UNESCO. All the other states of the world carry a fierce negotiation these days so that their monuments are included in the UNESCO list, and each success is welcomed with cheers and cheers. In contrast to the civilized world is Romania. The only state that has campaigned for its monument not to be on this list. A state seized by a bunch of villains who do not give a damn about the importance of heritage. All they want is to leave UNESCO in peace with their ideas, to make a crater over Roşia Montană so that they can fill their pockets. Of course, the rest of the states know this, not everyone is as "professional" as our government. And so we will be known from now on, those who sell their patrimony for the welfare of their politicians. What you have done here, members and representatives of the Government, is treason. You have acted so that our patrimony is reduced to a crater in the near future. And this will not be without consequences, I promise you!"

European affiliationEdit

USR supports Romania's membership of the European Union and is in favor of a joint European external policy and military and of Romania's accession to the Schengen Area.[18] While not being part of a European political party yet, USR has had negotiations with Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) and to a lesser extent with the European People's Party and the European Greens. USR's hesitation to join ALDE is due to the fact that a Romanian party they vehemently oppose (the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats) is part of that European party and bears the same acronym.[19]

In May 2019, the party stated[20] that it would take part in the new liberal group in the European Parliament that includes France's La République En Marche!, named Renew Europe in June 2019.

On 30 May, 2019 the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats withdrew from ALDE.[21] With no more obstacles on its way, USR joined ALDE on 28 June, 2019.[22]

Party leadersEdit

Name
born – died
Portrait Term start Term end Duration
1 Nicușor Dan
(1969– )
  28 July 2016 1 June 2017[23] 10 months and 4 days
Elek Levente
(acting)
(1971– )
1 June 2017[24] 28 October 2017 4 months and 27 days
2 Dan Barna
(1975– )
  28 October 2017[25] present 2 years and 17 days

Electoral performanceEdit

Legislative electionsEdit

In the 2016 legislative election, the USR party received 629,375 votes for the Senate and 625,154 votes for the Chamber of Deputies, thus becoming the third largest political party in Romania, after the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and National Liberal Party (PNL).[26]

Election Votes Percentage Chamber Senate Position Government
2016 629,375 8.92%
30 / 326
13 / 134
 3rd  Opposition (2016–2019)
Confidence and supply (2019–present)

European electionsEdit

Election Votes Percentage MEPs Position Political group
2019 2,028,236 22.36%
4 / 33
 3rd  (as USR-PLUS) Renew Europe (RE)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Raport Extindere iulie 2019". www.usr.ro.
  2. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2016). "Romania". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  3. ^ "Leader of Romanian anti-corruption party resigns". POLITICO. June 1, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  4. ^ "In Romania 165 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 69 seats in the Senate seats necessary for a majority". pollofpolls.eu. 2017. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  5. ^ "USR repară după PSD. Policy brief: Cum va reforma USR-ul taxarea și ANAF-ul" (PDF). Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  6. ^ "Coaliția pentru Familie, motiv de ceartă în USR". May 29, 2017. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  7. ^ "ALDE Party Council meets in Zürich". ALDE. June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  8. ^ "Situația mandatelor repartizate pe partide". Rezultate finale 5 iunie 2016. Biroul Electoral Central.
  9. ^ "USB, USR si Uniunea pentru Codlea au fuzionat duminica intr-un eveniment cu usile inchise" (in Romanian). Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d https://www.euractiv.com/section/elections/interview/dan-barna-save-romania-union-similar-to-macrons-en-marche/
  11. ^ "Nicusor Dan: USR are doua probleme: conflictul dintre progresisti si conservatori si lipsa de colegialitate si de incredere". Stirileprotv.ro. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  12. ^ "Fără Penali în Funcții Publice ("No Convicts in Public Office")" (in Romanian). Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  13. ^ "USR: Iniţiativa cetăţenească "Fără penali în funcţii publice" a strâns peste 1.000.000 de semnături ("USR: The Civic Initiative 'No Convicts in Public Office' Collected Over 1 Million Signatures")" (in Romanian). August 21, 2018. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  14. ^ Referendumul naţional pentru revizuirea Constituţiei din 6 și 7 octombrie 2018
  15. ^ "Prezența vot". Biroul Electoral Central. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  16. ^ "Romanian constitutional ban on same sex marriage fails on low vote turnout". Reuters. October 7, 2018.
  17. ^ "USR indeamna alegatorii sa boicoteze referendumul pentru familie ("USR Urges the Voters to Boycott the Family Referendum")" (in Romanian). September 18, 2018. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  18. ^ "Arhive România în lume - Uniunea Salvați România". Uniunea Salvați România (in Romanian). Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  19. ^ "Ghinea: USR are discuții active cu partidul european ALDE". G4Media.ro (in Romanian). June 15, 2018. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  20. ^ "Dan Barna, President of the USR: 'USR Political Committee decision: we will take part in the creation of the Liberals & Democrats + En Marche new political group in EP. Time to renew Europe!'". Twitter. May 6, 2019. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  21. ^ "UPDATE ALDE România s-a retras din ALDE Europa - Politic - HotNews.ro". www.hotnews.ro (in Romanian). May 30, 2019. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  22. ^ https://www.aldeparty.eu/news/alde-party-council-meets-zurich
  23. ^ "Nicușor Dan și-a anunțat oficial demisia din USR. E dispus să se întoarcă în anumite condiții". Digi 24. June 1, 2017.
  24. ^ Oana Popescu, ed. (June 1, 2017). "Elek Levente, președinte interimar al USR". AGERPRES.
  25. ^ G. S., ed. (October 28, 2017). "Dan Barna a fost ales președinte USR: Voi lua legătura cu filialele care nu au venit la congres pentru a închide această zbatere în care a fost partidul". Hotnews.
  26. ^ "HARTA INTERACTIVA & TABEL Rezultatele alegerilor parlamentare: Cum arata harta Romaniei politice — Rezultate zdrobitoare pentru PSD in judetele tarii / Unde a castigat PNL, UDMR sau USR — Alegeri Parlamentare 2016" (in Romanian). HotNews.ro. December 13, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.

External linksEdit