Citizens voted for a dead mayor


Ion Eliman was last Sunday elected mayor of Debsalo in Romania, despite having died of coronary heart disease two weeks earlier – and this delusional story has been stirring Romanians for several days.

Eliman headed the town of Debslo-Oult, a district known as the site of a large U.S.-owned NATO base with advanced missile interception firing systems. A few weeks ago, Eliman ran again for mayor. Printed and entered into the computerized system, but about two weeks ago there was a tragic turn in his condition.

Eliman is severely ill with the corona virus. At first, he seemed to overcome the disease but his condition worsened. He was taken to an emergency room in a hospital in Bucharest – where he lost his life after doctors said nothing more could be done to save him.

Despite the difficult developments, the municipality decided to order the holding of elections with the same list of candidates that also included Eliman’s name. “They could not remove Eliman’s candidacy because the law could not appoint another person as a candidate in his place and replace him in the records. But who thought people would vote for a dead person? Only in Romania can there be such a thing,” said Ronen, an Israeli who has lived in the country for many years.

And even though no one thought it would happen – the incredible scenario happened nonetheless. Residents re-elected Aliman as mayor even though he died two weeks before the vote. And not only that, but he defeated by a wide margin his living rivals, with 1,020 votes he got out of 1,600.

“We appreciate him very much. He always did a lot for us. We felt he belonged to us so we decided to vote for him even though he died,” one resident explained, “the law allowed us to choose him so we chose him because he deserves it.”

Although residents have spoken out, further elections will have to take place in Debslo-Olt in order to crown a living person for the post. Meanwhile, Eliman’s deputy mayor will serve as interim mayor until after the election.

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