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Mayor elected in Romania despite dying of COVID-19 a week earlier

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Ion Aliman won by a landslide in local elections, despite dying of COVID-19 the week before.
Ion Aliman won by a landslide in local elections, despite dying of COVID-19 the week before.   -   Copyright  AP Photo
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A mayor was elected by a landslide in Romania on Sunday - despite dying the week before.

Ion Aliman won 1,057 of the 1,600 votes in the commune of Deveselu despite having died on 17 September at the age of 57.

The ballots were printed with his name on them before his death and there wasn’t time to change them.

A local journalist explained to Euronews the people of the town thought highly of Aliman, so the votes were both a symbolic show of support, but also a political message to his opponents that they wanted a mayor from the same party.

Local council members will appoint a deputy mayor to take his place until new elections can take place. The current deputy mayor Nicolae Dobre, who is from the same Social Democrat Party as Aliman, is planning to run for the position.

Mircea Preotescu, spokesperson for The Central Electoral Office in Romania, explained: “Once the voting process is validated, most likely today, the Electoral Office will acknowledge, based on a legal document provided by the family, the fact that the winner of the elections has passed away."

Aliman tested positive for coronavirus on 4 September and died 13 days later in a hospital in Bucharest.

On Sunday locals paid tribute to him at his grave, on what would have been his birthday.

The local elections are a precursor to the general election which is to be held in December.

Some 19 million registered voters chose the local officials, council presidents and mayors to fill more than 43,000 positions across the country on Sunday.