BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The Romanian prime minister's tieless look has become a talking point before the parliamentary election, applauded by some, but also a reason for disapproval in the conservative Eastern European country.
Dacian Ciolos, is the first prime minister, after Petre Roman, a university professor who played a key role in Romania's 1989 revolution, to provoke public debate for not wearing a tie in formal public appearances.
A former European Union commissioner, Ciolos was appointed premier in Nov. 2015 to head a government of technocrats, after Victor Ponta was forced to resign over massive anger about a nightclub fire that killed 64.
Roman became famous for his red jumper and dazzling smile. He fought in the revolution where more than 1,100, died and donned his famous red jumper as he was named provisional prime minister during the revolt, after Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown and executed After he was formally appointed prime minister, he began wearing ties.
Ciolos' decision to go tieless during the electoral campaign is perceived as a political gesture, not a fashion statement.
"It shows that he is relaxed and doesn't want to create a distance between himself and the average person," said Lia Galic, an English teacher.
However, others said the lack of neckwear, was irksome.
"It is a lack of respect. How can he appear without a tie? Even crooks wear ties. He mocked us," said Valentina Lupan, an architect.
In contrast, Liviu Dragnea, chairman of the Social Democrats who are expected to come first in Sunday's election, has worn a plain red or blue tie in pre-election appearances.
Ciolos gave an interview to The Associated Press this week in a room where the photos of former Romanian prime ministers adorn the walnut-paneled walls. Prime ministers of the 19th-century wore uniforms. In the early part of the 20th century, a couple wore black ties, including all-black bow ties.
The first Romania prime minister to make a bold statement with his tie was Communist Prime Minister Petru Groza, who came to power in 1945, and wore a striped tie.