Romania – After handing Ion Aliman victory in the election for their local mayor, residents of a small village in southern Romania went to his grave to light candles for him. Aliman was re-elected in a landslide for an unprecedented third term as mayor of the village of Deveselu despite having died from COVID-19 complications 10 days prior to the country’s municipal elections. His death came too late to remove his name from Sunday’s ballot, but the news of his passing spread fast through the village, home to just over 3,000 people. The popular incumbent would have celebrated his 57th birthday on election day.
To honor the man they admired, hundreds of Deveselu villagers went to the polling stations Sunday and voted for Aliman anyway. After preliminary election results showed late Sunday that Aliman had won 1,057 out of the 1,600 votes cast in Deveselu, a large group of villagers visited his grave to light candles and pay their respects. A video shared widely on social media showed people with flashlights and candles gathered around Aliman’s grave, some of them saying “This is your victory” and “We will make you proud, we know that from somewhere up there you are watching.”