Residents of the south Romania village of Dvesulu have re-elected their mayor Ion Aliman, a 57-year-old former naval officer, in a landslide victory that was overshadowed only by his death 11 days prior.
Mr Aliman passed away less than two weeks before the vote was set to run after testing positive for Covid-19, one of more than 4,700 deaths in the country attributed to the virus.
However by the time of his death it was too late to change the voting papers - and the former military man’s legacy had been strong enough to secure him a third successful victory at the ballot box.
"He was a real mayor to us," one unnamed woman who wore a surgical mask told private television station ProTV in Deveselu. "He took the side of the village, respected all the laws. I don't think we will see a mayor like him again."
A new election will be held to appoint his successor.
Video footage shared on social media showed dozens of villagers lighting candles by the politician’s graveside after Sunday’s local elections - with Mr Aliman commanding 64 per cent of the vote in the village with a population of 3,000.
"It is your victory," one man could be heard saying in the clip. "Know that you will be proud of us. Rest in peace."
Despite his commanding lead in the province, Mr Aliman’s Social Democrat party lost stronghold cities and county councils across the country to the centrist minority Liberal government and USR-Plus, an alliance of two centre-right groupings.
His is also not the first posthumous-mayoralty to be awarded in Romania. In 2008 a village in the east also knowingly re-elected their mayor who had died just after voting began.
Romania has experiences the highest fatality rate associated with the coronavirus in the eastern wing of the European Union, with more than 124,000 infections since late February and 4,748 fatalities.