Winners’ joy, losers’ regrets

After a night marked by parties’ parallel count up, various exit-polls and powerful emotions, the reactions of the main contenders which managed or failed to live up to the expectations were not late in coming.

According to both the exit-polls and the first partial results, Bucharest will have the same mayor – independent Sorin Oprescu (photo), backed by the Social-Liberal Union (USL). Oprescu stated on Sunday evening, after the exit-polls were announced, that USL’s backing mattered, however he gave assurances that he will remain politically independent. “USL’s backing mattered. This can be thought and felt, because everyone saw how they put my foot on the brake for four years and so of course it mattered, how on earth wouldn’t it? But don’t forget that I was a member of that party for 17 years and people knew me,” Oprescu stated. He pointed out that the large difference between him and his opponents is based on people’s trust, but admitted that the vote had a negative component too. His main priorities, now that he has the General Council on his side are: the highway interchange, more underpasses and a capital free of stray dogs. Silviu Prigoana (17 per cent of the votes) stated several hours after the exit-polls were announced that from his point of view he obtained “an honourable score,” “so did PDL, considering the context in which the elections took place,” even though the Democrat-Liberals paid a political price for the measures they took. Yesterday at noon Prigoana added that on average 60 per cent of the vote at national level was a political vote. Asked whether a change in the party’s policy is necessary, as some party leaders have stated, Silviu Prigoana answered negatively, underlining PDL’s importance for Romania during the years of economic crisis. Concerning a possible “changing of the guard” mentioned by various PDL leaders, Silviu Prigoana stated that he knows nothing about it. In what concerns a possible party convention (before or after general elections), Prigoana stated that it will take place “as scheduled by the statute.” After losing the District 6 Mayoralty, Cristian Poteras (PDL) stated on Sunday evening that “USL rode the wave” in the elections and “one can say” PDL suffered a defeat, particularly in Bucharest. PDL also lost the District 3 Mayoralty (previously held by Liviu Negoita), its last fiefdom in Bucharest, and its results in the other 4 districts were pitiful: around 10 per cent of the votes. PDL also lost the battle for the local councils and for the general council.In Craiova, controversial mayor Antonie Solomon (UNPR) was defeated by USL’s Lia Olguta Vasilescu. After the exit-polls were announced Solomon stated that he would prefer to win after the votes are counted but that if he loses “that’s life,” adding that “God’s ways are unknown.” Yesterday Solomon stated he lost “on his own account” and that he was backed by a party “lacking imagination and elections experience.” In Constanta, incumbent Radu Mazare easily won a fourth term in office. Mazare stated on the night of Sunday to Monday that he enjoyed the victories of colleagues such as Olguta Vasilescu, colleagues he backed during the campaign. He added that PDL’s results in the local elections represent the price paid for the fact that all it did was to demolish. “I always said that Basescu has charisma and was the engine of PDL. The difference between me and Basescu is that I’m building and he only demolished and the settling day comes at one point and what happens to PDL now is the fact that the settling day has come,” Mazare explained.

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