The file of National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), initiated against Sorin Oprescu removes the present General Mayor of Bucharest from calculations for local elections in 2016 and resets completely all games and calculations regarding the election of a new Mayor of Bucharest. Thus, the top political parties are seeking new strategies and heavy weapons to throw in the electoral battle, in order to launch on the market candidates that have real chances of being elected as General Mayor of Bucharest, a position that represents a powerful electoral standard; considering the number of required votes, the position of General Mayor of Bucharest is the second after the position of Romania’s President.
As far as the strategy of the main party in the Government for their candidate to the position of General Mayor of Bucharest is concerned, Social – Democrat sources have declared for stiripesurse.ro that there are three possible versions to consider.
The Mayor of District 3, Robert Negoita, has been mentioned from the beginning of the year as a potential PSD candidate in Bucharest. After Liviu Dragnea was elected interim head of PSD, Negoita strengthened his position in the party. One of the richest members of PSD, Negoita is known to have connections both inside PNL and PDL. He has become in June the president of the Association of Romanian Municipalities (AMR), replacing former Mayor of Pitesti Tudor Pendiuc.
The president of PSD Bucharest, Ecaterina Andronescu, is another name to consider by Social Democrats, the quoted sources declared. Although she enjoys great notoriety, Andronescu still has to clear out her alleged implication in the Microsoft file.
PSD also has the option of supporting a candidate outside the party, such as District 4 Mayor Cristian Popescu Piedone, who would have ran from behalf of UNPR. At the time being, the official has not yet announced his intention to run for General Mayor, yet this thing has happened before the DNA file on Sorin Oprescu’s name appeared.
According to quoted sources, there are other PSD members willing to run for General Major in Bucharest, yet, they were not included in opinion polls so far.
Dragnea: PSD should really consider a serious and trustworthy candidacy to the Mayoralty
Interim President of PSD Liviu Dragnea has declared on Sunday evening for Antena 3 that PSD should seriously consider a candidate that could win the elections for the Mayoralty of Bucharest.
On Monday Dragnea has nuanced his point of view and said that he cannot ask Sorin Oprescu to resign and that Oprescu has to be held accountable before the law. Likewise, he pointed out that in what concerns PSD’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall things have been completely reset, considering that the Social-Democrats were set on backing Oprescu in next year’s local elections.
“I am not the one to tell him to resign or not. What is happening to him is undesirable, but Sorin Oprescu, like any other person in this country, has to be held accountable. However, PSD notes that in Bucharest the competition for the City Hall is reset. We cannot afford to throw a name in the game. We will conduct serious sociological surveys,” Dragnea said.
“PSD is capable to have its own candidate for the Bucharest City Hall. Otherwise we would no longer be able to call ourselves a big party,” Dragnea added.
PNL does not rule out the possibility of a new candidate outside the party for the Mayoralty of Bucharest
The leaders of the National Liberal Party are also aware that once Oprescu was arrested, the rules of the game have changed in the electoral battle for the Mayoralty of Bucharest. PNL does not exclude the possibility that their soon-to-be candidate to the Mayoralty of Bucharest would come from outside the party, the leader of Liberal Deputies Eugen Nicolaescu has declared for RFI. He mentioned that his party “should not rule out anything by default” and declared that the future candidate to be supported by PNL needed to have a Liberal profile and “should not be an authoritarian, a Communist”.
Eugen Nicolaescu says that PNL will be most likely to announce their candidate to the Mayoralty of Bucharest by the end of autumn. “We have planned for this autumn to establish definitively all candidates for all local public positions all over the country, and therefore, we might shortly initiate procedures we have established in order to perform opinion polls that would check the perception of the population on certain persons we wish to launch in electoral campaigns and, probably, by the end of autumn, we would know the best candidates who respond to the requirements of the population, who pass a few criteria we have established, including given criteria of integrity.”
Basescu: At this time, I am not interested to return to the Mayoralty of Bucharest
Former President Traian Basescu declared for B1 TV that, after one has been President, it is hard to strive for another position.
“At this time, I am not interested to return to the Mayoralty of Bucharest”, Basescu explained. “I do not see myself as an energetic politician, seeing in perspective the Mayoralty of Bucharest and, then, running for Romania’s Presidency. You know, I would prefer supporting Ms. Udrea, whom I know as a very powerful and consistent person. Let us hope she solves her legal issues”, Traian Basescu further declared.
He mentioned that he had supported Elena Udrea throughout her entire political career, yet, at the time being, she needed to solve her legal issues.
“I have supported Elena Udrea throughout her political career because I think she is a person of remarkable qualities, but I think that she needs to sort out these issues right now”, Traian Basescu also added.
The ex-President mentioned that, although Liberals have great chances at the election, PSD was very strong in Bucharest.
“PSD is extremely strong in Bucharest. Bucharest has a great issue, created by Nastase during my term. The Government has broken the Mayoralty budget in seven. All of the money goes to the district mayors. The Bucharest Mayor only keeps a quite modest sum to invest in development. Although I had three years and four months left, I failed at that time to convince them to cut that nonsense”, Basescu also explained.
Elena Udrea does not want to run for Bucharest City Hall
Lower Chamber MP Elena Udrea stated on Monday that in Sorin Oprescu’s case one can see the difference between “a fair denunciation” made before the active bribery took place and that resulted in a sting operation, and a denunciation made under coercion, “with the handcuffs on the table.”
“In Mr. Oprescu’s case, as it looks so far, we are talking about a denunciation made before the active bribery took place, we are talking about an action that led to a sting operation. You can see that if made legally the denunciation is not attackable and has its use. (…) The situation, as seen today, is one that can show the difference between what a denunciation made when the handcuffs are placed on the table and you either say something about someone or you go to jail means and what a fair denunciation means,” Udrea said, pointing out that a sting operation like the one that took place in Sorin Oprescu’s case is “difficult to attack.”
On the other hand, Elena Udrea said that she does not intend to run for the Bucharest City Hall as Traian Basescu had claimed the other days when he mentioned her name as that of a possible female candidate.