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May 15, 2021

UNPR takes over leadership of Bucharest Municipality. Pieptea resigns as Deputy Mayor, Marin Stefanel Dan replaces Oprescu

A councillor from Gabriel Oprea’s party has taken over the leadership of the Bucharest Municipality. It is Marin Ștefănel Dan, from UNPR, ex- PP-DD, who is replacing Sorin Oprescu.

An important fact to note is that the new acting mayor may only be replaced in office by two thirds of all city councillors, meaning a majority hard to obtain in a City Council that is extremely fragmented from a political point of view.
Neither of the two deputy mayors wanted to become interim mayors. More than that, Cornel Pieptea (PNL) resigned office on Tuesday.

Cornel Pieptea, the Liberal Deputy Mayor of the Capital, has, nonetheless, said he didn’t want to take over as interim mayor, replacing Oprescu and that he had not joined the internal PNL competition for the selection of candidates in the 2016 local election.

‘I consider that the position of deputy mayor is a more technical position, specific for a specialist on administration and it was in this spirit that I have tried to fulfil my mandate. This is also why I have not tendered my candidacy in the internal PNL competition for the selection of the candidate for mayor of Bucharest. In this way I think I am stressing the public positions previously expressed, through which I noted that becoming mayor was not a personal goal’, Pieptea wrote on Facebook.

Pieptea says he cannot be an acting mayor for personal reasons. ‘Since the difficult situation of the Capital Municipality requires total attention from the interim mayor, his/her presence being needed 24/7, I have very carefully considered by options and I believe that, at this point, also having in view my family circumstances, I would be unable to successfully fulfil the duties of an interim mayor. I will discuss this with my PNL colleagues to find a solution so that the people of Bucharest have a determined and capable mayor to whom I will give my professional support. I am convinced that the City Council will choose the best person who will meet the current and urgent needs of the city’, he said.

Bucharest Mayor Sorin Oprescu suspended

Sorin Oprescu was suspended in office on Tuesday, in keeping with the Local Public Administration Law, after the Bucharest Court of Appeal had passed a final decision on Monday, according to which he would be maintained under arrest for 30 days in the bribery case.
The court hearing lasted approximately seven hours. In the end, Oprescu’s lawyer, Alexandru Chiciu, said the mayor had told the Court that he had never taken bribe and that he had been warned since a long time before that something was being prepared for him.
Under Section 77 of the aforementioned normative act, ‘the term of the mayor is suspended by law only if he/she has been preventively arrested. The measure of preventive arrest is communicated without delay by the prosecutor’s office or the court of law, as the case may be, to the prefect who passes an order ascertaining the suspension of the term’.
The same section notes that the suspension lasts until the mayor is released from preventive arrest.
The Mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, appeared before the Court of Appeal of Bucharest on Monday morning, where his appeal against the preventive arrest decision in the case where he had been charged with taking a bribe of 25,000 euro was heard.
Asked by a journalist ‘why he took bribe’, Oprescu shouted at him: ’I have never taken bribe!’ After that, the policemen escorted him into the building of the Bucharest Court of Appeal.
The Mayor of the Capital city was arrested on 6 September by order of the Bucharest Tribunal, upon DNA’s request, who charged him with taking bribe.
The preventive arrest decision has been challenged by Sorin Oprescu.
The decision made by the appeal magistrates on Monday is final.
After the passing of the decision, Tuesday night, the mayor’s lawyer, Alexandru Chiciu, disclosed the fact that, in the courtroom, his client had said he had never taken bribe and that he had been warned since a long time before that something was being prepared for him.
‘Sorin Oprescu adopted a very robust position within the trial. He referred to the fact that he had never demanded, either directly or indirectly, through middlemen, bribe from any person. Never has he known the origin of the sums. These are the defences of Mr. Oprescu ever since the first moment, before we, the lawyers, designed a defence strategy’, Chiciu said, according to Agerpres.
On Oprescu’s state of health, Chiciu says it was not invoked in court, but, however, he added that ‘his precarious condition and diabetes issues are notorious’.
The lawyer claims Oprescu has been previously let known that ‘something is being prepared for him. Since a long time ago he ahs been warned that something was being prepared for him. Never has he tried to step down his activity. Sorin Oprescu is an open person’.
Asked why he had not taken any precautions after receiving such warnings, the lawyer answered that ‘a person who has absolutely nothing to do with the illicit fact does not take precautions. He had nothing to hide’.
The DNA prosecutors accuse Sorin Oprescu of bribe-taking, claiming that, on 5 September, according to a prior agreement with the head of a public institution reporting to the mayor and another trusted person, he received from the former 25,000 euro out of a total of 60,000 euro the two had asked, on behalf of the mayor, of a total of four individuals who then made a denunciation.

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