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December 7, 2021

Power games at Bucharest Municipality

The suspension of Bucharest Mayor Sorin Oprescu, after the Court of Appeal of Bucharest had declined on Monday his appeal against the preventive arrest ordered by the Bucharest Tribunal on 6 September, has triggered a wave of uncommon changes in the hierarchy of the institution. City Councillor Cornel Pieptea (PNL) resigned as Deputy Mayor of Bucharest before the interim mayor was elected from among the deputy mayors and, after Stefanel Dan Marin (photo) was elected in his place, as deputy mayor and then interim mayor of the city, Pieptea was elected back as deputy mayor, filling the position vacated by Marin. Pieptea’s explanation was that when an interim mayor was no longer needed, Marin would go back to his deputy mayor post to which he was elected on Tuesday and he would become a regular councillor on the Bucharest City Council.
Councillor Stefanel Dan Marin (UNPR) became deputy mayor for a very short time, because he was elected as interim Mayor of the Capital by the City Council of Bucharest, obtaining 34 votes in favour, 5 against and two cancelled votes.
He ran for the position of deputy mayor against the independent councillor Iulia Zorkoczy. The other deputy mayor of Bucharest, Dan Darabont (PSD), said his party had no proposal for the position of interim mayor.
‘We are in minority and we want to support the majority. We want to carry out this term, I was expecting PNL would take the responsibility to appoint someone from their party. I know Stefanel and I have a good opinion about him. We will vote for him and support him to prevent any possible malfunctions until the end of the year. But I am left with a sour taste’, Darabont said.
The representative of independent councillors, Cristinel Deaconescu, said he would not vote for Stefanel Marin as interim mayor because the vote was not legal.
During the debates prior to the vote, the PNL representatives on the City Council said they had initiated a programme called ‘Agreement for the people of Bucharest’ including short term priorities for the administration of the city. Among other things, the agreement includes an urgent audit at the Municipality and institutions subordinated to the City Council in order to see the exact situation, a transparent administrative act, dealing with the issues of public services in the Capital, continuing investments of major interest for Bucharest, stopping the waste of public money and the backlog of the Government in respect of Bucharest, such as the investment in the new subway lines and the Bucharest orbital , according to Mediafax.
The PMP city councillors said they would not back to PNL’s programme because, although Bucharest needed everything in the agreement, they could not help asking why all those things had not been done in the previous three years. In the context, the PMP representatives said they could not be a part of ‘such demagogy’ and that they would not attend the vote on the new deputy mayor and would not even collect the voting ballots.
Another councillor said what PNL had announced seemed absurd to him and that, as far as he was concerned, Pieptea was a technician who ought to assume the post as interim mayor and implement the measures in the agreement proposed by the Liberals.
But Pieptea refused to run, explaining on Facebook that becoming mayor was not his personal objective and, since the difficult circumstances of the Municipality would require full attention from the interim mayor, as well as a presence around the clock, he would not be able to successfully fulfil such duties.

Stefanel Marin: Main problems of Municipality are RADET and RATB

The Bucharest interim Mayor Stefanel Marin said on Tuesday that there was a void in the financial situation of the Municipality and one of the first measures he would take was an external audit.
The in-coming mayor said the financial issues of Bucharest were very little known.
‘Think about the fact that very few of the city councillors have had access to just some of the financial information. Currently there is a void in what regards the financial situation of the Municipality. This is exactly why one of the first measures that I will take will be an external audit’, Marin said.
The UNPR councillor also said he was happy that the political decision-makers had made a decision on appointing an acting mayor for Bucharest and noted that the agreement between the two large groups – PNL and PSD – came as a result of the fact that neither wished to take responsibility for ‘governing’ the city in the next period and, under such conditions, not to block the operation of the municipality, they decided that someone from UNPR should manage the city with the support of everybody.
Asked about his plans for Bucharest, the newly voted mayor said it didn’t seem moral for him to disclose plans for the citizens as long as he did not have their vote. He didn’t have clear position on a possible candidacy for mayor of Bucharest in the election, saying that he was first concerned about fulfilling the mandate he got from his colleagues and that a possible candidacy was not considered at that point.
On the problems of the municipality, he said some of the biggest ones were the two autonomous regies (RADET and RATB – editor’s note), because they had been ‘simply forgotten about’.

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