Parties postpone announcing candidates for the Mayoralty of Bucharest

As it happens in any round of local elections, the race for the Mayoralty of Bucharest is the most important. The position of General Mayor of the Capital has a special meaning, as the Mayor of Bucharest is elected by the highest number of voters after Romania’s President and has to manage an annual budget of EUR 1 billion.

Until September, Sorin Oprescu, the present dismissed Mayor of Bucharest, was the best rated candidate to lead this institution for the years to come as well. Opinion polls showed him as the favourite. Yet, he was arrested for corruption offences and dismissed from his position.

Afterwards, PNL was the first party to announce their candidate, MEP Cristian Busoi. Yet, Busoi’s first action in the campaign stirred a major controversy after he used photos taken in Colectiv Club and at the earthquake in March 1977, as he was accused of trying to use national tragedies for electoral interest. Afterwards, the Liberal apologized on Facebook, Romania Libera reported.

The party with the highest number of members, PSD, has not announced an official decision either, yet, one of the solutions might be Gabriela Vranceanu Firea – who enjoys popularity and is well rated in opinion polls. She was described by Liviu Dragnea himself as a “very good option”, Romania Libera reported. Other names circulated inside PSD are Senator Ecaterina Andronescu or the Mayor of District 3 Robert Negoita.

The version of former Prime Minister Victor Ponta running for Mayor was denied by PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea, who admitted having discussed the possibility of a candidacy with Victor Ponta, yet Ponta refused because he wanted to run for the parliamentary elections.

Another name rumoured for the Mayoralty of Bucharest is that of the Popular Movement (MP) leader, ex-President Traian Basescu, who neither confirmed nor denied officially this possibility. The National Council of MP approved 210 candidates on Saturday for local elections, but the topic of the candidate for the Mayoralty of Bucharest was left unanswered. In a recently conducted opinion poll, Basescu would be supported by 18% of Bucharesters.

Good results in opinion polls were registered by Senate President Calin Popescu Tariceanu, too (ALDE). He did not deny the possibility of running for Mayor of Bucharest either.
The race for the position of leader over Bucharest was officially joined so far by Nicusor Dan, the surprise of the 2012 elections, Adrian Thiess, former adviser of President Ion Iliescu and the man who managed Sorin Oprescu’s campaigns and Daniel Fenechiu, chairman of PND.

Gorghiu: It remains to be seen to what extent Busoi will remain PNL’s final nomination for the Bucharest City Hall

At this moment, Cristian Busoi is PNL Bucharest’s nomination for the Bucharest City Hall, however “it remains to be seen” whether he will remain the party’s official nomination, PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu stated on Monday evening.

“At this moment, Mr. Busoi is the Bucharest party branch’s nomination, a final candidacy can be decided exclusively through validation within the National Political Bureau. (…) He is an active colleague and works a lot, it remains to be seen to what extent he will remain the National Liberal Party’s final nomination,” Gorghiu stated on Monday evening on Digi24.

The PNL Co-President also stated she has “no reservation” in backing Busoi, however “it remains to be seen” whether the PNL Bucharest branch will uphold this nomination or will come up with a different one.

Asked whether Cristian Busoi’s current activity as a candidate will be detrimental to the party in case the NPB decides on making another nomination, Gorghiu pointed out that the projects he backs are endorsed by PNL.

“This whole period and this entire activity can only be beneficial for a political party,” the PNL Co-President said.

Referring to PNL’s electoral strategy in Bucharest, she pointed out it would be made public later this week by PNL Bucharest President Catalin Predoiu.

PNL Secretary General Ilie Bolojan stated on Sunday evening that Busoi’s nomination is not certain. “Concerning Mr. Busoi, he was designated candidate for the City Hall by the PNL Bucharest branch following a vote within its leadership bodies, he is backed by this vote. But he has not been validated, so he is not a final candidate and, as clear as it can be, unless he builds the profile of a candidate of this type, he will not be backed by PNL, because we have no way of staking on a variant that would not fit in with what I was telling you, namely with being a person that has a real chance of winning from the get go,” Bolojan stated.

Paleologu: In Bucharest we are tackling local elections in a completely frivolous and even suicidal manner

PNL is tackling local elections in a completely frivolous and even suicidal manner by endorsing Cristian Busoi for the City Hall, and the Liberals should do penance for backing Sorin Oprescu in the previous elections, Liberal Lower Chamber lawmaker Theodor Paleologu stated.

“It seems to me in Bucharest we are tackling the local elections in a completely frivolous and even suicidal manner. It’s not just about the candidates. Firstly, PNL should do penance for backing Oprescu. Wasn’t he the former PNL’s candidate? So half of PNL should do penance for backing Sorin Oprescu. Likewise, the interim mayors appointed after Sorin Oprescu’s suspension are lamentable, it’s mockery toward Bucharesters,” Paleologu stated on Monday for RFI.

The lawmaker believes PNL should conduct “self-criticism” for the General Council list of 2012, considering that former Mayor Sorin Oprescu acted with the “complicity” of the Council and “we will witness the perpetuation of the same practices that are simply contemptible toward Bucharest’s citizens.”

“Candidates do not understand on the basis of what criteria they were nominated and I have the impression the survey that was conducted took into account only the amateurs, only those that had announced their intention of running. A serious survey for this sort of thing – we are nevertheless talking about the Bucharest City Hall – should also include persons that did not express this desire, based on legitimate reasons. Namely we cannot have a candidate just because the others are worse,” Paleologu said.

In what concerns the parliamentary elections, Paleologu believes “all kinds of frozen vegetables from the recent history of our political parties” will show up on the lists because the lists are compiled by the parties’ central leadership bodies.

“We will have to choose from among various frozen vegetables, which completely lack credibility and are worn-out in the eyes of the voters, but who are the wooers of party bosses. Those are the ones we will see on top positions in the elections. This is certainly what will happen in Bucharest,” the lawmaker added. Paleologu believes the Popular Movement will enter Parliament thanks to the notoriety of former President Traian Basescu, but M10, the party led by MEP Monica Macovei, will fail to do so.

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