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January 23, 2022

Changes within Romania’s biggest party: Gabriela Firea to replace Robert Negoita at helm of PSD Bucharest

Tuesday was an intense day for the Social Democratic Party (PSD), bringing with it important changes. Senator Gabriela Firea (photo) has replaced Robert Negoita at the helm of the party’s Bucharest branch, while Mihai Fifor has replaced Rovana Plumb at the helm of the party’s National Council.

Involved in a conflict with the members of the PSD District 5 branch, Robert Negoita resigned. Nevertheless, he will be the party’s Secretary General for the Bucharest-Ilfov region.

Senator Gabriela Firea replaced Negoita at the helm of the PSD Bucharest branch during PSD’s National Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday evening at the Palace of Parliament. The decision was adopted with unanimous votes.

“I announced that when a candidate with higher chances shows up (for the Bucharest City Hall – editor’s note) I will step down,” Negoita stated, referring to the fact that the person that leads PSD Bucharest is usually also the party’s candidate for the City Hall. In fact, Liviu Dragnea announced that Gabriela Firea is PSD’s main option for the Bucharest City Hall.

PSD President Liviu Dragnea pointed out that the final decision concerning the candidate for the City Hall will be taken after the final internal surveys are conducted, when the official candidate will be announced.

Firea is currently PSD Spokesperson, Vice President and President of PSD Ilfov.

Cristian Rizea, President of PSD’s District 5 branch, has been suspended.

The decision was taken after Lower Chamber lawmaker Cristian Rizea started a scandal within the party branch.

Rizea accused his colleague Robert Negoita, President of PSD Bucharest and Mayor of District 3, of launching “veiled threats toward certain colleagues by alleging that he has certain audio-video recordings.” Dragnea warned that both Rizea and Codrin Stefanescu (who had published an open letter about the members of the Ciolos Government) are “very good writers” but “they should understand that they are party members” and if they do not then they risk “remaining writers.”

On Tuesday, Dragnea was asked what he knows about the alleged existence of video recordings.

“What, with cartoons? There is no such thing. This piece of news, which is completely false, has no real grounds,” Dragnea answered.

Moreover, Rizea pointed out on Sunday evening that he had talked with PSD President Liviu Dragnea about the scandal within PSD Bucharest and the decision had been taken to cancel the protest meeting against “controversial” Robert Negoita. However, Rizea stated he was asking for arbitration from PSD’s Executive Committee.
At first, the PSD District 5 branch was planning to organize a protest on Monday, at 10 a.m., outside the District 3 Mayoralty. The protesters were planning to demand the resignation of Robert Negoita from the office of mayor and PSD Bucharest President.
PSD President Liviu Dragnea pointed out that the final decision on the party’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall will be taken after internal surveys are conducted, when the official candidate will be announced.

Mihai Fifor replaces Rovana Plumb at helm of PSD’s National Council

Senator Mihai Fifor was elected on Tuesday chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) National Council, by open, unanimous vote. The result came as a surprise, considering that the name of Lower Chamber lawmaker Constantin Nita, head of PSD Brasov, had been intensely rumoured in recent days.

PSD President Liviu Dragnea made the proposal over live microphone, and Fifor expressed his surprise when he came on stage in order to ask the approximately 400 members of the Council for their votes.

After the voting, PSD national leader Liviu Dragnea asked Fifor to come up with proposals on the organisation of the party’s departments by the next National Council meeting.

“I believe that the departments and the people who might staff them must bring added value,” Fifor said.
PSD leaders met on Tuesday within the party’s National Council, a series of changes to the Council’s leadership being adopted on this occasion.

Although the President of the National Council has a four-year term, PSD has organized new elections less than a year after Rovana Plumb was elected to that office. PSD President Liviu Dragnea took the decision to replace Lower Chamber lawmaker Plumb at the helm of the party’s National Council.

PSD leaders argued that they want to give a new spur to the National Council and a leader that has closer ties with local party branches is needed for that.

“The National Council President has to be a person just as organized as Rovana Plumb, a person that should have expertise, a person that has to build the departments that would become PSD’s public policy laboratories, it’s an extremely important office, someone who should also have the capacity to work,” PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Tuesday, ‘Adevarul’ daily informs.

In what concerns the decision taken, Dragnea said he talked with Rovana Plumb and she will not leave the party’s leadership team.

“I had a talk with Ms. Rovana Plumb, she no longer wants to run for this office. On the other hand, she will remain a member of the party’s leadership team.”

Likewise, Dragnea pointed out that he did not say Plumb will no longer run in the parliamentary elections, he said that she will no longer run for the National Council.

“Ms. Rovana Plumb will be included in the party’s leadership team in a very short time,” the PSD President added.
Shortly before the meeting, PSD MP Constantin Nita, former Energy Minister, announced that he could run for the office of PSD National Council President.

“For the time being this is a proposal and we will see whether my colleagues agree,” Nita stated cautiously. In fact, the press wrote that at PSD’s National Council meeting Dragnea would move against those who challenged him after Ponta resigned in the summer of 2015.

The National Council is PSD’s biggest leadership body after its Congress. It has some of the most important prerogatives, such as forming political or electoral alliances, setting the date and venue of the Congress meeting, setting the strategy of organizing presidential and parliamentary election campaigns. According to the new structure, PSD’s NC is made up of MPs, MEPs, County Council Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen, city and municipal mayors and 3 commune mayors from each county.

Before the meeting, Rovana Plumb stated for Mediafax that she would not run for a new term.

“The National Council meeting will take place tomorrow; it entails forming the National Council on a different structure, as adopted in the new Statute at the Congress meeting last October. In what concerns me, I was elected on the basis of a different statute structure last March and I find it natural for other colleagues to take over the leadership of this structure. I am no longer running for a new term,” Rovana Plumb stated for Mediafax.

Rovana Plumb was elected President of PSD’s National Council on 20 March 2015, with 807 votes in favour and 37 against. Shortly afterward, on 22 July 2015, PSD’s Executive Committee elected Dragnea interim president of PSD, with an ad interim tenure set to run until the party’s Congress in November. Dragnea defeated Plumb by 65 votes to 18.

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