Ludovic Orban replaces Busoi in race for Bucharest City Hall

Ludovic Orban is the National Liberal Party’s (PNL) new candidate for the Bucharest City Hall, Catalin Predoiu, interim president of the party’s Bucharest branch, announced on Monday.

“We have decided to carry on the battle for the Bucharest Municipality as a team. (…) PNL will continue this battle with Ludovic Orban as its candidate,” Predoiu declared.

The party’s central leadership has not officially endorsed the decision yet.

“I am honoured by my colleagues’ decision. I am ready to take the next steps for my nomination, more precisely the vote within the leadership of PNL Bucharest and the endorsement of the BPN. As you well know, I signed up for the Bucharest City Hall race within PNL. I congratulate Cristian Busoi for the beautiful, professional and committed campaign he carried out, which brought him to a level of familiarity and confidence for which I am sure many young political leaders are envious. I consider him to be part of the PNL elite and if he was PNL’s candidate I would have supported him with all my strength and skill. It was decided that I should be the candidate. Behind my candidacy lies a lifetime of work in the service of the community. I have spent the last 25 years in the service of citizens. In Bucharest, there are things to whose achievement I contributed. I am not running to keep myself busy, but because Bucharest needs a skilled person, a person with a vision, in order for Bucharesters to live in a capital worthy of the EU. I am determined to use my entire strength and skill to attain PNL’s fundamental goal: winning the City Hall and the District Mayoralties,” Orban stated.

Asked whether he will have Klaus Iohannis’ support, as happened in Busoi’s case, Orban answered: “I backed Klaus Iohannis’ bid to become Romania’s President. I don’t believe this is a stance I could predict. If Mr. Klaus Iohannis takes a decision I’m sure he will communicate it. But I believe what the people of the Capital think is the most important thing. “

Cristian Busoi, PNL’s former unofficial candidate, was present at the press conference alongside Predoiu and Orban. He voiced his support for the new candidate, in the interest of the team, and acknowledged that his successor stands better chances to defeat the Liberals’ main rivals in the mayoral race – the Social Democrat Party.

At first, PNL had proposed MEP Cristian Busoi as its candidate in the race for the City Hall, however Ludovic Orban’s experience was considered a trump card by most respondents in a survey ordered by the party.

Orban’s candidacy will have to be validated by the Liberals’ Standing National Bureau (BPN).

PSD’s Firea: “neither surprised nor impressed” with PNL’s announcement

Orban’s main contender for the Bucharest City Hall could be Gabriela Firea, interim president of PSD’s Bucharest branch and
PSD’s main option, as announced by PSD President Liviu Dragnea early this month.

Gabriela Firea stated on Monday that she is “neither surprised nor impressed” with PNL’s announcement. “The PSD Bucharest branch I am leading as interim president is neither surprised nor impressed with the announcement made by PNL-PD about replacing Mr. Busoi with Mr. Ludovic Orban as candidate for the office of Bucharest Mayor. It is the Liberals’ right and problem to choose their best candidate, we can only take note,” reads a PSD communiqué quoted by Mediafax.

Gabriela Firea claims that irrespective of whether she will run for the City Hall or not, PSD Bucharest will engage in “a positive, civilized campaign centred on its own offer, not on attacking the opponents.”

“However, we noticed the statement made by the PNL Bucharest President, whose goal, endorsed by PNL-PD as a whole, is to win the Bucharest City Hall. We don’t know whether they are talking about de facto occupying the building or about gaining access to the biggest local budget in Romania, but it’s clear the Liberals’ priority is not, unfortunately, improving people’s quality of life. PNL-PD has changed its candidate but has remained tributary to the same style of engaging in a negative campaign and of centring its discourse on the “disaster” left behind by Sorin Oprescu, a mayor that was theirs to an equal extent too. Not to mention the “results” registered by Andrei Chiliman and Rares Manescu, the two Liberal district mayors.”

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