POLITICS

Battle for Bucharest City Hall: Candidates, electoral strategies, polls and rumours

The rumour mill recently (even before Ludovic Orban’s indictment on Monday that took everybody by surprise) came up with a new hypothesis in what concerns the Bucharest City Hall candidates. The almost unbelievable rumour claims PNL will pull Ludovic Orban out of the race and will back Nicusor Dan’s candidacy instead.

“PNL and Nicusor Dan’s Save Bucharest Union (USB) are the best ranked in opinion polls in what concerns the voting intention in the local elections this summer, so a possible joint candidate could easily become Bucharest’s Mayor,” psnews.ro writes.

Nevertheless, it is obvious that pulling Ludovic Orban out of the race would be a risky move for the Liberals, who would disappoint their voters who would consider it inadmissible for a large, traditional party that positions itself as a veritable political force not to have its own candidate for the most important city hall in the country.

Secondly, if PNL supports the candidate of another party or an independent candidate, it will only prove that it was unable to find any party member with real chances in this political battle. Especially since pulling Ludovic Orban out of the race would be the second time the Liberals change their mind when it comes to their candidate for Bucharest (even though Cristian Busoi had not been officially declared PNL’s candidate, his bid was presented as a done deal, including by the party’s leaders, but Ludovic Orban replaced him at the last moment).

Moreover, analysts consider that backing a non-party member candidate would result in PNL losing not only the Bucharest City Hall but also Bucharest’s district mayoralties. The battle for Bucharest can be seen as a team effort in which the candidate for the City Hall plays the role of campaign leader, and it is obvious that without a leader one cannot expect to win, so pulling Ludovic Orban out of the race would sentence PNL’s district candidates to defeat.

 

Nicusor Dan denies rumour

 

“I notice there is a rumour according to which I could become PNL’s candidate. I repeat: I am running for the office of Bucharest Mayor as President of the Save Bucharest Union. I don’t believe in old parties: not in PNL, not in Traian Basescu, least of all in PSD. On the other hand, I do believe, with all my power, in you, the voters. All these rumours only show that PNL is confused and lacks solutions. We all deserve a better city than the one managed by PNL or PSD! Together with you, I will save Bucharest!” Nicusor Dan wrote on Facebook.

 

PSD’s Gabriela Firea about Nicusor Dan: I would like such a deputy mayor

 

Present at a talk show anchored by Radu Tudor on Sunday evening on Antena 3, Gabriela Firea, PSD’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall, was asked to comment the possibility that she might run against PNL candidate Nicusor Dan in the June 5 elections.

“I am telling you honestly that lately I’ve been more preoccupied with what Bucharesters want from the Mayor and I spent less time thinking about certain political strategies. However, if you provoke me… I don’t know what PNL will decide, but I don’t see how or through what methods it will get rid of its own candidate in order to back Nicusor Dan, bearing in mind that the June 5 elections are not just about the Bucharest City Hall but also about the mayoralties of the 6 districts. So would PNL also give up on its 6 candidates in the districts and back USB’s candidates, or would Mr. Nicusor Dan give up on his candidates in the 6 districts? This is an imponderable and PNL will probably give certain explanations in the following period in case what is rumoured now turns out to be true. In what concerns Mr. Nicusor Dan, I said he is a man that I respect for the activity he carried out in the last 10 years as backer of a foundation that was busy signalling certain abuses or errors in Bucharest. He is at the start of his political career, he enters the panoply of Romanian parties and, based on the latest polls, he has all chances to enter the General Council, because he is credited with sufficient percentages to surpass the electoral threshold. I said it some time ago, I would like to have such a deputy mayor,” Gabriela Vranceanu stated on Antena 3.

 

Avangarde survey: PSD would win elections in Bucharest

 

An Avangarde survey conducted in early April shows that the trend in Bucharest remains in PSD’s favour. The party tops voter preferences with 36 percent, followed by PNL (26 percent), ALDE (10 percent), PMP (9 percent) and USB (8 percent).

According to the Avangarde survey, Victor Ponta climbed significantly in the polls in the last two months, by over 6 percentage points, being just three percentage points behind the President. Klaus Iohannis is still on a downward trend but one not as steep as it was at the start of this year. According to Avangarde, Klaus Iohannis has an approval rating of 47 percent, down by 3 percentage points compared to the previous Avangarde survey.

PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu is on a downward trend too, falling below 20 percent. On the other hand, Traian Basescu registered significant growth, approaching the 30 percent mark.

The survey was conducted by Avangarde in early April.

 

ALDE and PSD pressuring Tariceanu to run?

 

Although Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu does not really want to run for Bucharest Mayor, stiripesurse.ro writes that there is significant pressure within his party (ALDE) for him to take this step. The Senate Speaker is well known and has a very high score in Bucharest, but most of all he would empower the other candidates too. By doing well in Bucharest, Tariceanu could boost the party’s rating, since ALDE “analysts” fear they will not be able to score 5 percent in these elections.

According to stiripesurse.ro, there is also pressure from PSD, the latter really wanting Tariceanu to run in Bucharest. Tariceanu would take a big chunk out of PNL’s score and since we are talking, for the time being, about one-round elections, PSD believes it can make Gabriela Firea mayor by relying solely on the Social Democrats’ traditional pool of voters.

If former President Traian Basescu were to enter the race for the Bucharest City Hall, Tariceanu’s candidacy is seen by ALDE and PSD as a counter-weight to the new development. The electoral “shock” represented by Basescu entering the race could be eased by Tariceanu, since PSD’s fear is that the former president could surpass 25 percent.

According to ALDE/PSD calculations, Calin Popescu Tariceanu could destabilize the right wing. Current calculations show that Orban, Basescu and Nicusor Dar will be roughly within the same margin, a little over 20 percent, but if Tariceanu enters the race he would take big chunks out of their scores.

However, Tariceanu postpones the announcement regarding ALDE candidate for Bucharest  City Hall: “I talked to Daniel Constantin . I have not taken this decision yet. When I will take it , I will announce ,” said Calin Popescu Tariceanu on Monday when asked about his possible candidacy for the City Hall .

 

 

 

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