Catalin Predoiu is PNL’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall, after Marian Munteanu announced his withdrawal from the race, following a meeting that took place on Wednesday evening at the party headquarters.
“I am honoured to be able to inform you that after we took counsel together within PNL, benefitting from the wisdom and the tact of Honorary President Quintus, I’ve decided to run for the Bucharest City Hall”
Marian Munteanu was the third person the Liberals nominated as their candidate for the Bucharest City Hall. The first nominee was MEP Iulian Busoi. On February 22 however, he announced that he will withdraw from the race and that the Liberals have decided to nominate MP Ludovic Orban instead. On April 11, Ludovic Orban bowed out of the race after anticorruption prosecutors remanded him on conditional bail for active bribery.
The Liberals held an unannounced meeting on Tuesday evening, in which they discussed pulling Marian Munteanu out of the race for the Bucharest City Hall. This came after Marian Munteanu’s candidacy, as a member of PNL, was harshly criticised by NGOs, which consider his nomination “an offence to the democratic values of the society we live in,” as well as party members.
Marian Munteanu: I’ve acquiesced in withdrawing my candidacy’
“I’ve acquiesced in withdrawing my candidacy, I’ve accepted this and I’m sure PNL will find a solution in order to keep the Bucharest party branch team united and to offer Bucharesters a good, useful and winning project,” Marian Munteanu announced after PNL’s meeting on Wednesday evening.
“I would have liked to talk to you more about my programme, about the problems in Bucharest. (…) The circumstances were such that I had to answer a multitude of things, most of them lacking substance, but this is life. (…) I want to tell you that none of the things told incriminates me… I have the power to fight against these attacks if they continue,” PNL’s former candidate pointed out.
“My only objective was the wellbeing of Bucharesters and that is why I answered PNL’s invitation which honoured me. (…) When a party as important as this is in danger, my duty is to act so as not to contribute to the deepening of some dissensions. I’ve had talks with party leaders over the last two days in an attempt to find a formula to solve this problem. Unfortunately, it was difficult to identify a unity formula,” Munteanu explained.
Before PNL’s meeting on Wednesday evening, Munteanu stated that he is not considering pulling out of the race despite the accusations brought against him and the suspicions that he collaborated with the Securitate.
“Not many people resist under pressure. (…) So far you have to admit all things I was accused of turned out to be false,” Marian Munteanu said. He complained that he lost 10 days after he was nominated giving explanations about “petty things.” Serious accusations were brought against Munteanu, such as being close to the Iron Guard movement or involvement in arms trafficking. Asked whether he fears the CNSAS verdict following their verifications in his case, Marian Munteanu stated: “I’m not afraid, I do not fear [it], there are no things that could be imputed to me.”
Likewise, Munteanu said he wants to run for Bucharesters’ sake, not for his sake. “It’s a difficult situation and I came to help. I still want to help, I want a good solution, I did not come to run for my sake, I came to help Bucharesters,” he said, emphasising the importance of the support received from PNL.
Mircea Ionescu Quintus: “We lost a mayor and we won a friend”
PNL Honorary President Mircea Ionescu Quintus recognised that during his phone conversation with Marian Munteanu he suggested that he should bow out. “I told him: if you want to do something good for our party, the only solution, because we have no grounds on which to rescind your candidacy, is a gesture of high bearing, for you to take this gesture,” Ionescu Quintus stated.
“Munteanu has made a gesture that is rarely seen. We lost a mayor and we won a friend,” he added, pointing out that “we should have had backups, backup scenarios not backup candidates.”
Marian Munteanu, verified whether he collaborated with the former Securitate
On Tuesday, PNL asked the National Council for the Study of the Archives of the Securitate (CNSAS) to verify whether Marian Munteanu collaborated with the former Securitate. Thus, the Liberals want to verify whether Munteanu respects the lustration criterion, namely whether he collaborated with the former Securitate, a letter being sent to CNSAS in this sense.
With the request filed on Monday, the answer should have come on Tuesday but was postponed for Thursday.
Likewise, the Romanian Academic Society and Clean Romania have filed an official notification with CNSAS. “This demarche also comes against the backdrop in which Marian Munteanu refused to sign the integrity statement launched by Clean Romania for all local elections candidates, statement through which he would have undertaken several integrity criteria, including the fact that he was not a collaborator of the former Securitate,” Clean Romania underscores.
On Monday evening, Marian Munteanu stated he did not sign PNL’s integrity statement, after last week he had stated he did sign it along with the party membership application form. Moreover, he said that Clean Romania is not in the position to assess him.
PNL Honorary President: “We showed we are not finding a candidate”
PNL Honorary President Mircea Ionescu Quintus stated that it was a mistake for the Liberals not to select a candidate from within the party.
“My opinion is that an enormous mistake was made when we turned toward a person that was not a PNL member. It showed that the party is not capable of finding a candidate for the Bucharest City Hall,” Quintus stated on Tuesday evening on Realitatea TV.
PNL’s Honorary President pointed out that he talked with Marian Munteanu by phone on Monday evening, the conversation focusing on his candidacy for the Bucharest City Hall.
“Mr. Munteanu called me last evening, we talked for over a quarter of an hour and he consulted me about what he has to do in his candidacy. I gave him my honest opinion,” Mircea Ionescu Quintus said, without giving any other details.
Crin Antonescu: The withdrawal of this candidate too is verging on the catastrophic
Former PNL President Crin Antonescu, stated on Tuesday evening that a possible withdrawal of Marian Munteanu’s candidacy for the Bucharest City Hall would be “verging on the catastrophic” for the party’s image, bearing in mind he would be the third failed candidate.
“I hope that these rumours are malicious, spread by political opponents. I cannot imagine so much frivolity at the helm of PNL that even this third candidate, nominated by vote, through a political decision – good or bad, by the whole party, should now be replaced,” Crin Antonescu stated on Realitatea TV, adding that he has no information about Munteanu’s possible withdrawal from the race.
“Without giving Munteanu’s candidacy a blank check, I believe that the withdrawal of this candidate too is verging on catastrophic. It would seriously damage the image of a serious party, an image that PNL nevertheless has to maintain,” the Liberal added.
MP Theodor Paleologu to PNL: “No way out of hierarchical imbecility. Whatever you do, it’s still a catastrophe”
PNL MP Theodor Paleologu stated, referring to the party talks that focused on Marian Munteanu’s candidacy, that there is no way out of “hierarchical imbecility” because “whatever you do, it’s still a catastrophe,” and that he nevertheless awaits with interest the Liberal leaderships’ decision. Paleologu made the statements on Facebook.
The politician was the first to criticise very harshly the PNL leadership for the decision to nominate Marian Munteanu as the party’s candidate in Bucharest. Back then, he stated that the party’s current leaders are showing complete lack of vision and even “hierarchical imbecility.”
PSD President Liviu Dragnea: “Don’t take haste in criticising the new nomination because we don’t know how long it will last”
PSD President Liviu Dragnea derisively stated that he has asked his PSD colleagues not to criticise PNL’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall because it is not known how long he will hold that position, referring to PNL’s possible decision to rescind Marian Munteanu’s candidacy too.
“I’ve told them: don’t take haste in criticising the new nomination, because we don’t know how long it will last,” Dragnea said on Wednesday.
“The fact that the candidates keep changing shows lack of vision and credibility when it comes to the chance of being able to do something for Bucharest,” the PSD President stated, referring to the PNL rivals.
Some candidates distance themselves from PNL
Some Liberal candidates have announced they will distance their campaigns from Marian Munteanu’s candidacy for the Bucharest City Hall. Thus, Bucharest interim mayor Razvan Sava, Ovidiu Raetchi and Razvan Mironescu prefer to file their candidacies separately and not alongside all of their colleagues as initially expected. PNL sources state that almost all candidates for district mayoralties in Bucharest are frightened by the negative effect of Marian Munteanu’s candidacy.