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October 26, 2021

PNL leadership, on the ropes after failure in local elections

PNL candidate Catalin Predoiu, abandoned by Liberals. Gorghiu and Blaga shirk responsibility for losing Bucharest


National Liberal Party (PNL) Co-Presidents Alina Gorghiu and Vasile Blaga did not take responsibility for the defeat that PNL candidate Catalin Predoiu suffered in the race for the Bucharest City Hall, Predoiu being the only one who announced on Sunday evening that he will step down from the helm of the PNL Bucharest party branch.

Predoiu was alone at the press conference, and announced that PNL leaders Alina Gorghiu and Vasile Blaga will present PNL’s nationwide results on Monday.

Visibly affected by the score obtained in the race for Bucharest, Catalin Predoiu announced he will resign from the office of PNL Bucharest President and asked PNL’s representatives within voting centres to do their duty until the end, stating that every vote matters for the party.

Predoiu admitted that the result proved that “a right-wing coalition would have meant the Mayor of Bucharest would have been Nicusor Dan, not Gabriela Firea,” against the backdrop in which he had refused to bow out of the race in favour of Nicusor Dan and had claimed he scored 25 percent in opinion polls but went on to obtain only half of that figure at the ballot box, according to exit-polls.

PNL Lower Chamber MPs Ionut Stroe and Cezar Preda were the only ones present at Catalin Predoiu’s press conference.

PNL leaders kept a low profile throughout the day Sunday. The only ones that made statements for the press were PNL Bucharest Spokesperson Cezar Preda and PNL Vice President Mihai Voicu.


Blaga and Gorghiu’s resignation, insistently demanded


The National Liberal Party’s defeat in the local elections in Bucharest and the party leadership’s strategy of shirking responsibility for the failure – leaving party candidate Catalin Predoiu alone at the press conference in which he conceded defeat after the exit-polls were announced – is harshly criticised by an ever growing number of voices who are insistently asking for the resignation of Co-Presidents Alina Gorghiu and Vasile Blaga.

Lower Chamber MP Theodor Paleologu, one of the Liberal voices most critical of the two Co-Presidents, stated on Sunday evening that PNL’s “lamentable” leadership should leave following the disaster in Bucharest, labelling the statements that PNL’s Cezar Preda and Alina Gorghiu had made about Nicusor Dan as “brazen imbecilities.”

“The PNL leadership is the main culprit for the disaster of having Gabriela Firea elected as Bucharest Mayor. I expect from right-wing voters a tsunami of revolt and anger against this lamentable leadership. Gorghiu and Cezar Preda even had the impudence of saying that Nicusor Dan is PSD’s accomplice and lure. Cezar Preda and Gorghiu’s statements that Nicusor Dan is allegedly PSD’s lure and accomplice now appear as they are: brazen imbecilities,” Paleologu wrote on Facebook after the results of the exit-polls were announced.

“If PNL still wants to have a chance at making a difference, the party’s leadership has to go. All of it. And none of the authors of this shameful – and deserved – defeat should be on the party slate in Bucharest in the autumn. Their presence on the slate would be yet another insult to Bucharesters,” he added.

Catalin Predoiu announced on Sunday evening that if exit-poll results are confirmed, and he finishes third in the race for the Bucharest City Hall, he will resign from the office of PNL Bucharest President.


Busoi, possible option for PNL Bucharest leadership


The Liberals are discussing the possibility of appointing MEP Cristian Busoi at the helm of PSD Bucharest, after Catalin Predoiu announced his resignation following the failure in the race for the Bucharest City Hall, PNL sources stated for Mediafax.

PNL sources claim that PNL MEP Cristian Busoi would allegedly accept taking over the leadership of PNL Bucharest. The Liberals will discuss this option in the following days.


Sebastian Bodu: An embarrassing result


Former PNL leader Sebastian Bodu thrashed the Liberals after finding out the results of the elections. In an angry outburst on Facebook, the former head of ANAF [Romania’s Tax Authority] demolished the Liberals and the party’s leaders in particular.

“PNL’s embarrassing result in these local elections shows the failure of the current “managerial team” – in fact two political nobodies whose personal electoral scores are not only below the party’s, but are rapidly approaching the surveys’ margins of error – plus that of the members of the party’s central leadership who applauded their “political genius.” Of course, one can say a survey is only a more or less subjective assessment, the elections being the only objective instrument of measurement, however the PNL Co-Presidents categorically avoided any uninominal electoral confrontation, precisely because their chances of success were zero from the start, so their personal failure would have placed them in the formally-adopted position of losers. But in this way, hiding behind the party, they will try, out of desperation of keeping their offices, to pin the political responsibility for losing the elections (for the city halls led by political opponents or vacant city halls) exclusively on the candidates they nominated or even on… the contenders. In this latter case by arguing that the contenders refused to bow out in favour of the Liberal candidate, a bluff similar to the one seen at the Bucharest City Hall, as if a candidate’s role is not to satisfy his own electorate but to cause dissatisfaction among his opponent’s electorate.”

“Unfortunately this disastrous result was predictable, the lack of human resources and the organisational chaos being seasoned with the lack of ideas, strategies, messages, charisma. PNL thought that the excellent score obtained by their presidential elections candidate in 2014 was due to them to a significant extent or, at least, that the approval rating of the President sworn in in December 2014 would be reflected in PNL’s score in 2016, that being the reason why its MPs drafted, side by side with PSD, in 2015, that miserable law that stipulated that mayors will be elected in a single round. Unfortunately for the Liberals, although Klaus Iohannis won like Prince Charming – growing in one day as much as others grow in one year – the latter is but a make-belief character. In fact, even the former seems to be just as make-belief, since it is debatable whether he really exists or the claim that someone actually holds the office of Romanian President is just a myth. And make-belief characters have make-belief electoral scores, because votes are volatile and politics is based on votes.”

“Unfortunately, PNL’s political score is even worse when we tally the mayoral offices in general and the offices of county seat mayors in particular. Without sufficient mayors there will be no one to pull the political wagon in the parliamentary elections, so that PNL not only becomes condemned to bitter opposition, but the risk of dissolution hangs over its head, especially since newly established or soon to be established parties are already biting or will bite large chunks from the electorate the party believed to be its traditional pool of voters.”

“PNL needs a reset, but after it clearly defines its identity, mission and vision, as well as its place on the political scene and its target electorate. For that, PNL first of all needs a new leadership, and the Gorghiu-Blaga tragic-comical duo should not only take a step back, but should leave for good, should disappear from the political landscape forever, should hide in a hole. Of course, the question is who will replace them,” Bodu wrote on Facebook.


Basescu: Given what mistakes they’ve done, not even the Holy Virgin will help them


After the shameful score registered in the local elections, ex-President Traian Basescu also harshly criticised PNL and said that the party lacks leaders and will not stop from its freefall. The ex-President thrashed the Liberals and told them what the big mistake that cost them the local elections was.

“For Bucharest these results are not a surprise. PDL scored higher in 2012 than PNL has scored now. They made a big mistake in their negotiations with Nicusor Dan. That continuous fighting in the last part of the campaign pushed the voters toward PSD. PNL did not score badly at national level, the question is whether they will stop from their freefall. PNL is paying for the lack of leaders. It scores more in the polls than its leaders. PSD is lucky with Ponta who tops all surveys. Dragnea scores below Ponta. Gorghiu and Blaga are mediocre. Good at internal party plots, chancellery plots. They are two demagogues. They are like a stain on a wall. Predoiu is a pseudo-leader, just as Gorghiu and Blaga. Gorghiu and Blaga wouldn’t have scored more than Predoiu,” Basescu stated on RTV.

“Given what mistakes they’ve done, not even the Holy Virgin will help them. If they wanted to win the right wing. I’m not forming alliances with losers, namely with PNL. I want 35 percent in 2020. PNL is anything but a right-wing party. I don’t want to tear from it. I don’t know whether Liberals will join us. PNL members are not my target. My target is the right-wing electorate. This is PMP’s target,” Basescu stated on RTV.


Ponta, sarcastically: Alina, please don’t go, we want to win parliamentary elections too


Ex-Premier Victor Ponta launched a harsh attack against the Liberals too, after the results of the exit-polls were announced. “After two years, tonight is the time to be generous – Alina, please DON’T RESIGN!!! Stay at the helm of PNL because you truly represent those who are still there now! And don’t go – we want to win the parliamentary elections too! Please Alina, keep Predoiu “to be elected”!!! He was President, he was Prime Minister, now he was Bucharest Mayor – the elections for the office of UN Secretary General are up next! What sinister embarrassments!!!” Ponta wrote on Facebook.


Elena Udrea: PNL’s score shows Iohannis’s collapse


Lower Chamber MP Elena Udrea was not surprised by PSD’s results in the June 5 local elections, but considers that PNL’s catastrophic score in Bucharest in fact shows President Klaus Iohannis’s “collapse.”

“For me, PSD’s score in the elections is not a surprise. I expected PSD to win. The very high score it registered in Bucharest was indeed a surprise for me. I was among those who presumed PSD would win these elections.”

“Another surprise, PNL’s failure. In my opinion, such a low score for PNL in Bucharest, for both the party and candidates, shows Iohannis’s collapse. Iohannis had a very good score in Bucharest, a very good score among the informed electorate who spends a lot of time on the Internet, the electorate that took to the streets and changed the Ponta Government, an electorate that today did not go to the polls or, if it did, did not vote for PNL and definitely stopped backing Iohannis. Overall, the fact that PSD won the elections was predictable for me, just as predictable as the success of the candidates that had and have criminal files,” Elena Udrea stated on Sunday night on Romania TV.


PNL leaders to analyse local elections results at BPN meeting on Wednesday


PNL leaders will analyse the results of the local elections at the Standing National Bureau (BPN) meeting on Wednesday.

PNL Co-President Vasile Blaga stated on Monday that the Liberals will discuss on Wednesday the measures needed, stating that he is disappointed with the result registered in Bucharest but not with those that PNL registered nationwide.

Vasile Blaga stated that PNL has already convened the National Standing Bureau for Wednesday, at 3 p.m., in order for it to discuss the measures needed following the local elections result.

The PNL Co-President stated that the party was finalising a parallel vote count, with only 10 percent of the voting centres left at the time of his announcement.

“I believe they are now finalising the parallel vote count, we still have around 10 percent of the voting centres. (…) We have won over 1,000 city halls,” Vasile Blaga stated at the PNL headquarters.

Asked whether he is disappointed with the result of the election, Blaga stated that he is disappointed with the result in Bucharest, where PNL suffered a painful defeat, finishing third, behind PSD and USB, but not with the results obtained elsewhere.


Tusa: It’s time to set things clear, those who erred should take a step back


On Monday, PNL Lower Chamber MP Diana Tusa posted a harsh message toward the party’s leadership and the way it managed the local elections campaign, pointing out that the fault lies entirely with the party, for not offering a real alternative to PSD. Tusa says that it is time to set things clear, those who erred should take a step back and those with problems should stay home because if they sweep the mess under the rug this time around too then they will be responsible for the disaster next autumn.

“Bucharesters spoke and they spoke clearly! We, PNL, are to blame, not others! We said one thing and we did another! We came up first with the integrity criteria and ended up parading with “penal” persons; we backed the gender quotas and were the first to give up on them; we established rules for the nomination of candidates but took the decisions based on the interests and lobbying of some. WE were not consistent! The hypocrisy was ours, voters however elected what was offered to them, and PNL did not offer the real alternative to PSD. But if we blame others and sweep the mess under the rug this time around too, we will be responsible for the disaster next autumn!”

“We still have a chance however, the last one in my opinion. It’s time to set things clear, those who erred should take a step back, those with problems should stay home, but – most importantly! – the public discourse should be the same in private party talks too. New people, a different strategy, that of truth and citizen’s interest. This is what PNL and its electorate need,” Diana Tusa wrote on Facebook.


C.T. Popescu: PNL, a lame party


The National Liberal Party has ended up being “a lame party,” journalist Cristian Tudor Popescu stated on Digi24, commenting on the results of the elections for the Bucharest City Hall.

“This red Bucharest is the people’s answer to what happened after they drove Victor Ponta and PSD out of the Presidential palace and then the Government Palace. After the people did that, some things happened and now the answer has to do with President Klaus Iohannis’s performance after he took office and with the performance of the Ciolos Government. And, last but not least, it has to do with the performance of the National Liberal Party,” Cristian Tudor Popescu stated.

“What can be worse than a penal party? A lame party. It’s worse. If you’re penal at least you inspire fear. If you’re not loved, you have to inspire fear. If you end up being lame, it’s all over. Mr. Predoiu is the last person that should resign over this story. Mr. Predoiu was simply tossed at the last moment. What should he have done? He wasn’t good at this anyway, he lacks charisma, he lacks the capacity to relate to viewers,” the journalist added.




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