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March 6, 2021

PNL left damaged after negotiations over county councils

Although PNL leaders were stating after the local elections that took place earlier this month that the party has registered its best result ever, after three weeks of negotiations PNL is holding the chairmanship of only 8 county councils, while the Social Democrat Party (PSD) is holding the chairmanship of 28 county councils.

The amending of the electoral law has decisively influenced the territorial distribution of political power this year, since county council chairmen are now elected by county councillors, not directly by voters as happened previously in 2008 and 2012.

In this context, backstage negotiations have blossomed, with every single vote weighing heavily. Thus, small parties such as PMP, UDMR and ALDE have been kingmakers within county councils.

Consequently, PSD, which won 42.29 percent of the votes cast at national level in the local elections, now controls over two thirds of the country’s 41 county councils, while PNL, which one 30.64 percent of the votes, has managed to form majorities within only 9 county councils (in 3 of them by itself and in the other 6 by forming alliances with UDMR, PMP and FDGR).

Apart from this, PSD also has the majority within the Bucharest General Council. Still, PSD could lose ground against the backdrop of the alliance or merger negotiations between UNPR and PNL.

In what concerns the leadership of county councils, PNL has secured only eight county council chairmanships in Ilfov, Calarasi, Suceava, Brasov, Cluj, Alba, Arad and Sibiu counties, since Satu Mare will be led by a UDMR-PNL majority with the chairman nominated by UDMR and the deputy chairmen by PNL.

Thus, the 32 percent score has dropped by 10 percentage points, since the 9 counties in which PNL holds the chairmanship of county councils mathematically represent only 22 percent of the total territory.

PNL has the majority in the county councils of Alba, Arad, Brasov, Cluj, Calarasi, Satu Mare, Sibiu, Suceava and Ilfov and has nominated eight county council chairmen, since the chairmanship of the Satu Mare County Council has been ceded to UDMR Senator Pataki Csaba.

Moreover, the Liberals could also lose one of the eight county council chairmanships, since Ilfov County Council Chairman Marian Petrache will be investigated by DNA prosecutors in an electoral fraud case.


Vasile Blaga, potentially future acting president of PNL Bucharest


After their defeat in the local elections, the Bucharest Liberals are trying to recover and to put at the helm someone who could steer the ship clear of any shoals, however the party’s leadership has so far been unable to identify a party member capable of taking over the PNL Bucharest branch and of uniting the party branch’s existing factions.

According to Stiripesurse.ro, PNL leaders want to table a stop-gap solution at the party’s future National Political Bureau meeting, and have set July 15 as the deadline for coming up with a new set of leaders for PNL Bucharest and for the party’s Bucharest district branches, following the en masse resignation of the previous party branch leaders, which took responsibility for the failure in local elections.

PNL Co-Presidents Alina Gorghiu and Vasile Blaga are currently analysing an alternative and, according to the sources, one of them will become acting PNL Bucharest president until after the parliamentary elections this autumn, in order to prepare and mobilise the Bucharest Liberals in view of the upcoming elections.

The option of a duo leadership for this party branch is unwanted, since it would give a poor signal and would be a public admission of the merger’s failure in Bucharest, Stiripesurse.ro writes.

At this moment, it seems Vasile Blaga has the highest chances, given his management skills and the fact that he previously led the Bucharest branch of the former PDL.

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