Stefanescu rejects Gabriela Firea’s theory that Tudose seeks PSD’s helm: There is no kind of split in the party
A state of maximum tension between two leaders of the Social Democratic Party (PSD): Premier Mihai Tudose and Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea. The jabs delivered via the PSD communicators’ Whatsapp group erupted publicly on Saturday. The tensions and contradictory discussions appeared after the Bucharest mayor’s decision – in the meantime revoked – to organise a Christmas Fair in front of the Government building, the place where protesters usually gather to shout slogans against the ruling power.
According to transcripts leaked to the press, Gabriela Firea and Liviu Plesoianu attacked Premier Mihai Tudose in a discussion between the party’s communicators, on the evening of November 30, occasioned by the Premier’s public statements against the Christmas Fair in Victory Square. The Prime Minister was accused, with arguments, of having a personal agenda, of sabotaging the Bucharest City Hall and of seeking to take over PSD.
Mihai Tudose had stated on Thursday that organising a Christmas Fair in Victory Square would not be “the most inspired decision,” adding that Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea will also understand that.
Gabriela Firea reproached the Premier for making those statements, and also for allegedly being engaged in electioneering within PSD. Several statements made by Premier Mihai Tudose in recent days have bothered Gabriela Firea. Including the statement that the deep state – mentioned by several PSD leaders, including Liviu Dragnea – is a concept he does not understand.
Likewise, after the Social Democrats talked about organising a pro-Government rally in Craiova, Mihai Tudose sarcastically said he would not take part in such a rally since he hails from Braila. This aspect also bothered Gabriela Firea.
One day, when Liviu Dragnea was absent from the Palace of Parliament, Mihai Tudose paid an unannounced visit to PSD MPs, to discuss their needs and discontents. This was another reproach Gabriela Firea levelled against Mihai Tudose. She said several of her colleagues have noticed that the Premier is engaging in internal electioneering and she emphasised she does NOT wish him good luck.
Latent for some time, the tensions between Gabriela Firea and Mihai Tudose seem to have publicly broken out eventually on Saturday, after the incidents in Victory Square, when the Bucharest Mayor had to announce her decision to relocate the Fair. However, she did so in a very harsh communique in which she accused “state institutions” of not defending the Constitution and warned that this is “the onset of anarchy.”
Then, the Bucharest Mayor stated, in a phone interview with Antena3, that Premier Mihai Tudose has found “an incorrect manner – unbecoming of a colleague –” to “publicly admonish” her for a decision taken by institutions subordinated to the Bucharest City Hall.
“I hereby point out that in the first part of the day the incomplete [transcripts of PSD’s Whatsapp group discussions – editor’s note] have appeared, which were subsequently supplemented. I believe too many Romanians have died in the Revolution, most of them young, for us to still fear something and to refrain from expressing our point of view provided it’s backed by arguments, whether we are at a television station, or whether we are at the City Hall – my case –, or within the party. I reached the point in which I expressed a point of view that maybe was inconvenient, after the Prime Minister found, I believe, an incorrect manner – unbecoming of a colleague – to publicly admonish me for a decision adopted by the institutions subordinated to the City Hall,” the Bucharest Mayor said, quoted by Agerpres.
Gabriela Firea stated she would have expected the Premier to phone her or ask for a meeting if he had something to tell her.
“If he had something to communicate, and an opinion, I would have expected… It’s his right to have opinions, it would have been colleague-like to phone me or to ask me for a meeting. I consider the PSD is responsible before all Romanians, it must implement the governance programme, and this PSD vs. PSD war which is being created does not help us at all, on the contrary, it gives ammunition to our enemies. I hope that from this moment on the Prime Minister would understand the fact that a colleague-like and fair manner of communication with us, his colleagues – still his colleagues –, must be direct, not with hints, innuendos, and ironies via the press. That is the worst thing that could happen, at least between colleagues,” Firea stated.
Gabriela Firea’s public statements come after the press published transcripts of contradictory conversations between Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea and Premier Mihai Tudose, over the issue of the Christmas Fair in Victory Square.
Firea about Tudose: Several days ago, he was saying he was annoyed by protests, but publicly he expressed concern
The Bucharest Mayor claims she would have liked her discussions with the Premier, regarding the opening of a Christmas Fair in Victory Square, to remain private. Firea pointed out that the attitude is hypocritical since he allegedly told her he is annoyed by the protests in Victory Square, however publicly he had a different stance.
“All the statements he made, I consider them incorrect. If he had concerns, (…) we could have talked on the phone instead of him replying to me on television. (…) The statements that would have been to the Premier’s disfavour were cut out. I said I found it hypocritical that several days ago he was privately telling me he was annoyed by the protests in Victory Square, but publicly he expressed concern that those who are occupying the square might no longer have a place to hold the protest,” Gabriela Firea stated for Antena3.
In what concerns the discussions on the Whatsapp group of PSD communicators, in which the Premier was allegedly accused of sabotaging the Bucharest City Hall and of engaging in electioneering, the Mayor said: “I made this statement because there are many colleagues who are saying that this attitude is unexplainable, that he is trying to distance himself from some colleagues and to get closer to others.”
PSD’s Deputy Secretary General, on transcripts: It’s not the first time we argue in our confidential system
On Sunday, PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu admitted the veracity of the transcripts published by the press on Saturday, stating this is not the first time that party leaders argue while using their confidential communication system, but he insisted there is no split within PSD.
“Concerning the transcripts, I publicly admitted that these discussions permanently take place. This is not the first time we argue in our confidential communication system. We do not always agree. The decisions are adopted by vote,” PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu stated when asked whether the transcripts leaked to the press are true.
However, he rejected Gabriela Firea’s theory that Mihai Tudose seeks to take over the party.
“This idea about Tudose taking over the party, or someone taking over the party, is nonsense. It has nothing to do with it. (…) Don’t confuse our internal discussions on whatsapp. We always have discussions of this type, contradictory ones. Usually, the decisions are adopted by vote. There is no kind of split within the party, there are no camps,” the PSD Deputy Secretary General added.