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Separate candidates for Bucharest mayor

The ruling coalition formed by the Social Democratic Party and the National Liberal Party will no longer have a joint candidate for Bucharest mayor.

coalitia PSD PNL - candidaturi separate sursă foto RRA
coalitia PSD PNL - candidaturi separate sursă foto RRA

, 23.04.2024, 14:00

The story of doctor Cătălin Cîrstoiu, a renowned orthopaedic physician and the director of a big hospital in Bucharest, is a success only on a professional level, because politically, the parties in the ruling coalition are no longer supporting his candidacy for Bucharest general mayor. The decision was taken on Monday evening, after heated debates. Cîrstoiu looked like he didn’t stand much chance of winning, anyway, as he was faced with  accusations of incompatibility: although he is the head of a state-run hospital, he was also working at his wife’s private clinic. Opinion polls about voting intentions put him at a mere 10%, which made him a second-rate candidate.

 

So the parties in the ruling coalition decided to endorse different candidates for city mayor, namely Gabriela Firea, a former general mayor and the head of the Bucharest branch of the Social Democratic Party, and Sebastian Burduja, the current energy minister and head of the Bucharest branch of the Liberal Party. The two parties say they will thus mobilise their voters as best as possible. According to political sources quoted by the media, the two candidates will not attack each other and will base their campaign on a constructive approach. The coalition will still have joint candidates for the individual city sectors and the local councils.

 

Leading in opinion polls at the moment are Nicuşor Dan, the incumbent mayor of Bucharest running for a second term as an independent candidate with the support of the United Right Alliance formed by the Save Romania Union, the People’s Movement Party and the Force of the Right, and the incumbent sector 5 mayor Cristian Popescu Piedone, a candidate for the Humanist Social Liberal Party. With the arrival of Gabriela Firea and Sebastian Burduja, the competition will become more complicated in theory. On the one hand, Cîrstoiu was nominated by the ruling coalition because Firea and Burduja didn’t have good ratings in the first place, the former because she had an inconsistent term in office and is not likely to get many of the Liberals’ votes, and the latter because not even his side views him as a strong candidate. The two are faced with almost impossible missions: Firea to win over the left-leaning voters who are currently favouring Popescu Piedone, and Burduja to convince right-leaning voters to elect him.

 

The move to support different candidates for city mayor may also influence the results for the General Council, where the ruling coalition, while leading in opinion polls, has a small lead over the United Right Alliance. The Social Democrats and the Liberals want to convince people theirs is a solid coalition, even with chances of becoming an alliance, but the constant mutual attacks and the recent fiasco of the joint candidacy for Bucharest mayor may put their intentions at risk. Also 9th June, the coalition has another major test to pass, the elections for the European Parliament, where they are running on joint lists and where their goal is to win more than a half of Romania’s seats.

Marcel Ciolacu (Photo: gov.ro)
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