Ciucă and Ciolacu stage the comedy in Bucharest

The removal from office of a doctor without political and administrative experience reveals the vulnerability of the governing coalition, opening the way for Piedone, backed by media mogul Dan Voiculescu.
Ciucă and Ciolacu stage the comedy in Bucharest

The fact that Gabriela Firea and Sebastian Burduja have become campaign directors for Doctor Cătălin Cîrstoiu seems like a joke, one that demonstrates a failed collaboration between the PSD and PNL regarding the nomination process for the candidate for the Bucharest City Hall.

I confess that I did not expect former mayor Gabriela Firea to lose the elections before the start of the electoral campaign.

After making a new candidacy her main political goal for four years, she gave up, ending up in the position of „campaign manager.”

From being the great hope of the PSD, supported by everyone, she ended up settling for a role for which she has no preparation.

I wonder what Firea and Burduja will do in the campaign for Cîrstoiu? Will they write his political speeches? Perhaps, but I don't think they will engage in menial work. Will they correct and improve those written by others? Will they advise the Hospital Director, preparing him for TV appearances, and approve TikTok posts? Or will they meet with PSD - PNL donors, organizing fundraising events?


Most likely, they will do nothing, and in my opinion, the mere fact that Marcel Ciolacu and Nicolae Ciucă, the leaders of the two coalition parties, have appointed the two as campaign directors shows that we are witnessing a comedy.

Despite the optimistic statements, there are not many in the two parties who believe in the possibility of Doctor Cîrstoiu winning the Mayorship of the Capital. And this lack of confidence is also evident in how they managed and led the negotiation and nomination process.

An Understanding with Dan Voiculescu

Marcel Ciolacu's undeclared goal was to rid himself of Gabriela Firea's competition within the party and did everything possible to prevent her from running. She was the only one with real chances, but she created a significant polarization and endangered the alliance with the PNL.

The current Prime Minister sought to reach an agreement with Dan Voiculescu, the man behind Antena 3, in order to secure the support of the television station.


And thus, Cristian Popescu Piedone, the current mayor of Sector 5, supported by mogul Dan Voiculescu, ended up being the main opponent of Nicușor Dan.

Ten days ago, Nicușor Dan released a poll in which Piedone led in the preferences of the Bucharest citizens by one percentage point, with a voting intention of 40.4%.

The current mayor stated that these are real data but did not publish the entire sociological study nor the figures that favor him.

CIRC. Popescu Piedone enters the electoral campaign with a first chance of victory, counting on a populist discourse, noisy actions, and sensational content for social media networks - Photo: Sabin Cîrstoveanu/ Inquam Photos

Looking at the poll, we see Sebastian Burduja, supported by the PSD-PNL alliance, with a score of only 16%.

In my opinion, the figure next to Burduja represents the electoral strength of the government alliance in Bucharest.


If the minister's name is replaced with that of Doctor Cătălin Cîrstoiu, the social democrats and liberals will embark on the campaign with an even lower score than this 16% from Nicușor Dan's poll.

Open Wounds, Closed Wounds

So, in the end, in Bucharest, we will have a confrontation between a mayor definitively sentenced to four years in prison for abuse of office in the Colectiv File, released after one year following an extraordinary appeal to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, and the current mayor Nicușor Dan, a former representative of civil society, founder of the Save Romania Union, now supported by the United Right Alliance.

Such a competition is impossible not to polarize Bucharest, not to become a confrontation between the past and the present, between corruption and its limitation, between conservatives and reformists.

The confrontation will have consequences regarding the presidential and parliamentary elections as well. Therefore, I believe it is important, being surprised by the ease with which the PSD and PNL approached the local elections in Bucharest.

"'Have you won? Continue! Have you lost? Continue!' People come first, in any public function, elected or appointed - that is my political belief. I have only had in mind people as mayor and senator. Just like when I was a teacher or journalist," announced Gabriela Firea after Marcel Ciolacu's decision, the president of the PSD, not to allow her to run for mayor.

WITHOUT SUPPORT. Gabriela Firea, sad, shortly after the party leadership announced that it decided not to nominate her for the Bucharest Mayorship - Photo: Saul Pop/ Inquam Photos

"I will continue like this! The last months were burdensome, turbulent, extremely emotionally charged. Every politician is, above all, human. Uncertainty and blows have marked me, but they have not discouraged me. Wounds open, close, even if scars remain. I have always been motivated and found inner resources to move forward with my head held high. The support of the family has strengthened me spiritually," Gabriela Firea said in the message accepting the party's decision, even though she disagrees with it.

A Noisy Campaign

But Gabriela Firea's exit from the race and the entry of the populist Piedone, who relies on a rude, aggressive, and noisy campaign, does not guarantee that the PSD and PNL will not lose Bucharest, both to Cîrstoiu and Piedone.

The latter will have a major problem gaining the trust of middle-class, young, and elderly voters with medium and higher education, who have a higher level of civic responsibility and are tempted to vote.

Piedone won, in 2020, the elections in Sector 5 with 25,000 votes, but in Bucharest, he will need over 250,000 to reach the position of general mayor, considering he must surpass Nicușor Dan.

The incumbent mayor managed to gain the support of citizens throughout his mandate, citizens who do not necessarily gravitate around a political party, being older individuals pleased that the incumbent mayor takes care of public transport, changes pipes, and doesn't make promises beyond his capabilities.

WHO SUPPORTS HIM. Nicușor Dan will remain in office only if he manages to get the middle-class voters to the polls massively - Photo: George Călin/Inquam Photos

PSD and PNL in the Second Line

In my opinion, the campaign temperature will rise, and the European elections will be overshadowed by the noise of the confrontation between Piedone and Nicușor Dan, as well as by the competitions for the mayoralties of Brasov, Constanta, and Timisoara, major cities where political confrontation is intense.

Therefore, the decision of the PSD and PNL to not bring competitive candidates to Bucharest will push them to the back, as people will pay more attention to Piedone's actions and Nicușor Dan's reactions than to Cîrstoiu's "calm campaign."

If this happens, there is a possibility that the outcome of the European elections will be slightly different than the sure victory the government coalition is counting on.

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