Gabriela Firea - the lesson of the shadow

Gabriela Firea - the lesson of the shadow

If Gabriela Firea had lost the election by a hair’s breadth, the defeat would not have been a major political issue for her. She could have invoked her late entry into the race, a blame attributable, isn’t it, to the party president, and the vote splitting with Cristian Popescu Piedone who kept saying he wouldn’t have entered the race if Mrs. Firea had been designated as a candidate from the start.

But Mrs. Firea lost the election by a huge margin to the winner, who took more than double her votes. Combined, the votes of Mrs. Firea and Piedone do not exceed those of Nicușor Dan, so fragmentation was not a cause.


And the worst part is that Mrs. Firea is positioned a few percentage points below the party's score. Approximately 13 thousand Bucharest residents who voted for PSD in the General Council did not vote for Mrs. Firea. She can no longer invoke, as in past elections, an internal party schism by the betrayal of an important mayor, as it happened 4 years ago with Robert Negoiță.

I was among those who kept writing that it would have been much more advantageous for Mrs. Firea not to run. She would have remained with the aura of the rejected candidate, the one who could have brought victory if allowed, but wasn't because she represented too much of a danger for the cowardly party president.


The candidacy was a trap she walked into, one she fiercely demanded, and could only have one outcome.

Why did it come to this?

Because no one can escape, at least not so quickly, from their own shadow. For years, Mrs. Firea managed to stir waves of hatred against her. Not necessarily through poor performance at the City Hall, if we are honest the city does not look better now than during her mandate, but through attitude. And that means ostentation, bad taste, aggressiveness, lies, malice.

The culmination was the moral, not legal of course, involvement in the horror nursing homes scandal. Instead of simply apologizing, Mrs. Firea tried to deny the evidence: people from her entourage, right away, were involved in that atrocity. And denying evidence doesn't change it, it makes it unbearable.


It is true that in this campaign Mrs. Firea marked an important change in message and strategy, became non-conflictual, tempered her stridency, did not overdo media appearances. But she failed to be credible. Her image did not change according to the strategy and the online space was invaded by broom photos just like in the campaign 4 years ago.

The result confirmed, even exceeded the polls that estimated Mrs. Firea's rejection in Bucharest at 70%.

Such a defeat is truly politically devastating, much worse than in 2020 and cannot remain without consequences in a party merciless towards the defeated.

The most probable and logical political consequence is the loss of the leadership of the Bucharest organization under whose score she placed and which, itself, is below the national score of PSD even though it has two mayors reconfirmed with significant scores.

The situation is even more delicate as the other leader of the opposing faction to Marcel Ciolacu, Paul Stănescu, is not in the best political moment either. After the tragedy in Crevedia involving the family of a close mayor, on June 9th PSD lost Slatina, an extremely important city in the power equation of the Olt baron.

And it is unlikely that Marcel Ciolacu will miss the opportunity to get rid of a thorn in his political side. Mrs. Firea will go to the European Parliament, an extremely profitable consolation. Politically, however, it is hard to imagine that she will have a say in PSD for a long time to come.

For her, the political desert begins now. If she has the strength to traverse it and understand something from it, apart from hatred and frustration, if she has the power and resources for reinvention, perhaps at some point she may be able to come back.

It is a lesson for all politicians about detachment from reality, about denying evidence, about the shadow you create and can't escape from. Sooner or later everything has its price.

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