Marcel Ciolacu: 'king' or 'king maker'? Tandem with Geoană?

Marcel Ciolacu: 'king' or 'king maker'? Tandem with Geoană?

The great dilemma of the presidential elections revolves, first and foremost, around Marcel Ciolacu’s dilemma: ‘king’ or ‘king maker’? It’s not the only one, and the long string of mysteries starts with the date of organizing the election.

September or November?

Well-informed political sources are betting on the postponement of the presidential elections: „90% – elections in November, presidential elections coupled with parliamentary elections.”

The proposal came from the liberals, even publicly, through the voice of Nicolae Ciucă, while Marcel Ciolacu still adhered to the decision assumed by the coalition for September but introduced a „for now.”

He knows it will be hard to avoid ridicule, especially after just a few weeks ago he almost swore on TV that the presidential election date wouldn’t change. „With all due respect, I kindly ask you, I do not change election dates based on the score of any party or individual. The elections for the position of president are in September. That’s my answer from the position of prime minister,” Marcel Ciolacu said on May 8th. So, if he remains in charge, at least he should hold PNL accountable first.

The reasons are different. For PSD, the decision regarding the presidential candidate is complicated, and PNL does not want an electoral campaign in August and September, months of vacation for the electorate that the liberals are counting on.

Moreover, the presidential elections in September made sense when the two parties intended to go with a common candidate who would win and lead the joint list for the parliamentary elections. With different candidates, only one of the parties will receive the bonus for the parliamentary elections.

Is there still a chance for a common PSD-PNL candidate?

Very difficult, almost impossible, as long as neither party is willing to give up the idea of having a candidate. For the liberals, it’s a matter of preserving an identity severely damaged by entering into a coalition with PSD.

For PSD, it’s a matter of the party’s pride, which hasn’t had a president since Ion Iliescu and has dealt with more or less hostile presidents.

On the other hand, having two coalition partners with different candidates in the presidential elections and rivals in the parliamentary elections is hard to believe they will remain together. The year 2009 is an example, and there was a bloodbath in the local elections.

So, the blackmail game has begun for one of the parties to blink. PNL threatens on sources that they will leave the government and attack the elections from the opposition, letting PSD govern with a minority. PSD threatens on sources with the Geoană tandem, president – Ciolacu, prime minister.

Ciolacu, ‘king’ or ‘king maker’?

If the liberals’ exit from the government can be considered excluded, the Geoană – Ciolacu tandem is not entirely excluded, given Marcel Ciolacu’s extremely complicated situation.

Marcel Ciolacu knows that PSD shows no mercy to the defeated, and all party presidents who have lost elections have been devoured in a sort of ritualistic exercise of exorcism and digestion of defeat. If he loses, he will be no exception.

Does he have a chance to win? If he is a candidate only from PSD, there is a risk of not entering the second round, despite PSD’s score on June 9th, considering the division of the electorate with Mircea Geoană.

If he were a common candidate for PSD-PNL, the chances would be slightly higher, but, especially in the final, nothing could compel the liberals to vote for him, except in the unlikely scenario of having George Simion as a rival, given that there is competition even in the sovereigntist area.

Victor Ponta advises Marcel Ciolacu, like someone who has been through it, not to rush into the race: „the anti-PSD vote always works in the second round. Ciolacu, if he remains prime minister and the leader of the largest party, will prove he learned something from the Năstase and Ponta lesson.”

At his time, in 2014, he received the same advice from a highly experienced politician.

All those who have become presidents or just candidates „have finished with the party. Either you win and finish with the party, if you’re not called Băsescu, or you lose and finish with the party.”

Therefore, Victor Ponta must quickly decide whether he wants to be a king or a kingmaker, ‘king’ or ‘king maker,’ and given his age and positions, the second position is more favorable.

If he becomes a ‘king maker,’ he can then make himself ‘king’ when he wishes, as Ioan Mircea Pașcu said in an interview he granted me in 2014.

Certainly, Mr. Ciolacu has every reason to prefer to be a ‘king maker.’

But who should be the ‘king’?

Here’s where it gets tough. First and foremost, PSD should explain why the party leader is not running for president, as has always been the case, and is pushing someone else into the race. Then, if they were to propose a subordinate from the party, it would mean elevating them to their level, which at least until the elections will create two power poles.

Mircea Geoană would be a solution that would require fewer justifications, except for the recent exchanges of acidic remarks, but Romanian politics is used to kissing where they spat, so I don’t think anyone would stumble over that.

Would PSD accept? I don’t know how wholeheartedly, but if that would give them a real chance at the presidency, I don’t think they would refuse.

Marcel Ciolacu’s only real problem would be if Mircea Geoană kept his word and didn’t try to take over the party once he reached Cotroceni.

The risk wouldn’t be significant. Mircea Geoană didn’t have a close relationship with the PSD activists even when he was the party leader, and now even less so. Marcel Ciolacu, raised from the party, prime minister, and ‘king maker’ who generated the first PSD king in 20 years, wouldn’t be easy to dislodge.

Would Mircea Geoană accept this formula? By becoming a party candidate, he would lose the status of „independent” and the Macronist strategy, but he would gain the immense PSD party apparatus. Considering the caliber of the opponents, the exchange could prove advantageous.


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