The loneliness of the common candidate

The loneliness of the common candidate

Gabriela Firea, the head of the PSD campaign for Bucharest, could hardly even utter the name of Cătălin Cîrstoiu. With tight lips and a disdain that she didn’t even bother to conceal, she almost exclusively referred to him as the „common candidate” .

Psychologically, there was probably a risk of instant collapse into screams and hair-pulling frenzy when pronouncing his name, thus personalizing the one for whom she was sidelined.

Then, because it had become ostentatious, she was sent to TV to pronounce it, but only managed to do so through gritted teeth, almost like a resentful spit.

For losing the candidacy, Ms. Firea was rewarded with an eligible position on the list for the European Parliament elections, hence with a lot of money, but which comes with political exile. It’s hard to be in the political core of the party from thousands of kilometers away, and Ms. Firea knows that.

What she doesn’t seem to understand, by ostentatiously rejecting opinion polls, is that she was actually done a favor. She had no chance of winning the Capital, as she has a huge rejection rate. To have almost maximum notoriety and a 70% rejection rate is a recipe for certain failure.

She would have mobilized opponents to vote like no other candidate, just like 4 years ago. „I’d rather vote for a dumpster than for Firea,” someone recently told me who is far from being a fan of Nicușor Dan.

Even being the joint PSD-PNL candidate wouldn’t have helped her. The Liberals, who massively voted against her 4 years ago, surely wouldn’t rush to vote for her now.

At best, they would have stayed home, but most would probably have chosen Nicușor Dan. And her failure would have been that of a PSD leader, not an independent one.

I don’t know if Ms. Firea really doesn’t understand this, or if she does but prefers to victimize herself in thick strokes so that, in case of failure of the „common candidate,” she can present herself as the victory solution rejected due to Marcel Ciolacu’s fear for his own seat, which she would fiercely attack with this argument.

Despite all the real signals she gives and despite assurances of campaign involvement, Ms. Firea will not sit, as in the famous Chinese proverb, on the riverbank of elections waiting to see the political corpse of the „common candidate” float. To contribute to the „assassination.”

This is the trap into which her visceral nature pushes her. All arrows towards the „common candidate” put the murder weapon in her hand, and in case of failure, when the most valuable will be the guilty one to be attributed to, Ms. Firea will be the perfect suspect.

„Advice is given only if asked for, but if you asked me, I will answer, not necessarily assuming that Dr. Cîrstoiu will listen to me. I am answering you out of elegance and collegiality. Even if you don’t know something as a politician or administrator, you must acknowledge that you don’t know and want to learn from specialists, that is the most honest way to present yourself to the public.”

This is a statement you make to reporters about an opponent, not about the one you theoretically lead the campaign for. Ms. Firea almost openly made him incompetent with opinions.

Personally, I really don’t see how the campaign led by Ms. Firea could work intensively for the success of the „common candidate.” And as Cristian Diaconescu was telling at Europa FM about his own experience from 2008, a candidate can be sabotaged extremely efficiently.

So it is presumed that the part of the campaign led by the PSD for Mr. Cătălin Cîrstoiu will go like a cart with square wheels, even though it should bring the most voters. Yes, Robert Negoiță smiled in two strained photos alongside Cătălin Cîrstoiu, one on a sort of deserted construction site (a conceptual gaffe or irony?), but from here to real electoral mobilization is a long way.

Moreover, the photo was exclusively posted by Mr. Cîrstoiu. Neither Mr. Negoiță nor other Social Democrats rushed to share it in turn.

The only Social Democrat whose support Cătălin Cîrstoiu can truly count on is Daniel Băluță, with whom he has already developed common projects, such as the Stomatology Outpatient Clinic built in Sector 4, but administratively belonging to the University Hospital.

PNL, even if it gains momentum, does not have the same electoral strength as the PSD in Bucharest and will inevitably share part of the electorate with Nicușor Dan, whom they supported in 2020.

The very idea of having two separate campaigns in Bucharest, by party, even though there are common candidates for both mayoralties and councils, is bizarre and contradicts the very idea of solidarity and unity that the PSD and PNL promote.

In general, Mr. Cătălin Cîrstoiu’s campaign is starting rather slowly. Finally, he has a Facebook page, with less than a thousand likes in the first 30 hours since its launch.

Street display absent. Modest media presence, even though Mr. Cătălin Cîrstoiu’s biggest problem is notoriety.

And to make things even stranger, the coalition has established in Sector 5 a candidate who is not even a dark horse, a kind of phantom, Mr. Adrian Vigheciu, an anonymous local PSD councilor. The chance to pose problems for Piedone Jr is not zero, but rather negative.

No one can say that Rareș Hopincă, the current prefect of the Capital, initially rumored for Sector 5, would have won against the Piedone clan. But it would have surely been a more balanced battle.

How to explain such a favor for the candidate’s opponent? By withdrawing the senior from the race? According to the Avangarde survey, it wouldn’t even help Mr. Cătălin Cîrstoiu, but the current mayor.

And there’s another oddity. A few weeks ago, it was known that traditionally, Dan Voiculescu would receive two places on the common list for the European Parliament elections for his proteges, one for each party.

There is only one place left, for Mrs. Grapini. Did Dan Voiculescu settle for this? Signs of a rupture in the Intact trust coalition are not there. Or did Dan Voiculescu receive something much more valuable?

Everyone can assess, as they see fit, how many candidates the coalition actually has in the fight in Bucharest.

Indeed, there is a saying that says one shouldn’t look for conspiracy where there might only be stupidity. However, in this case, it would mean that the PSD-PNL have the most inexperienced campaign team since elections began in Romania.


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