PNL and PSD End Alliance in Bucharest; Firea, Burduja to Run for the Capital City Hall

The Coalition leaders decided to give up their common candidate, Catalin Cirstoiu and to go to the Capital City Hall with separate candidacies from each party, after a marathon meeting of more than 12 hours. Therefore,  Gabriela Firea – PSD and Sebastian Burduja – PNL, will run for the Bucharest mayor seat. The two candidates will not attack each other in the campaign, but will have a constructive campaign on solutions for Bucharest.

On the other hand, the PSD-PNL Alliance preserve common candidates for the Bucharest’s district and for the local council lists. It is a similar situation to the decisions taken for Bacău and Brașov.

As for the manager of the University Hospital Catalin Cirstoiu, he left the meeting at the Government without wanting to step back. The decision is yours, not mine, I’m not giving up because I’ve never lost a race”, Cîrstoiu reportedly told the Social Democrats and the Liberals.

A investigation exposed the fact that the manager of the public hospital also worked at his family’s private clinic. The law prohibits this, for the directors of state hospitals. Practically, the patients no longer benefited from gratuity, the money went to the Cîrstoiu family, and the public hospital run by him collected smaller amounts from the Health Center.

Ciolacu’s, Ciuca’s first explanations

The PSD leader, Marcel Ciolacu, had a first reaction after the decision to withdraw Dr. Cîrstoiu from the race for the Capital City Hall and to go to the elections with Gabriela Firea – PSD and Sebastian Burduja – PNL. He says that it was a “difficult decision”, but that Gabriela Firea “is the best choice for Bucharesters who want less show”.
In his message, the PSD leader makes a single mention of doctor Cîrstoiu, PSD and PNL candidate until Monday night, whom he thanks for “all the effort”.
“Bucharest needs a person who knows administration and is able to arrange the things left behind by Nicușor Dan from the first day of his mandate. And this could only be Gabriela Firea, the president of the PSD Bucharest organization! As of today, the two-step dance is over! From today, the people of Bucharest really have a choice! Good luck, Gabi!”, says Ciolacu’s Facebook post, accompanied by a photo featuring him and Firea.
As for the Liberals, the PNL chairman Nicolae Ciucă declared that Sebastian Burduja, elected candidate for Bucharest City Hall after the coalition gave up on Cătălin Cîrstoiu, is “the option that gives hope to those who have not decided so far”. It was a decent discussion on the numbers, it was clear that there is no hope of being able to recover”, Ciucă also said.
“It was an analysis based on the data on how the common candidate chosen by the coalition was evolving and when it was identified that we were not able to achieve our objective, we considered it good to make a decision that would ensure the maximization of the score in the local elections on the one hand and on the other hand it is important that along with the messages we gave based on balance and stability we make the transition from a negative campaign to a positive one. At this moment we can talk about a reset of the political competition and so the electorates, both liberal and social democratic, can enter with another hope, and from the perspective of the PNL we come with a candidate who is a new option. It was a decent discussion on the numbers, it was clear that there is no hope that we can to recover, which is why we made this decision. We considered it absolutely natural to end this collaboration (with Cătălin Cârstoiu – n.r.) because the chances were obvious.
PNL’s chances are given by the candidate’s profile, he comes from the position of minister, it is the option that gives hope to those who have not made up their minds so far. It is an undecided segment of the electorate and can present its program to PMB as a new entrant,” Ciuca said, characterizing Sebastian Burduja as “motivated, very well trained professionally and with a vision”.


Reactions of the foes

The other two candidates for the Capital City Hall, Nicusor Dan and Cristian Popescu Piedone reacted to the Coalition’s decision to withdraw Cirstoiu from the race and go with two separate candidates.

“Tough decision for the real estate mafia. Whose campaign should he finance?”, Nicusor Dan wrote on his Facebook page.

The PUSL candidate, Cristian Popescu Piedone, labelled the coalition’s decision as “a betrayal of the electorate” and “a political platform by which they support Nicușor Dan” to his detriment.

The current mayor of Sector 5 says that the polls showed the coalition leaders that they would lose the race for Bucharest, which is why they feared that a victory for him in the local elections would lead to “destroying them by voting in the autumn parliamentary elections.

The President of Forța Dreptei, Ludovic Orban, former PM and PNL president, said on Tuesday that the decision of the PSD – PNL to withdraw Cătălin Cîrstoiu from the race for the Capital City Hall “how rude, how embarrassing” the leaders of the coalition are, but also represents an argument for which Nicușor Dan will win a new mandate.
“With one eye I laugh, with one I cry. I’m laughing, because I can’t help it when I see how ugly they are, how embarrassing they are. I cry with one eye because I think that the poor country is in their hands and is in danger of remaining under this stigma of stupidity and thievery for another 4 years”, wrote Ludovic Orban on Facebook.

President Iohannis: No great success of the coalition

President Klaus Iohannis – on a visit to South Korea – also had a reaction, he urged the leaders of the PSD-PNL coalition “not to let the electoral struggles generated by the local elections in June influence the government’s activity”.

Asked about the withdrawal of Cătălin Cîrstoiu’s candidacy from the race for the City Hall of the Capital, the president said that “it is not a great success of the coalition”, but that he does not want to comment on “the decisions of the coalition in terms of electing candidates and how they will position themselves”. 
Asked again by journalists what his opinion is about Cătălin Cîrstoiu and whether he was consulted by the Coalition, Iohannis said that it is not his job, as president, to characterize the candidates: “I don’t comment on such things, no offense. I don’t think it’s the president’s job to make characterizations of former, possible or future candidates. I am the president of Romania”.
allianceBucharest City HallCatalin CirstoiuGabriela FireaPSD-PNLsebastian burduja
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