USR chairman Dan Barna has been elected the party’s candidate for Presidency, within the USR Congress on Saturday. Barna has got 324 votes out of 492. Mihai Gotiu has got 134 votes, Dumitru Stanca – 5 votes, and Dragoş Dinulescu – 3 votes.
USR’s alliance partner, PLUS, led by former PM Dacian Ciolos, has also held its National Council on Saturday, with Ciolos announcing that PLUS candidate to run for Presidency is to be elected by electronic vote, during July 22-27. The candidate of the party for the Bucharest City Hall will also be elected by electronic vote in the same period.
After that, negotiations with USR are scheduled to decide a sole candidate for the presidential election due on November 10/November 24. It is expected a tandem between Barna and Ciolos for the President-Prime Minister positions.
After being elected as the man to run for Presidency on behalf of USR, Dan Barna has stated that the party has taken one more step to the USR-PLUS goal to come to power in 2020, adding this is the result of the party’s efforts in the past two years.
“It’s a result that somehow confirms the efforts of the past two years since I have been leading this party to grow, to develop, a thing that Romania needs so much, a new party, a fresh party to bring the active and modern society on the political stage so that we could go further towards Europe,” Barna said.
Asked why has not been the USR-PLUS candidate for Presidency announced yet, Barna explained this announcement will be made within two weeks.
“It is precisely the same mechanism that we successfully use at the EP elections, when the two parties elected their own candidates and after that we met and set an order on the list. We obtained the result that makes us very confident and shows us that Romania wants fresh air and credibility in politics. Now we are in the same situation. The two parties respect their statutory mechanisms to choose their candidates. We’ll probably have a decision about a common USR-PLUS candidate within two weeks. The Alliance will definitely have only one candidate for Presidency”, USR chairman pointed out.
On the other hand, Dan Barna ruled out a merger between the two parties on short term.
As for the fact that through USR-PLUS bid for presidential candidate to oppose incumbent President Klaus Iohannis who will run for a second term at Cotroceni, endorsed by the National Liberal Party (PNL), Dan Barna said that USR has a normal relation with PNL, stressing that a more interesting goal for our country would be that Romanians to choose in the runoffs between Klaus Iohannis and the candidate of USR-PLUS Alliance, whoever might be.
However, the Liberals don’t like the USR-PLUS intention to have its own candidate for Presidency, as they would have preferred they endorse Iohannis, as both parties are centre-right wing, in Opposition now.
Liberal MEP Rares Bogdan, former journalist retorted that no matter who is the USR-PLUS candidate for Presidency, he should know his place and not try skipping stages, for he “will break his legs”. Bogdan also said that comparing Klaus Iohannis and Dan Barna is like comparing New York to Roman (a small town in central Moldavia, Romania).