Marcel Ciolacu was elected chair of the Social Democrat Party (PSD) at the party’s extraordinary congress held on Saturday. 1,460 delegations in the 39 regional centers have cast their votes. Ciolacu had been interim leader of the party since the end of 2019, after the former SocDem PM Viorica Dancila had also withdrawn from the party’s helm.
The vote has been secret. Ciolacu has been elected the party chair by 1,310 votes, while his contender, Eugen Teodorovici (former Finance minister) has got only 91 votes. Although the has raced against Ciolacu, Teodorovici has not attended the congress. 49 votes have been annulled.
Next to Ciolacu, two new members have entered the PSD leadership: Sorin Grindeanu as first vice president and Vasile Dîncu as chairman of the PSD National Council.
“Dear fellows, today’s vote is not granted to Marcel Ciolacu, but to a PSD’s team”, Ciolacu told the party members after the vote.
In his speech before the vote Ciolacu said that the reconstruction of the Social Democratic Party had started today.
“Romania needs a powerful left wing. (…) Today, only the PSD represents the Romanian left and its values. Do we want to remain a conservative party, which rather looks backward to its past, or do we want to transform ourselves into a modern party that looks to the future for progress? Romania society has changed. So have the Romanians’ expectations. Do we want to listen to the desires of people and their needs today or do we want to stay prisoner to the old ways of doing politics? PSD will continue to defend our grandparents, those vulnerable, mothers and children, youths who are just now walking their own path. But we must look even further. Let us be close to all Romanians in the middle class!”, Ciolacu addressed the PSD Congress.
He pointed out that there were cases when the work of the Social Democrats was “wasted” by those who thought they could use the PSD “as a key to the doors of justice.” “They are not the PSD! They belong to the past. Today, we must break ourselves from this past!,” the Social Democrat leader stresses, most probably referring to the party’s former leader Liviu Dragnea, currently in prison for corruption.
He also talked about modernizing the party, of developing collaboration with the Social Democrat family in Europe, while asking for zero tolerance, for the future of the PSD, towards corruption and abuses.
Ciolacu also said that PSD’s main goal at the upcoming elections is to remain the largest party in Romania.
As for the censure motion recently tabled by the Social Democrats, the party’s secretary general Paul Stanescu has told an interview to Digi24 that PSD wants a left-wing technocrat Cabinet till elections if the motion passes, also revealing they already have a technocrat prime minister in mind, a left-wing personality, former PSD member, activating in the economic environment.
Marcel Ciolacu used to be few years ago one of the Liviu Dragnea’s trusting men, but their relation was ruined in 2017 after the former PM Mihai Tudose had resigned, as Ciolacu was deputy PM in Tudose’s Cabinet.
Few months ago, Dragnea had promoted Ciolacu as speaker of the Chamber of Deputies.
Founding member of PSD Buzau branch, Marcel Ciolacu became leader of PSD Buzau in 2010. He was in turn, deputy mayor, local councilman, county councilman, interim prefect and deputy of Buzau.
After Mihai Tudose had been ousted as PM, Marcel Ciolacu, as one of Tudose’s close persons, joined the group of opponents who signed the anti-Dragnea letter next to Gabriela Firea, Paul Stanescu and Adrian Tutuianu.