The extraordinary Congress of the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) has convened at Salat Palatului in Bucharest today to elect a new leadership after the former party chairman Liviu Dragnea went to prison for corruption.
According to the preliminary results of the vote, PM Viorica Dancila, who had taken over the interim leadership of PSD after Dragnea’s arrest, has been elected the new chairwoman of the Social Democrats, while one of the her contenders, Liviu Plesoianu ranking second in the internal race. Dancila is the first woman elected as PSD chair, as the incumbent ruling party has been led only by men so far.
On the other hand, other two PSD top members have been elected in the party’s leadership, Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici, as executive president and Mihai Fifor (ex-Defence minister) as secretary general.
Viorica Dancila has got 2,828 votes, Liviu Pleşoianu – 715 votes, Şerban Nicolae – 375 votes, Education minister Ecaterina Andronescu – 50 votes. 22 votes have been invalidated.
In the race for the executive president position, Eugen Teodorovici has got 2,463 votes, Daniel Suciu – 1358 votes and Daniel Florea, 129 votes and Sorin Bota – 19.
In the battle for secretary general sear, Mihai Fifor has got 2,366 votes, Gabriel Petrea – 717, Codrin Ştefănescu – 456 and Felix Stroe – 189.
Dancila does not consider running for Presidency
The new PSD chairwoman, Viorica Dancila, has stated after winning the internal race for the top position, that she is not considering to run for Presidency this autumn, but that she is weighing all options, including endorsing an independent candidate.
She said that PSD had ordered an internal opinion poll based on which the future PSD candidate for presidential election might be chosen, and her name has not been included in this poll.
“I haven’t considered running, and that’s why I have not been included in the polls. I hope to have a candidate from PSD – and, why not, a common candidate who has the chance of winning presidential election. We have included in the polls the names of those who voiced their intention to run so far, a common candidate and a candidate outside the party,” Dancila said, yet without revealing any names.
The prime minister added that the person to be designated by PSD to join the race for Romania’s Presidency will enter the runoffs.
“I think we have to be very carefully and go with the candidate who has the best chances to win the presidential ballot, and, moreover, with that candidate who can have an entire party behind him. We’ll definitely enter runoffs, it is a goal and we also have a strategy for that, we have another approach within PSD, we’ll be closing ranks”, Dancila pointed out.
Senator Serba Nicolae , who had run for the PSD chairman seat, has challenged the voting procedure, arguing that the speeches of Dancila’s opponents had been delayed in the programme so that the delegates should leave the hall, “bored and hungry.”
At the same time, candidates have slammed the fact that, as a first in the PSD’s congress history, the vote of the local organisations was fragmented and out of control. Moreover, Dancila is accused that she would have promised support to all candidates, thus messing up all calculations.
Teodorovici wins after initial withdrawal
Initially, a day before the congress, Eugen Teodorovici had withdrawn from the race for the executive president position. Yet, today, he has changed his mind, entered the competition again and won. Teodorovici will also take over the deputy PM position.
The finance minister explained today that he had joined the internal race again for he wants to be where the action is, and not just to sit on the bench. He has revealed he had received several proposals to work abroad, but that he had turned them down.
Teodorovici’s opponent, Daniel Suciu, who is minister of Development, was angry that Teodorovici had re-entered the race for the executive president seat after he had been initially out.
Sources from the party quoted by the media disclosed that Soc Dem local barons had met in a restaurant on Friday night and convinced Teodorovici to run again, while pressing Suciu to quit at the same time.
PSD Vrancea leader Marian Oprisan, booed
PSD vice-president Marian Oprisan, has been booed by the PSD members attending the Congress, when he went onstage to deliver his speech, after Codrin Stefanescu had taken the floor.
Visibly angry at the booing, Oprisan said the leaders of the PSD Olt, Dolj and Teleorman branches had asked the Social Democrats to boo him. Oprisan has also went after Mihai Fifor to get revenge after Fifor had congratulated one Social Democrat who had booed Oprisan, telling him “Well done” and tapping his shoulder.
Oprisan mentioned that he remains uncompromising on Dragnea’s issue. He accused Paul Stanescu (leader of PSD Olt) of orchestrating the booing against him.
The new PSD leader, Viorica Dancila, has disapproved the incident. “I saw it (e.n. the booing). I disapprove such action. I don’t think the authors are from the Teleorman organisation. Who has done it is not right”, Dancila said.