Map of the most contested heads of county councils in 2024. Who is preparing to enter the fray

Problems with justice, death or simply the political evolution in the territory will lead to bayonet fights, with hard to predict results, for the headship of county councils in more constituencies

At least in 7 counties in Romania, the results at the head of the CJ are unpredictable PHOTO Shutterstock

The unexpected death of Cătălin Toma (47 years old) led to the reopening of the situation in Vrancea county, given that the liberal had taken over the headship of the Vrancea CJ after 20 years in which the social democrat Marian Oprișan had been in office. Now, the liberals are put in a difficult situation, not having prepared a viable alternative, given that other parliamentarians elected in 2020, i.e. Ion Ștefan (former minister) and Ionel Dancă, are in Forța Dreptei. Instead, according to “Adevărul” information, PSD has several options. One is Marian Oprișan, now vice-president of the CJ, but who, if he negotiates with the central leadership, could return to the head of the county. A second option is the prefect Nicușor Halici, sent to occupy the position from the territory, although he had been elected deputy.

There is also a vacancy for head of the county council in Neamț, after the final conviction of Ionel Arsene, former head of the institution for almost two terms. Former prefect George Lazăr, the person who also leads the branch, is warming up from the liberal side. According to “Adevărul” information, the social democrats are currently looking at Daniel Harpa, head of the county organization and mayor of Târgu Neamț, as the main option, but resorting to another option, from among the parliamentarians, is not excluded either, as is the case of Ciprian Constantin, leader of PSD deputies.

Barons in trouble with Justice

Uncertain situations are for PNL and PSD in two counties where they had strong leaders. In Prahova, Iulian Dumitrescu can no longer exercise his duties as president, being under judicial control. Liberal sources claim that there are little chances for Dumitrescu's support for the head of the CJ, especially if the local elections are in June. So a new liberal should enter the race, with names like Dumitru Tudone (now vice-president with powers of president) or a person like Roberta Anastase (senator and head of PNL Ploiești) in the cards. On the contrary, more variants are seen at PSD. One of the variants is Bogdan Toader, former head of the CJ in the period 2016-2020. Another option is Virgil Nanu, the current prefect of Prahova. A third is the Minister of Economy, Radu Oprea.

In Vaslui, and it will be an open competition, after the removal of Dumitru Buzatu, president of CJ since 2012, and previously vice president of the institution. The social democrats are ready to go to the hands of Ciprian Trifan, current vice-president of CJ Vaslui, who also has the duties of president. On the other hand, the liberals could go with the option of Daniel Onofrei, general secretary of the formation at the county and prefect level.

Unpredictable situations in Constanta, Timiș and Giurgiu

Complicated situations are also in Constanța, where Mihai Lupu is no longer supported by liberals, PNL having to find another man. Currently, the head of the county branch is Bogdan Huțucă, a politician who should assume the candidacy if a liberal with more chances is not found. And the situation is uncertain at PSD, because there are two options on the table: Decebal Făgădău and Felix Stroe (the one who leads the county organization). In Giurgiu, Dumitru Beianu, the liberal who leads the County Council, could have emotions, after the social democrats kept transferring mayors and there is still another round of reshuffles to come. And in Timiș, Alina Nica, from the PNL, who leads the CJ, has problems both with the PSD, but also within her party. The social democrats aim above all to win back the CJ Timiș, held until 2020.