Florin Cîţu wins PNL Leadership

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Current Romanian Prime Minister Florin Cîţu has won the internal elections held by PNL (Romanian Liberal Party), the largest centre-right conservative-liberal and liberal-conservative political party in Romania. However, he is still far from restoring majority support in Parliament.

He received 60% of the votes, following a heated congress organised at Romexpo, seeing around 5,000 delegates from local organisations, however, this amount is not as high as you might expect from a party leader who has both the support of the president.

Florin Citu PNL Elections
Image: Florin Cîţu – Facebook

Almost 2,900 liberals voted in favour of Ciţu, the incumbent prime minister, while Ludovic Orban, head of the Chamber of Deputies, received 1,900 votes.

Ludovic Orban, the previous Prime Minister of Romania, delegated by President Klaus Iohannis following the collapse of Viorica Dăncilă’s government, only received 40% of the votes and announced that he would be resigning from the position of Chamber of Deputies speaker.

“We have to win everything”

Florin Cîțu says that his goal as PNL president is to win all the elections in 2024. At the moment, the party have minority support in Parliament and is challenged by its former ally, reformist party, USR-LUS, which accuses the Liberal leader of autocracy, a system of government, by one person with absolute power.

When peaking to Digi24 after winning the internal elections on Saturday evening, he said, “We have to win everything, that is to be the largest political party in Romania, to win both the European Parliament and the local, presidential, parliamentary. Let’s win everything. To win means to be on the first place” and continued by saying, “If I don’t win, it means that I didn’t do my job and I will leave the place to others”.

“Today we are a united party and we will use all resources against our political opponent: PSD. This was not just a campaign, it was a movement that starts with PNL, which will change Romania for the better. Together we build a liberal Romania”, said Cîţu after announcing the result.

Prime Minister Florin Cîțu says that he will discuss with all parties so that the Government is not overthrown by the alliance of those from USR PLUS with the social democrats and the members of AUR (Alliance for the Union of Romanians), a right-wing populist and nationalist political party currently active in Romania and Moldova since 2019.

Asked if re-discussing all the mandates from the Government portfolios is a possibility if USR PLUS will remain in power, Prime Minister Cîțu answered: “We take them one by one. First, USR PLUS must get rid of the alliance with AUR and PSD, then they can come to dinner with us and we will talk”.

USR PLUS, which was the second most important of the USR PLUS UDMR PNL coalition, is currently in the internal campaign to elect the leadership. The competition is between Dan Barna and Dacian Cioloş, co-presidents of USR PLUS. However, both leaders said they did not accept the continuation of the coalition with a government led by Florin Cîţu.

However, USR PLUS does not want to negotiate the return to the governing coalition with Florin Cîţu as prime minister, without the support of PSD In the Parliament. If PSD will not be a part of the government.

The future of Romanian politics still remains uncertain as PNL’s desire to oust opponent PSD seems to conflict with major influential parties.

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