Political calculations for mergers and early presidencies. Coalition targets

PSD and PNL aim to benefit from the input of local elected officials not only at the European Parliament elections, but also guide their strategy in the first round of the presidential elections. In addition, the Coalition is also preparing the political future of President Klaus Iohannis.

The coalition prepares Iohannis' political future PHOTO Inquam Photos

The government coalition tailored the calendar for the year 2024 in such a way as to suit them from the point of view of political objectives, but dressing the decision in the form of reasons related to the public interest. “We all know that the biggest voter turnout is local turnout. The local elections are of the greatest interest because the citizen chooses his first manager of the city, commune, county. The fact that we decided to merge is not against democracy. On the contrary, it is an extra vote for democracy”, stated Marcel Ciolacu. What he didn't say was that PSD and PNL have more than 85% of the mayors, which will mean a mobilization of the whole team.

Conversely, for the smaller parties it will be a problem including finding candidates in the 3,228 administrative-territorial units (ie cities, communes and county councils). But the big parties will also have the dilemma of building a list that satisfies all camps: an opening of a list for the European Parliament with an independent person and a balanced division. According to “Adevărul” information, PSD's preference is for a person like Ramona Chiriac, head of the European Commission Representation in Romania. The remaining target is a minimum of 17 seats, according to sources at the top of the Coalition, but internal calculations show that it could get up to 21 seats, depending on mobilization.

The stakes of the presidential move in September

On the other hand, the Coalition came up with justifications and moving the presidential elections to September, the dates desired by Ciolacu being September 8 and 22. “Let's remember that December is the busiest from a governmental and political point of view. It's the state budget, we have the closing of the year, the negotiations with the Commission (no – European). We made the decision not to block Romania”, the head of the PSD pointed out.

According to “Adevărul” information, the option for the first round of the presidential elections at the beginning of September would still favor the big parties. During the election campaign month, August, then around the polls, September, part of the population is more concerned with vacations and preparing for the agricultural campaign, not the political one. Therefore, the mayors and the party army will also have an important role in mobilizing to vote. In such a scenario, the parties with the largest electoral structures also leave with the first chances.

Another reason is the possible outcome of the European negotiations for an important position for Romania. Not only in PNL, but also in PSD there is talk of supporting Iohannis for a public position. And the options are countless. First of all, there are two functions that are more difficult to obtain. One is that of the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Policy, which will be in the first negotiation of the so-called top jobs, but this is not among the first chosen by the big political families, because for the first time those of the head of the Commission are divided of the European Union and that of the president of the European Council, then comes the discussion on the headship of the European Parliament and that of the High Representative. Another function that will be extremely important is that of the new commissioner responsible for defense at the EU level, a new position, according to “Adevărul” information. On the other hand, in a much more realistic and relatively easy-to-obtain scenario is that of vice-president of the European Commission. And currently there are three vice-presidents, one each from EPP, PES and Renew-ALDE.

The negotiations for the new European architecture will be held in the summer of 2024, so by September the painting should be ready. Therefore, if Iohannis resigned towards the end of the summer, the position would be taken over by Nicolae Ciucă. Moreover, the period until the new presidential elections would not be too long.

Last but not least, there would be a move from PSD that would give trouble to Mircea Geoană, Deputy Secretary General of NATO. His mandate at NATO expires in October. In the case of the September presidential elections and Geoana's desire to run, the former PSD leader should resign in July, collect his signatures and submit his candidacy file.

Third electoral attempt, with luck

PSD and PNL manage to slap on an electoral calendar for the first time in five years, after two unsuccessful attempts, when unforeseen events ruined their plans. For the first time, in February 2020, PNL and PSD began the steps to trigger the anticipated, following a well-planned scenario by the leaders of the two formations. The second time, in the spring of 2023, the Coalition had prepared for anticipated, which would have taken place in the context of a so-called misunderstanding at the rotary, but the evolution of the war in Ukraine and the need for stability changed the Coalition's mind. Now, the formations of the Power have agreed after several months of contradictory discussions and ballet around the subject of merging with at least one row of elections.