The beginning of the end. How the Coalition failed in Bucharest

A wrong political strategy led to the separation of PSD and PNL in the race for Bucharest just a few weeks after the formation of the Alliance, say the political analysts consulted by “Adevǎrul”. Now, Ciolacu and Ciucǎ are reevaluating their collaborations for the upcoming elections.

The PSD-PNL coalition failed in Bucharest. Photo: Inquam

After a meeting of almost 15 hours, PSD and PNL decided to have different candidates for the Capital City Hall, respectively Gabriela Firea and Sebastian Burduja. The decision came after the leaders of the Coalition put all the scenarios on the table and circulated several names. The only thing that was decided relatively quickly was the withdrawal of support for Cǎtǎlin Cîrstoiu, even if they promoted him as the candidate of the Coalition who will win the elections and in Bucharest they have already placed posters with the doctor.

For several hours, the doctor was also present, but he refused to assume the withdrawal.

I didn't make the decision to step back because a doctor never quits. Ultimately, the political decision must rest with the political leaders. They have the power to do something or not for Bucharesti”, transmitted Cǎtǎlin Cîrstoiu, through a post on Facebook.

He left at midnight, but the meeting of the Coalition leaders continued. They tested several names, but found that they could not find a variant that would have the support of both types of electorate, so, after the acceptance of the two nominees, they made the decision to have different candidates. Even Marcel Ciolacu motivated the decision by the fact that PNL and PSD did not want to arbitrate the fight between Nicuşor Dan and Cristian Popescu Piedone for the Capital City Hall.

However, according to “Adevǎrul” sources, Burduja and Firea will not attack each other in the campaign, but will focus on solutions for Bucharest. At the same time, it was decided to maintain common candidates for sectors 1, 2, 5 and for Bacău and Brașov.

What chances do Firea and Burduja have

In the current situation, where Nicușor Dan and Cristian Popescu Piedone are the main candidates for the Capital City Hall, the new entrants have little chance. Only a possible withdrawal of Piedone could bring the necessary votes to Gabriela Firea.

⁠”It depends on how the campaign plays out over the next few weeks. What everyone proposes matters, but strategic moves and retreats will also matter. If Cristian Popescu is convinced to retire in favor of Gabriela Firea, the match will be restarted and Gabriela Firea would have an extra chance. Sebastian Burduja must cover Firea in the media, if he wants to jump over her in opinion polls. Everyone will have to make the most of the resource called time, it's a race against the clock“, political analyst Valeriu Turcan declared for “Adevǎrul”.

There are some chances for Gabriela Firea in the given context, but small, taking into account the candidacy of Cristian Popescu Piedone. We have to be aware of this and taking into account all the history of the last period, I still don't think it will happen, I don't think there is a chance for Gabriela Firea to win“, stated, for “Adevărul”, the political analyst Adrian Zăbava, who was skeptical about Sebastian Burduja's chances.

What is certain is that neither Firea nor Burduja were officially presented as candidates, but on sources or on Facebook, and the two were limited to giving assurances that they would make efforts to bring votes. Asked if he will settle in the party, Ciolacu answered: “Puntil I'm charged, because we're going to win the Capital?”.

Reactions also came from the main candidates. Nicusor Dan sent an ironic message on Facebook: “Tough decision for the real estate mafia. Whose campaign to fund?“, while Piedone accused that the withdrawal of Cîrstoiu means a masked support of Nicusor Dan.

Considering the failure of the alliance in Bucharest, PSD and PNL leaders are reevaluating possible collaborations in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

What the specialists say

The analysts consulted by “Adevărul” are of the opinion that the Coalition's strategy until now was either wrong, or there were behind-the-scenes political games.

Mr. Cîrstoiu had no chance of winning, moreover, his candidacy was not really supported by PSD and PNL. What was wanted, hard to say. I think it is more about political games and not electoral interest. What is wanted from now on. It seems rather to limit the proportions of the failure regarding the parliamentary elections and the political vote for the PSD-PNL alliance in Bucharest. I don't think that anyone from the two parties hopes to win the Capital with their candidates. And I have the courage to say that today, although we know the candidates, we do not know how strongly the two parties will support their own candidates. There are still question marks regarding what PSD and PNL want in the Capital in this context, and it would not be a big surprise if part of PSD gave their support or showed their support, of course not publicly, but in the space of closed doors, for Cristian Popescu Piedone, just as PNL might not show its support for Nicușor Dan and support him”declared Adi Zăbava.

“Tonce the initial strategy was invalidated by the reality on the ground and political leaders had to adapt along the way. The campaign had a malfunction, many errors were made and we can see this today, when four weeks after the launch of Mr. Doctor's campaign we do not even know of a major proposal for Bucharest. It is not the fault of Dr. Cîrstoiu, the campaign simply did not start with force, but with the handbrake pulled by the most experienced“, stated Valeriu Turcan.