Facing humiliating defeat in the Romanian capital, ruling coalition withdraws ‘millionaire doctor’ candidate

Alianţa Dreapta Unită dă startul strângerii de semnături pentru alegerile europarlamentare şi locale, în Piața Universității din București, 17 martie 2024. Inquam Photos / George Călin

Facing a humiliating defeat in the Romanian capital, the ruling coalition withdrew its joint candidate on Tuesday and replaced him with their own candidates.

A poll released on Monday put their former candidate, millionaire doctor Catalin Cirstoiu ,49, in third position with just 10.1% of the vote. As the electoral campaign got underway, he failed to muster support for the government.

In an overnight meeting that went on for 13 hours, the Social Democrats and Liberals couldn’t agree to a second joint candidate. They agreed to field their own candidates: the Social Democrats will run with Gabriela Firea, herself a former mayor and the Liberals are supporting Energy Minister Sebastian Burduja. They have both agreed not to attack each other for the sake of coalition unity.

It was not immediately clear what effect the move would have on the race beyond opening it.

Monday’s latest poll showed current mayor  Nicusor Dan winning the local elections with 46.1% of the votes – at a relatively thin margin of only five percentage points ahead of his rival Cristian Popescu Piedone (41.1%). Firea could outperform Cirstoiu and also could take votes from Piedone which would help Dan, her old rival.

The poll was  carried out by Verifield for Nicusor Dan from April 10-17 with a  2.3 % margin of error.

Romania hold local and European Parliament elections in June, presidential elections in September and parliamentary elections in December.

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