Nicusor Dan, the candidate of Save Romania Union (USR) for mayor of Bucharest, one of the most important positions in the local administration, has reportedly secured the support of the National Liberal Party (PNL), the governing party in Romania, for the elections that will take place this summer, according to political sources quoted by G4Media.ro.
Liberal leader Ludovic Orban, Romania’s acting prime minister, officially announced his support for Nicusor Dan in a press conference on Thursday, February 27. "Our fundamental objective is to ensure a local government of Bucharest that offers solutions that stand for the major problems of Bucharest, from traffic to pollution. I am convinced that Nicusor Dan is the most suitable candidate for achieving the two fundamental objectives of the PNL: to liberate Bucharest from the despotic rule of the PSD and to ensure good governance of Bucharest," Orban said.
With the support of both USR and PNL, Nicusor Dan could become the single candidate of the center-right parties for mayor of Bucharest, with high chances of defeating current mayor Gabriela Firea, supported by the Social Democratic Party (PSD). The Popular Movement Party (PMP) of former president Traian Basescu, also announced it would support Nicusor Dan’s candidacy as a single candidate of the right-wing parties, according to Hotnews.ro.
Nicusor Dan’s main challenger is Vlad Voiculescu, supported by PLUS – the party of former prime minister Dacian Ciolos and USR’s alliance partner. Voiculescu and Dan have had several negotiations in recent weeks, as USR and PLUS were expected to decide which of the two would run as the candidate of the alliance.
Voiculescu proposed Nicusor Dan a protocol so that they would run together, one for mayor and the other one for deputy mayor. However, they failed to agree on who would run for the top seat. Vlad Voiculescu told G4Media.ro that he would be greatly disappointed to find that Nicusor Dan has been negotiating with PNL behind his back.
Nicusor Dan, at his third attempt to win the Bucharest mayor seat
Nicusor Dan, 50, is a Romanian mathematician and civic activist. He got two gold medals for Romania at the International Mathematics Olympiad (in 1987 and 1988) and studied at one of the most prestigious universities in France – Ecole Normale Superieure. He also got a Ph.D. in mathematics in France.
Dan returned to Romania in 1998 and created a new university on the model of French universities. He also started a civic association.
In 2006, he launched the Save Bucharest Association, a civic organization aimed at saving Bucharest’s architectural heritage, threatened by new real estate developments. In 2012, he ran for Bucharest mayor as an independent and got the fourth-highest score, with 8.48% of the votes.
In June 2015, he launched the political platform Save Bucharest Union (USB), with which he ran in the local elections in 2016. He got the second-highest score, after PSD’s Gabriela Firea. Moreover, USB got about 25% of the Bucharesters’ votes, surpassing established parties such as the National Liberal Party (PNL), and emerging as the second-biggest political force in Romania’s capital.
Encouraged by this success, USB joined forces with other new local parties that appeared in Romania’s biggest cities and launched the Save Romania Union (USR), which obtained the third-highest score in the parliamentary elections in December 2016.
Nicusor Dan then resigned from USR in 2017 after disagreements with other party leaders related to the USR agenda.
In 2019, USR decided to support Nicusor Dan in the elections for Bucharest mayor.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / Ilona Andrei)