The candidate of Romania’s National Liberal Party (PNL) for the Bucharest mayor post, Marian Munteanu announced on April 20 he has withdrawn its candidacy. The leader of the PNL Bucharest branch and former justice minister Catalin Predoiu said he will now run for the post.
Predoiu is the fourth nomination made by PNL in the past months. He previously refused to run for the Bucharest city hall. The inability to find a politician who stands a real chance of winning the local elections in the country’s capital suggests that the PNL, Romania’s second largest party, might find itself in a difficult situation later this year when general elections are organised.
Munteanu withdrew his candidacy only one week after his nomination. He was replacing Ludovic Orban who had withdrawn from the political race after the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) announced it had started a criminal investigation into him for influence peddling. Prior to Orban, the PNL had proposed MEP Cristian Busoi as candidate, but later withdrew him, as polls were showing Orban had more chances of winning the election.
Munteanu’s nomination was controversial from the very beginning. A former member of the Romanian anti-communist resistance and student leader, he was not even a PNL member at the time of his nomination. He has been accused by several NGOs of extremism and anti-Semitism, while local media also wrote that he collaborated with the Communist-era intelligence, the Securitate.
Munteanu denied all the allegations and said that he will prove they are not true.
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