The silent coup against Cîțu: What we know about it, who is…

The silent coup against Cîțu: What we know about it, who is in which camp, why the Liberals want to replace him with Ciucă and what is the possible timeframe for his removal

Just seven months after Ludovic Orban was ousted as head of the National Liberal Party, Florin Cîțu is facing a serious revolt in the party, where the four first vice-presidents have started a strong action to oust him as well. They called on Thursday for the PNL president to resign, citing President Iohannis’ support for their move, but Cîțu refused. Now, the putschists camp wants to organise an extraordinary PNL congress on April 10 to replace Cîțu with Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă.

According to G4Media, this is the first time in recent history that a PNL president has succeeded in rallying a critical mass of central and local leaders against him in such a short time, who want him out of office quickly.

Why some Liberals want to replace Florin Cîțu with Nicolae Ciucă. The main criticism of Cîțu is his alleged undermining of the government and the executive through constant criticism of the PSD, of the ministers and even of the prime minister. The second reproach is related to Cîțu’s extremely poor political rating (5% confidence), which would make him a liability for the party. The third reason for the move is to promote Prime Minister Ciucă to a position of power in the party, to increase his visibility and possibly propel him to a favorable position to run in the presidential elections.

On the other hand, Florin Cîțu criticized the economic and social measures promoted by the Ciucă government under pressure from the PSD, denouncing them as populist and inefficient. He also denounced the failure to meet the investment targets set out in the government program, as well as the attempts to amend the NRRP.

Who’s in each camp. The camp of those who want to see Cîțu out is led by the four first vice-presidents: Lucian Boden, Rareș Bogdan, Gheorghe Flutur and Iulian Dumitrescu. They claim to have a letter signed by 42 presidents of the county organizations demanding Florin Cîțu’s resignation. But Florin Cîțu’s team strongly disputes that 42 organizations would agree to change the party president.

On his side, Florin Cîțu has Dan Vîlceanu, who holds the key position of party secretary general, Alina Gorghiu (head of PNL Argeș), Alin Nica (PNL Timiș) and Monica Anisie (Sector 2).

However, some of the strong county-leaders are undecided and have not joined the party to replace Florin Cîțu, according to G4Media.

Why now. The dissatisfaction of some PNL leaders with Florin Cîțu has grown steadily since the beginning of the year over his criticism of the coalition and the government. The putcist leaders claim that Cîțu’s behaviour is damaging the PNL, just seven months after they themselves almost forcibly installed him as party leader.

The timing of Cîțu’s attempted ouster took into account the relative deadlock on the Ukrainian front, as well as the holidays in the coming Sundays. Romanians will celebrate Catholic Easter (17 April), then Orthodox Easter (24 April), followed by May 1 Sunday. If the attack on Cîțu had been delayed, the Liberals would have had to wait until the end of May.

On the other hand, the Liberals could not launch the anti-Cittu operation earlier because he was out of the country for a week, but also because such a move in the middle of the war in Ukraine would have shown a total lack of responsibility.

Why neither side comes out publicly. For the leaders of the PNL coup, the situation is extremely embarrassing. The current first vice-presidents, plus some of the signatories of the letter, are precisely those who strongly supported Florin Cîțu last year in his fight against Ludovic Orban. A public scandal in which they now accuse Cîțu of poor leadership would have a boomerang effect on these leaders who pushed Cîțu to become president of the PNL. For his part, Florin Cîțu has nothing to answer to publicly for the time being, because the attacks and political meetings are taking place behind the scenes.

What are the steps to oust the PNL president. According to the PNL statute, an extraordinary congress is needed to change the PNL president. The organization of an extraordinary congress can only be decided by the National Council, at the request of the party president (excluded in this case), at the request of the majority of the members of the National Political Bureau (BPN) or of the majority of the presidents of the County Permanent Bureaus.

The PNL party is seeking on Friday to trigger this sequence of events by initially calling a meeting of the Executive Bureau (BEx), which would then request a meeting of the National Council on Sunday April 3rd.

For the Executive Bureau to be convened on Friday at 14.00, as agreed on Thursday by the anti-Citu leaders in a meeting with Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă, it needs either the proposal of President Cîțu (excluded) or the proposal of half plus one of the BEx members. So Friday is the first test for the anti-Cîțu group: whether it can convene the Executive Bureau.

In the meantime, in order to speed up the events, several PNL county organizations decided as early as Thursday evening or Friday morning to organize an extraordinary congress.

Once the Executive Bureau is convened on Friday, it can call for a meeting of the National Council – the body that can then convene the extraordinary congress. The National Council will be the second test of the strength of the anti-Cîțu group. The National Council is made up of members of the National Political Bureau (BEx members plus the presidents of county-level organizations), PNL ministers, PNL MPs and MEPs, presidents of county councils, mayors of municipalities and presidents of internal PNL county-level organizations.

If the anti-Cîțu group of putchists succeeds in organizing the Executive Bureau on Friday April 1, and the National Council on Sunday April 3, the final step to change the PNL president will be the congress they will organize on April 10.



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