Why did Dancila get a swollen head? The third emancipation in Dragnea’s era
Dragnea’s favorite expression when it comes to PSD members who end up flexing their muscles once they get to power is that they get „a swollen head”. Dragnea is right, Dăncilă did indeed get a « swollen head ». The shy lady from Videle is strongly backed by Paul Stanescu, the dissenting baron who narrowly avoided an exclusion from the party.
After a slow but certain acclimation in the PM’s chair, Dăncilă feels the time has come to distance herself from Dragnea and to prepare a decisive attack in case the leader maximo gets a conviction from the High Court or registers a bad result in the EU elections.
Dăncilă’s coolness towards Dragnea has become obvious. The PM has contradicted her party leader on all major issues: the emergency decree on justice, the government reshuffle, the referendum, and even the presidential candidacy. And all this in a week’s span.
Dăncilă’s break away from Dragnea has started a long time ago. In April 2018, when only very few people credited her with any amount of autonomy, we wrote that Viorica Dăncilă had threatened to resign because of Dragnea’s infernal pressures related to the emergency decree on amnesty and pardon. The chasm between the two has steadily increased since then, directly proportional to Dragnea’s despair in court.
The pressures for the emergency decree were but a small part of Dancila’s willingly adopted Inferno in Victoria Palace. Harsh talk, offending jokes from the „Scroviştea circle”, and the daily pressure from Dragnea’s Cerberi – Anca Alexandrescu, Darius Vâlcov or Andreea Păstârnac – were on every day’s menu. But let us not feel to sorry for this situation: no one forced her to live in these conditions, the choice was hers.
For several months, Dăncilă has been brewing a plan against Dragnea. Paul Stănescu became a natural ally in this: they have long family relationship, they speak the same language, they are united by their resentment of Dragnea, and their aims overalp. The first steps have already been taken: Anca Alexandrescu’s ousting from the government and total disengagement from Dragnea’s campaign.
Dăncilă wants to continue being PM, and Paul Stănescu has convinced her that he would keep her in this position if he took over the party. The plan has several steps and depends on several factors: either Liviu Dragnea’s conviction, a bad PSD score in elections, or results below those of the PNL.
After a poor PSD election result, Dăncilă needs Dragnea’s marginalization and exposure of the party’s vulnerability to his leadership. Local barons are not willing to put up with political ballast ahead of the May 2020 local elections, they need a leader to show them victorious prospects. Currently, they are in waiting, as underlined by the astounding silence with which the party (with two exceptions) has met Dragnea’s announcement on Tuesday, according to which on Sunday evening after the election he could make his presidential candidacy known.
The move will come in the first CEX after elections, when Dragnea will have to settle a possible weak score (if any).
Unlike Sorin Grindeanu and Mihai Tudose, Dăncilă knows that she enjoys special immunity: Iohannis will not nominate another PSD PM. The president announced this on Wednesday, giving Dancilla a big hand in the internal PSD struggle that the party leaders already smell. As Dragnea can not initiate Viorica Dăncilă’s removal because the party would lose the PM position, the PSD leader’s freedom of political movement is far more limited than in the past years. This is another reason why Dancila feels the wind in her sails. Power
A short note: Dăncilă has carefully built her profile as a Iohannis opponent, to be able to use it as an argument against those who have jumped to accuse her of collaborationism. She complained more than necessary for not being invited at the Sibiu summit and got herself criticized for wanting to move Romania’s embassy to Israel to Jerusalem.
Dăncilă’s and Stănescu’s plan is simple: once Dragnea is removed, Dăncilă will take over PSD as interim leader. She is the formal deputy president and number two in the party, so logic says that until a future congress she would be leading the party. In parallel, an intestine struggle would arise amongst the many barons who for years have dreamed of the party presidency. An intestine struggle that would consume all of PSD’s energies and, for a good deal of time, would weaken the pressure of the party’s already condemned leader and, equally important, on the main economic mechanisms.
In fact, yesterday, for the first time, Viorica Dăncilă spelled out that she was number two in the party. In an interview with Antena 3, in which she has restated her coolness towards Dragnea, Dăncilă referred to herself as the PSD’s deputy president. A new, emboldened tone, not heard before from a PM used to play the role of the straw woman.
For Paul Stanescu, the internal struggle will be the perfect opportunity to take over the power in the party. Of all the barons, he has the best relationship with Dăncilă, plus he could return to the government as the Minister of Development, aka the man with the money. Last but not least, he has a possible solution for the presidential PSD candidacy up his sleeve: Gabriela Firea. The current Mayor of Bucharest owes Stanescu for his enormous political power, which practically propelled her in the mayoral race of 2016. Let us not forget that Firea and Stanescu are two of the three signatories of the famous anti-Dragnea letters last autumn. One more thing: Dragnea himself practically paved the way to Paul Stănescu, the powerful Olt baron, by excluding Adrian Ţuţuianu and Marian Neacşu, two of the possible candidates for the party leadership, from the party .
In three days we shall find out if the Dăncilă and Stănescu’s plan has chances to succeed. It depends on Sunday’s vote outcome. Meanwhile, Dăncilă continues to completely ignore Dragnea’s agenda, she does not go to any of his campaign events. This is an unprecedented fact. The prime minister is busy building the image of a political character preoccupied with economic goals and who does not want to get involved in judiciary battles.
This is also favored by more or less discrete signals from Brussels. Dăncilă has real dialogue with several European Commission leaders, and she has perfectly understood that the EU would enormously enjoy a break with the pariah PSD leader.
On Sunday night, as the first official results will be trickling in, we will know if Dăncilă is ready for an attack on Dragnea. If the PSD score will be satisfactory, the prime minister will resume her role as a poor straw woman, whose maximum form of dissent is the blocking of the emergency decree on amnesty and pardon.
Traducerea: Ruxandra Stoicescu
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