Plushunian local election, December 2019
5 out of 7 Mayor seats
Snap elections for 5 out of the 7 Mayors of the municipalities and communes of Plushunia were held on 22 and 29 December 2019, following the Plushunian Government's decision to trigger snap local elections after the November 2019 administrative reform. The election was held using a two-round system and resulted in a landslide victory for the Democratic Party (who held 4 out of its 5 Mayor seats) and for the PNL + PNȚCD + PC Alliance (who gained two seats). The election suffered from very low turnout, likely caused by election fatigue (a local election with two rounds and 2 legislative elections having taken place during the preceding 4 months).
In November 2019, Purcel V cabinet started a large-scale administrative reform which modified several administrative boundaries and changed the local administration of Plushunia by eliminating the Regional and Local Councils and re-centralising the administration of the country (in a bid to reduce the number of Plushunians working in the local public administration), while also placing more power in the hands of the Mayors of the communes and municipalities of Plushunia. Due to the local administration greatly changing after the reform, the Government decided to hold snap local elections in late December in order to elect new local authorities, which will be able to act according to the reformed administrative law (since the pre-election local authorities could only act accordingly to the unreformed administrative law,which was in force at the time of the previous local elections). This was also the first election in which Mayors were elected for 6-month terms.
Candidates and political platforms
The Social Democratic Party
The Social Democrats fielded candidates in all the communes and municipalities of Plushunia, the public face of their campaign being the seasoned left-winger Ursuleț Plușeanu, who was running for Mayor of the Plușeni Municipality. A controversial decision made by the PSD was fielding more radical candidates, with almost no appeal to non-PSD moderate voters (appeal which was needed to win the two-round Mayor elections, since PSD only had around 30% of the votes in polls) in the most important constituencies (Ursuleț Plușeanu in the Plușeni Municipality, former PM Ursu Polarescu in the Unirea Sector), decision which was however motivated by the Social Democrat leader Rilă Slobozeanu, which stated that "these candidates (U. Plușeanu, U. Polarescu) may be more radical, but they are also quite combative, being fierce supporters of their views and having the strength to counter even strong, notorious rivals like Iepuroi Hop". The party's decision turned out to be a misguided one, as the opponents of the Social Democrat candidates in the said constituencies had broader appeal, which helped them defeat most PSD candidates in the second round.
The Democratic Party
At the time of the local elections, the Democrats were still coalescing from the difficult period of autumn 2019, so the party viewed the local elections as an opportunity to take the lead in Plushunian politics and establish themselves as the strongest political force in the country. Thus, they decided to invest large amounts of financial and human resources in the campaign, fielding well-known, prestigious candidates most constituencies (Democratic leader and former PM Iepuroi Hop in the Plușeni Municipality, former Deputy PM Judy Hop in New Plușeni, former Legislative President/President of the Parliament Iepuraș Slobozan in Ialomița and well-known and appreciated mayors Peter Hop and Ollie Caracatița in the Unirea, respectively Plușurilor sectors). The party ran on a largely Keynesian platform, focusing on public investments in infrastructure and housing in order to increase economic activity.
The PNL + PNȚCD + PC Alliance
At the time of the election, the PNL+PNȚCD+PC Alliance (informally known as the Liberal Alliance) was enjoying a high level of popularity, largely due to the high economic growth resulting from the Liberal-led Purcel V cabinet's decision to liberalise and reform the Plushunian economy, drastically reducing state control and involvement and fully transitioning to the free-market mode (the popularity being though largely lost during January and February 2020, when the economic growth stalled and many corruption cases involving Liberal politicians were exposed). Thus, the Liberal campaign for the local election relied on the achievements of the government to advantage its Mayor candidates, with the alliance even fielding some of the more popular ministers as candidates in several constituencies (such as Pisica Plușeanu for Mayor of the Municipality of Plușeni, Didi Purcel in the Unirea sector and Cățel Plușeanu in New Plușeni, a rumor regarding a candidacy of Deputy PM Ludovic Purcel for Mayor of Plușeni having also circulated for a while until the potential candidate declined any intentions to run in the local elections). The Alliance had its candidates run on a classical liberal platform emphasising de-bureaucratisation and the continuation of the economic reform on a local level, Liberal leaders such as then-PM Ghiță Purcel insisting that "the Government has been pushing the country on its way to reform during the past three months, however there can be no true reform and no true Liberal administration without Liberal mayors.".
The National Democratic Party
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- Two of the Democratic Party's seats were not contested in this election