Meet Diana Mureșan from Romania
In 2016, Diana Muresan, a young woman who lives in Sibiu, Central Romania, watched as a mathematician, Nicusor Dan, the leader of the “Save Bucharest” movement, swept a third of the mayoral vote in the country’s capital.
“I came to the conclusion that, if I just kept on hoping that someone else will take care of it, it was not going to help. So I followed the wise old words "be the change you want to see in the world," step out and do something yourself, and be part of the change,” Muresan says about that turning point of her life.
Four years down the road, Muresan is heading the local branch of the party Dan created, “Save Romania Union” (USR), now led by a technocratic ex-Minister, Dan Barna, in Sibiu and has become a representative in the city’s municipal council, where the party now holds four out of 23 seats. While now she says she has found her passion in public affairs, four years ago this could not have been farther from the truth.
A young graduate of pharmacology who had just started her own small tourism business with her soon to-be-husband Catalin, the last thing she was thinking of at the time was that she would become a politician. “None of the other parties appealed to me because they practised nepotism. For them, having the right relations with the right people is more important than being competent. I never imagined I would enter politics or that I will have a career as politician but I entered because Romania needed a change,” she says.
Their move into politics was not exactly welcomed by their closest ones. “In the beginning, my family didn't really understand our involvement. Because politics in Romania is not considered something you want to do, that good people don’t get involved in politics – this is the perception here. Our parents and relatives always told us – ok, you are successful people, you have your own business, you've travelled a lot around the world – why do you want to do that?,” Muresan remembers.
This did not dissuade the young politician from becoming more active – on the contrary, it motivated her to become more confident and assertive.
Unlike many other politicians who might be flushed with their relatively quick success, Muresan prefers to take it slow. “I decided to do it step by step. I could have run internally to be a candidate for the EU elections or Parliament in 2016, but I wanted to start from the bottom and learn everything that I can on this step, and then take another step,” she shares.
For her, the "fake it till you make it" approach that many politicians take would not work – she wants to understand the nuts and bolts of local administration so that one day, when she enters Parliament (yes, she does not shy away from her long-term ambitions) she knows how to do good for her constituency.
“I think that, in Romania, people want to see fresh politicians – young and with energy, not the same old ones with big bellies. We are the change that people actually expect in Romania. And I think that people in Romania are ready for more women in politics, and more young people. It is our time now,” Muresan concludes.