Antonescu, Johannis resign from PNL helm

Liberals’ leadership consequently tenders collective resignation. Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu was kicked out of the liberal’s National Political Bureau. Party leaders vote to affiliate PNL ith the European People’s Party (EPP).

The poor results registered by PNL in the May 25 elections, far below the party leadership’s expectations, have generated a wave of reactions on the political stage, but also surprising decisions, the exception to that being solely Crin Antonescu’s resignation from the party’s leadership. The leadership of the National Liberal Party tendered its collective resignation yesterday, but outgoing Antonescu is to hold the position of the party’s interim chairman until a congress is organized, political sources told Agerpres. According to these sources, after the meeting of PNL’s National Political Bureau (BPN), the party’s Standing Delegation will convene to decide the date of the congress. Likewise, the PNL leadership voted against collaboration with PSD, the aforementioned sources added.
The Liberal leadership’s meeting was not devoid of incidents, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu being kicked out of the meeting as a result of a proposal filed by Ludovic Orban and adopted by the BPN. According to that proposal, the former Liberal premier is no longer member of that party.
PNL President Crin Antonescu said, yesterday morning, before the meeting of the PNL’s National Political Bureau, that he took responsibility for the failure in the European Parliament elections. “With a result of 15 percent, PNL cannot be satisfied, it is a result beneath our expectations. Not reaching our target is a failure, which, as President in the first place and before anyone else, I take responsibility for. I am keeping my word (…) and in the meeting of the Central Political Bureau I shall announce it and we shall take the decisions,” Antonescu said, quoted by Agerpres. Asked if he would resign from PNL, Antonescu answered: “There is no doubt,” adding that the party president does not resign before the press, but before his party.

Also yesterday, and also before PNL’s BPN meeting, Sibiu Mayor Klaus Johannis announced his resignation from the position of first vice president, as well as that of BPN member. “Given PNL’s score in Sunday’s elections, and I mean here particularly the results in Sibiu and nationwide that are poor as well, I am informing you that this morning I resigned from my position as PNL First Vice President and my position within the party’s Political Bureau. I have informed the party’s president about this move,” Johannis told a media briefing in Sibiu. We point out that in the May 25 European Parliament elections PNL obtained 17.91 percent in Sibiu, while the PSD+UNPR+PC Alliance obtained 31.19 percent.
Social-Democratic Party (PSD) President and Prime Minister Victor Ponta said that the only surprise in what concerns the high-level resignations within PNL is the resignation of Klaus Johannis, not commenting on the resignation of PNL President Crin Antonescu. “The only surprise, to be honest, is the resignation of Mr. Johannis, which was generated by an outcome for which I thank my PSD colleagues in Sibiu. The fact that they won overwhelmingly in the county and the city alike was normal to generate this reaction from Johannis. The political message is very clear: those who do not understand the message conveyed by the electorate, including this fabulous score of Mircea Diaconu, are condemned to lose the elections,” Ponta said before a meeting of the Social-Democratic Union (USD). He added that the Social Liberal Union (USL) has always meant a party alliance, not a personal alliance, adding that it is formed by anti-Basescu political forces. “I think Mr. Tariceanu, a true Liberal, put it very clearly: ‘Yes to the Right, No to Basescu’,” said Ponta.
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu said the resignation of Klaus Johannis from his position as PNL First Vice President is an implicit acknowledgment of a failure. He argued that the resignation of Johannis from the PNL leadership has to be analyzed in the context of PNL’s electoral score in the May 25 European Parliament elections. “Seeking other explanations is a mistake that in no way can mitigate the outcome of yesterday’s (Sunday’s) elections. They should step aside because the harshest penalty came from the citizens,” said Tariceanu.
PSD spokesperson Catalin Ivan stated that PSD is not interested in Crin Antonescu’s resignation from the helm of PNL, but in who will be PNL’s new president and what decisions he will take, pointing out that the Social-Democrats maintain their offer of restoring USL. PNL Honorary President Mircea Ionescu Quintus claimed that Antonescu’s immediate resignation from the helm of the party gives him “big chances” as a presidential candidate, and added that any right-wing alliance is welcome.
Right-wing parties must unite in anti-PSD front, Antonescu says
On the other hand, Crin Antonescu said after the announcement of the first results of the MEP elections that the right-wing parties will have to unite their forces and efforts in “an anti-PSD front” with a view to the presidential elections in the autumn, mentioning that this is an emergency from his point of view. “PNL is … the strongest opposition forces at the moment against PSD and against the Government, and the political horizon is a fight between the left and the right. In this respect, PNL has no hesitation to take the reins of the fight from the right side of the political panel,” said Antonescu. He said that the proposal that the future PNL MEPs should join the European People’s Party (EPP) is triggered by this target as well: “The right side must unite in Europe, the right side must unite their forces in Romania.”
PDL chairman Vasile Blaga claims that PDL will talk to PNL in the upcoming weeks about cooperation and said that “a merger is out of the question” because “the parties are not the personal property of the party chairpersons.”

Radu Stroe excluded from PNL
Former Minister of the Interior, MP Radu Stroe was excluded from PNL yesterday. The decision was made by the Standing Delegation, with an overwhelming majority. “There were 42 votes, mine included, against the exclusion, 12 abstentions and 95 in favour,” said Radu Stroe, quoted by at the end of the session. “It seems to me that there is not much to hope for in this party,” added Stroe, saying that he is an independent deputy “for the time being.” Inquired whether he thinks of registering with PSD, he answered: “I am considering!”
According to Hotnews, Stroe told journalists he was expelled from PNL because he wanted the party to stay in USL, to be a ruling party. “I don’t understand the way PNL is heading. The attitude towards Mr. Tariceanu is not elegant at all. He remains one of the oldest Liberals after all”, Stroe said.

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