Basescu: Ponta and Antonescu – “disasters waiting to happen”, the right wing has no presidential candidates
In an interview for “Adevarul”, President Traian Basescu once again launched a harsh attack directed at Victor Ponta and Crin Antonescu, whom he characterized as “disasters waiting to happen” by saying that PDL leaders, such as Monica Macovei and Elena Udrea, could win against the two co-chairmen of USL in any political debate. Moreover, the Head of State reiterated that the merger between the two right-wing parties will result in a right-wing presidential candidate. On the topic of the Syrian crisis, Basescu proposed a scenario according to which Russia gets Transdniester as compensation for the potential loss of its military base in Syria.
“Ponta is corrupted and a liar”
Asked who he thinks his successor at Cotroceni might be, Basescu answered that Antonescu or Ponta “would both be disasters for Romania”. “When I look at the two leaders of Romania’s largest political structure, USL, I realise that Crin Antonescu would be a disaster for Romania and Victor Ponta would also be a disaster for Romania, as he is immature and willing to lie at any given moment; just take a look at his statements. There is potential in the opposition; there are several valuable persons there, whether we are referring to Monica Macovei, Predoiu or Elena Udrea, the only politician who has been rising in this year’s polls. The president is still unidentifiable. It is true, when I first ran for president, you could not pinpoint who would be president either, that is why I have not given up hope”, he stated.
In relation to Prime Minister Ponta, Basescu revealed that he had had hopes for him, but eventually, he realised “he had no character, was corrupted and a liar” and he acts in the same way as Adrian Nastase, an example of which is the EGO to transfer 3.800 hectares from Insula Brailei to the County Council of Braila. The President also criticised Victor Ponta’s governance, which was marked by “absent-mindedness” when, at the start of the year, he announced that investments would amount to EUR 10 billion and, midyear, he changed the value to over half a billion euros. “How could you be so absent-minded, when people take what you say for granted because you are the Prime Minister, after all, and you cannot juggle figures to make propaganda?”, the President said. In his opinion, despite the 70% percentage, USL “is a weak majority” because it “is dominated by emergency ordinances and is unwilling to revise the Constitution for the country’s best interests”. “They only watch after their own interests. It is a weak majority, weaker than Boc’s, because USL leaders have divergent aspirations. The forces within – of tycoons – are stronger than the leaders’ desire to serve national interest”, Basescu added.
Asked if Romania was ready for a woman president, the Head of State replied: “I know two women who could beat both Ponta and Crin Antonescu at public debates: Monica Macovei and Elena Udrea. They are more consistent than any of those two. (…) It depends on what type of support they have; the right’s political support will be quite consistent”.
In any case, the President believes “the great problem” of right wing leaders at the moment is “not being able to pinpoint who will take command of the right and sticking with that person all the way to the presidential elections”. “I think the last and perhaps best chance of unification for the right is the day after MEP elections. (…) From observing the leaders of larger or smaller rightist parties, I gather that what they need right now is to find a leader to show their support for”, Basescu pointed out.
Scenario: Transdniester as a reward for Russia losing base in Syria
On another topic, Basescu presented a scenario concerning the implications of a possible war in Syria on Romania. Basescu stated that if Russia were to lose its military base in Syria after Assad was removed from the government, then it could be given Transdniester as a reward. Basescu offered Georgia as a past example, namely when Russia was allowed to re-exert its influence after having been defeated in the debate on Kosovo’s independence: “One last scenario: the Assad government falls and the current Front for national freedom takes over. With which sections would that be – Al-Qaida? What happens once Assad falls? The Middle East will explode. Will Russia keep its only military base in the Eastern Mediterranean area? How will the Russian Federation be compensated for losing face? After Kosovo (Kosovo’s declaration of independence, to which Russia was categorically opposed) Georgia was offered as a reward. What would be the most convenient solution at the moment? Transdniester”, Traian Basescu said.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s reaction was to accuse the Head of State of not being brave enough to make a public statement concerning Romania’s stance in relation to Syria. Yesterday, at a press conference, the Prime Minister pointed out that not being brave enough to make public Romania’s stance in relation to the situation in Syria is a great sign of cowardice and perhaps even of corruption; he said he would not do what Traian Basescu did – ask him how much money he received from Bashar al-Assad. Asked if he believes President Basescu should present Romania’s position in relation to the Syria situation before the Parliament, Ponta answered: “I have been, and still am avoiding public disputes with him; Mr Basescu can curse at me and call me anything he likes, I will not answer him back. On the other hand, when it comes to important issues, I have stated, on my own behalf as well as Romania’s, that the current Syrian government must be unequivocally held accountable”.