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The PDL leader accuses his challenger in the internal election of putting pressure on local organisations to get their votes ahead of the Congress due on March 23. Udrea claims USL had rather Blaga won.
The internal PDL conflict is stepping up ahead of the March Congress called to elect new leaders for the party. The main battle seems to be fought between the two candidates for president: current leader Vasile Blaga and Elena Udrea, ex-Minister of Development and Tourism, who has President Traian Basescu’s support.
The National Standing Bureau (BPN) of PDL yesterday adopted an appeal document going out to the party organisations and all Democrat-Liberal members, who were asked ‘to stop all attempt to externalise and distort an internal election campaign that should be conducted with maximum responsibility for the party’. The document was read out by PDL Vice President Radu F. Alexandru, during a press conference. He pointed out that any attack on a colleague, any untrue assertion released via so-called sourced, any intervention made from outside the party would just manage to compromise PDL.
Yesterday, before the weekly National Standing Bureau meeting, Blaga made an unprecedented attack on his challenger, calling her assertions suggesting an agreement between himself and USL ‘an unfair approach’. ‘She (Elena Udrea – a/n) is somewhat familiar with the ins and outs of USL, because she as been with both PSD and PNL. I can assure you that, as I never sold the party – and that could be seen in the election years – I will continue to operate in the same way without a problem,’ Blaga said, according to Mediafax.
On the other hand, he noted he would invite Udrea to the meeting of the PDL Steering College on Friday, so that she can see for herself that the press reports suggesting pressure being put on mayors on her behalf checked out. The Democrat-Liberal claims those are statements made by organisation presidents who claim to have been called ‘by a gentleman speaking for the Misses’ (Elena Udrea – a/n).
The PDL leader showed a slightly different attitude towards Traian Basescu, for whom he had the following message: ‘I respect the president’s feelings. However, I remind him that it’s so much easier to destroy than build and he knows that so well,’ Blaga said. He noted he had not phoned Traian Basescu to let him know about his intention to stand for election as PDL president again ad that they had last spoken just before Christmas, when the president told him he was no longer interested in PDL. Blaga’s reaction was to things the president had said Sunday night about the fact that he had picked up Elena Udrea’s call, who wanted to let him know she would run for president of PDL, noting that Blaga, on the other hand, had not done it. Asked if it would be right to say that he supported Udrea in the internal election more than Vasile Blaga, Basescu answered: ‘I support a solution that can give PDL prospects. What the solution is, that is to be decided by the participants in the Convention and by the people who, for now, are in the competition. But in no way can I endorse a solution I know would bury PDL.’
Several Democrat Liberal leaders met at the party headquarters Sunday night, invited by Vasile Blaga, to discuss the organisation of the forthcoming congress as well as the recent attacks by ‘some colleagues on others’. Originally coming down via unidentified sources, the information was then verified by PDL member Cezar Preda. Mediafax quotes PDL sources as having said that PDL leaders also discussed President Basescu’s recent attacks and that Blaga told county party leaders that PDL was not going to ‘engage in a discussion’ with the president of the country and that ‘the only reaction will probably be to fight back if the president makes any more brutal interventions in the internal competition’. ‘We have not recanted our partnership with Traian Basescu and, during the referendum campaign (summer of 2012, president impeachment – a/n), we supported the rule of law while other ones were not even appearing in public debates or rallies (hint at Elena Udrea – a/n),’ Blaga said, according to the quoted sources. He told the present PDL members that the party would need to be rebuilt ‘from grass roots’, noting that its strength resided in ‘a strong team’. The PDL president also said that, in 2014, PDL could make a score of 25 per cent in the European Parliament election and could still have a notable presidential candidate, one who could ‘play in the final’.
‘Let’s have people for one to one tacking of USL leaders! We should promote people who are very good at speaking in public and who are able to engage in theme debates with USL.’ Afterwards, Vasile Blaga said yesterday that he had told the organisation leaders during the meeting they had had Sunday night that their opinion on a certain motion during the National Convention should not be imposed on the members of their branches. Some of the Democrat-Liberals present for the conclave Sunday night were ex-PM Theodor Stolojan, Prime Vice President Cezar Preda, Targu Mures Mayor Dorin Florea, PDL Timis leader Constantin Ostaficiuc, Vice President Raluca Turcan and former Transport Minister Anca Boagiu.
Udrea attacks Blaga
On the other hand, Elena Udrea says on Facebook that 22 million Romanians know USL, Antena 3 TV and Dan Voiculescu want Vasile Blaga as President of PDL. ‘I can see that Dan Voiculescu has unleashed in his patented style a press campaign against me after I had announced my candidacy for head of PDL. Reports such as those on mayors I have allegedly called up and bribed to support me at the National Convention are press dirty attacks specific for Voiculescu’s trust. (…). The question is why?’
PM Victor Ponta yesterday mocked Udrea, saying that not everyone in USL supported Blaga and that, personally, he, just like President Traian Basescu, also supported her. ‘Blaga does not exist. (…) Elena Udrea, indeed, represents PDL and Traian Basescu. Mr. Blaga represents nobody, except perhaps a past that, I admit, would like to forget,’ Ponta said.
Blaga’s response came yesterday, when he said he was not surprised that Elena Udrea and Victor Ponta had been speaking the same language for a long time. ‘I have seen that Mr. Ponta is also calling us names and even has personal preferences regarding the internal party competition. (…) I am asking Mr. Ponta to take care of PSD, because he has a lot of work to do in his party and government, seeing how he’s ruining the country,’ Blaga said to the PSD leader.