Everything started with a message posted, at the end of last week, on the Facebook page of the premier, in which he hinted about his intention to withdraw from politics in November, after the presidential elections.
“In November, after we will win this last and vital battle, I can declare myself satisfied with what I achieved! And then I wish to make room in politics to others, younger and less marked by the horrible regime of the last years. And I want to recover as much as I can from the time which, during the last 13 years, I have not dedicated to the family and the other good and beautiful parts of my life,” the premier wrote on FB.
The post sparked all kind of media scenarios about Ponta possibly leaving politics in November, after the presidential elections, especially as the premier did not want to provide any concrete explanation about his statement. In absence of a formal position, everybody interpreted the FB post as he pleased. By far, the most vocals were the liberals. Although they declared that they see the possibility of Ponta stepping back from politics rather as a game of image, the former alliance partners of PSD however say that the premier would make Romania a service if he abandoned politics.
“I do not think that some politicians enter and leave politics whenever they want. (…) I fear that, for some, it will take some 10-15 years,” PNL leader Crin Antonescu said Friday in Sibiu. When he was asked to explain why he claims that Victor Ponta could not exit politics, Antonescu said: “I have neither said it, nor suggested it. I do not know when, if and how, I really don’t know, this is not my business. Let’s be optimistic, maybe he will never leave, or I will not be around anymore, because I will not live 80 years from now. He is young.” Asked if he believes what Ponta said, Antonescu provided a negative answer: “I have depleted my stores of confidence in Mr. Ponta.”
PNL spokeswoman Cristina Pocora claims that the message posted by Victor Ponta on Facebook is “a game of image” used by the premier’s advisors “to impress the crowds with this pathetic-cheesy discourse” generated by the fear from running in the presidential elections.
“After the famous episode of <Farewell PDL! I will go on the sea!> with Traian Basescu, we are witnessing today a new screening of the moment through <Farewell PDL! I go home to Daciana!>, Facebook version, with Victor Ponta”, the PNL spokeswoman ironically said.
Pocora claims Ponta knows that “he has no other option than to become the candidate of barons in the presidential elections and, from a puppet party president, to become a puppet candidate without any chance.” In the context, he conveyed to the premier the message that he might as well resign from office now and leave politics, which would be “a better and more convenient solution that would even bring Romanians to tears.”
The opinion is shared by Deputy Ludovic Orban, who believes that the premier “would make Romania a service if he did not wait the presidential elections and leave politics now.” “I believe that Mr. Ponta would better have left politics before negotiating with Basescu the nomination of prosecutors, because all chief prosecutors of today have been proposed by Victor Ponta. (…) He shares the responsibility for this regime of terror, as he described it,” Orban stated.
The president of PNL Alba, Teodor Atanasiu believes that Ponta considers withdrawing because he is pressured by his party colleagues, but due to a totally different reason than the one invoked by Pocora. “Mr. Ponta seriously considers withdrawing. It is rather late in December, but even then is alright. And he does it out of a very practical and pragmatic reason: PSD is putting him under a strong pressure (…) with the law of pardon and amnesty. Or, Mr. Ponta has another pressure, from the democratic world, of the European Union, which says that he should not be bitten by the snake and issue this law. And then, caught between a rock and a hard place, he yielded and said: <Well, I leave and that’s it.>” the PNL senator said.
The democrat-liberals however do not trust the words of the premier; with PDL leader Vasile Blaga saying that “he lies as he breathes.” Blaga claims that the PM will give up politics anyway next autumn, because he will lose the presidential elections, “which will be won by a representative of the right.”
“He knows that he will find it very hard, impossible to win the Presidency and, same as he did with the liberals, which he threw away like a rotten tooth when he no longer needed them, the same they will do to him,” the PDL leader mentioned.
Dragnea: “Maybe he considers retiring at Cotroceni”
On the other hand, Deputy PM Liviu Dragnea believes that the media had Ponta’s message on FB all wrong, as he did not mean withdrawing from politics, but from “the political dispute and perhaps he considers retiring at Cotroceni after the presidential elections,” Dragnea said.
Former premier Adrian Nastase commented the FB post saying that the head of the government could be pushed to run for president, but he conveys “no definitive message” in that post. Nastase actually believes that Ponta’s announcement about a withdrawal from politics is unclear, because it asks questions and does not provide answers. “First, to the colleagues. (…) He speaks about the project he is committed to ever since I invited him to join my team. I do not believe that he conveys something definitive, rather he defines goals and targets,” Nastase said in an interview granted from prison and aired Saturday in the Q&A show, on Antena 3.
Premier Ponta for two special days in Jerusalem
Premier Victor Ponta informs on Sunday, on his Facebook account, that he spent ‘two special days in Jerusalem’ together with his wife Daciana Sarbu and that he benefited by the hospitality of the family of Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu.
In a different move, Jerusalem Post informs in its online edition that Victor Ponta yesterday morning met President Shimon Peres, whom he assured of his friendship and of the continuation of the partnership between the two states. According to the source, Ponta also talked with the Israeli president about Ukraine and the bilateral relations, and announced that he will return to Israel on a state visit, accompanied by an important delegation that will discuss some agreements with the Israeli side. In his turn, President Peres said that Israel has a unique relation with Romania, whose Jewish community remained active also during the communist era.