Johannis claims he will not run for president instead of Antonescu

The liberal nevertheless admitted that he wants a position in the next government,
if the PNL leader becomes head of state.

The first vice-president of PNL, Klaus Johannis said Wednesday evening on B1 tv, that he will not the candidate of his party in the presidential elections at the end of this year, but admitted he wants a position in the next government, if Crin Antonescu wins the supreme dignity in the state, after the presidential elections of this fall. “I said it whenever I had the opportunity and I was asked: when I came to PNL, I came to support Crin Antonescu, not replace him (…) in the presidential elections. This is not a matter of discussion, because it is out of question,” Johannis stated, quoted by Agerpres.
The first vice-president of PNL claims that Victor Ponta’s plan to run for president is nothing new, but declared himself surprised of the delay of a formal announcement with this regard by the premier. “(…) This idea appeared early in 2013, at latest. Hard to say why Mr. Ponta did not want be to be vice-premier. (…) I became quickly aware that they were not keen to have us there. I can imagine that some people did not like this at all, maybe because of my direct way of approaching many matters, I could have upset some people,” Johannis said, referring to Ponta’s refusal to nominate him as vice-premier, which led to the break-up of USL earlier this spring. On the other hand, Johannis does not find as opportune a new suspension of President Traian Basescu, an idea recently advanced by Ponta, which he described as “an odd idea, a campaign futility.”
Antonescu, willing to give Johannis control over PNL
During the same TV show, Crin Antonescu said that PM Victor Ponta contemplated for long time the idea that BNR chief Mugur Isarescu could become the next president of Romania. “It was clear enough that Mr. Ponta has never seriously accepted that the presidency of Romania could go to another politician, like me, whom he said he was supporting. This does not necessarily mean that he had made his mind, or that he wanted to be a candidate himself. I believe that he contemplated for long time the Isarescu hypothesis, a neutralised Isarescu who would do his restrained attributions at Cotroceni, while Mr. Ponta and PSD ruled the country,” Antonescu mentioned.
The liberal blamed the Ponta government for the “modest governance, without personality, which gives no options.” He also firmly rejected the idea of restoring the USL, still advocated by the leaders of PSD, starting with PM Ponta, saying that he has “no reason” to see a restoration of the PNL-PSD political alliance: “USL failed, alas, and I can find no reason for restoring this alliance.” Asked about a possible coalition of political forces against PSD, he answered that he is not necessarily the adept of new institutionalised alliances, but rather of rallying political forces around leaders, depending on political moments.
On the other hand, Antonescu said that, if he resigns – as he repeatedly assured – in case PNL does not obtain a good score in the European elections of May 25, Johannis is the person that would take over the top position in PNL, as provided by the statute. Plus, he said that, when the next congress of PNL will be held, “it is almost impossible” that he will run for party president again.
Ludovic Orban: Collaboration between PNL and PDL is certain
PNL Deputy Ludovic Orban said yesterday, at Adevarul Live, that all conditions exist for collaboration between PNL and PDL in Parliament, but also with regard to supporting the EPP candidate for the European Commission. “We should not rule out the possibility that the liberal group accedes to the EPP group. The large majority of liberal lawmakers that form the liberal group represent center-right parties. The interest of EPP is that the group of liberal MEPs supports their candidate for the presidency of EP in the second round,” Orban mentioned. In his opinion, a first step regarding the PNL- PDL collaboration could materialise through the support announced by democrat-liberals for the no-confidence motion which the liberals will initiate soon in Parliament. However, he believes that alliances do not work in Romania. “I think a merger should be done,” Ludovic Orban added. On the other hand, he does not believe that Johannis could replace Antonescu in the presidential elections this fall. “I consider that Mr. Antonescu is the only suitable presidential candidate, perceived as a presidential candidate with chances to win.”

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