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PM Ponta says he does not perceive Klaus Johannis as his back-up. The mayor of Sibiu says the PM offered to him a ministerial position after the 2012 local election, but he turned it down and would still do the same should he receive a similar offer now.
Klaus Johannis said during a press conference in Sibiu Thursday morning that he was interested in the presidency of PNL after the 2014 presidential election. If PNL leader Crin Antonescu, USL’s candidate, is elected president of the country in next year’s election, Klaus Johannis will not say no to taking over the national leadership of PNL. ‘I may become one of the persons considered for the position by that time. Whether this is the case of not, we shall see. This is not why I came in PNL, but, if this is the case, I will obviously be willing to discuss it,’ Johannis said. At the same press conference, the mayor of Sibiu also said the public administration law was privileging him for being a ‘Saxon mayor’, as he was not a member of a political party, but one of an ethnic association. Johannis noted he would quit being the President of FDGR after obtaining a position in the PNL leadership. He was also asked if he thought FDGR was sustaining a loss by his departure from its leadership. ‘I would be flattered if they said my departure was a loss to them. On the other hand, as FDGR leader in office, I would like to identify solutions for the Forum to continue as well also without me there’, he said. Answering a question about the possibility that several FDGR members might join PNL, Johannis said he knew no concrete cases but, should there be any colleagues willing to follow him, he would like to discuss it with them individually to assess the opportunity of such decision. Johannis also said he hopes the people of Sibiu would understand the move he was making ‘for, rather than against Sibiu’ and noted, answering a question, that there had been no discussions in PNL yet on whether Sibiu should become the capital of the future Centre Region.Klaus Johannis also said he was not giving up his mayoral office, adding that, ‘if anyone put their hopes in such thing, they are in for a disappointment’. On a Realitatea TV show Wednesday night, Johannis said PM Victor Ponta had proposed to him to take a ministerial portfolio after the 2012 local election, but he had refused and would not accept such an offer this time either. The Sibiu mayor also said he had chosen PNL after talks with President Crin Antonescu as he believed it was the party where he could continue his political career. Johannis added that he thought his entry to PNL would strengthen PNL and its national leadership’s links with Transylvania.
Ponta: Johannis, a right-wing man
Premier Victor Ponta said Wednesday night that he was not looking at the Mayor of Sibiu, Klaus Johannis, as his ‘back-up’. Ponta noted he had not invited Johannis to PSD because he knew the mayor of Sibiu was ‘a man of rightist, Liberal views’. ‘I know you fancy these unrealisable scenarios, but no, I have no such impression and I have said it a number of times. I think you know I and Mr. Johannis have always had a very good relationship, that I have always appreciated him, I see him whenever I travel to Sibiu… In my opinion, he is a very big gain for PNL, first of all, and for USL as a whole. And I’m telling you I’m not planning to be prime minister for the rest of my life, I will be for as long as I can perform well and I have Parliament’s support. There will be another prime minister after me. I don’t know who it will be, but I don’t have any kind of feelings about it… Actually, I do have a feeling, I am very glad that Mr. Johannis has come to PNL and USL and I believe he’s a great asset to us. If I could also convince other personalities of the same value, I would do it any time,’ said the PM. Asked what, in his opinion, would be the role Johannis could play in Romanian political life, Victor Ponta answered: ‘To quote my co-president – Mr. Antonescu – he can be both prime minister and president. (…) I do not mean to speculate, but I think he can actually fill any position. On the other hand, it’s a good thing that, from a somewhat isolationist position – ‘I will just be the mayor of Sibiu, nothing more’ – Mr. Johannis has decided to take again a step into national politics. I think he is a gain for national politics.’ Yesterday, PSD spokesman Catalin Ivan said during a pres conference that there was no such thing as rivalry between PM Victor Ponta and Klaus Johannis, pointing out that PSD did not see him as a threat.
Blaga: Johannis strengthens PNL
PDL leader Vasile Blaga said on Thursday that Klaus Johannis’ joining PDL was ‘making PNL stronger and was not just an image-related move’, but also ‘a very clear manifestation of potential fratricide wars inside USL’, each of the two main parties trying to become stronger. Also on Thursday, ex-PDL President Emil Boc said he wished Sibiu Mayor Klaus Johannis success in the political activity he had decided to pursue and hoped he could carry out his political and administrative projects.