The nomination raised controversies inside and outside USL. Victor Ponta is expected to make a decision today.
PNL’s National Political Bureau decided last Friday to nominate the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies’ Culture Committee Gigel Stirbu for the position of Culture Minister. Stirbu will replace Liberal Daniel Barbu, who resigned last Thursday following calls to step down after he said that the budget of the National Programme for Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS is too big as against cultural festivals.
The Liberal leader Crin Antonescu said that the decision was taken with unanimity. He explained that Stirbu is at his second MP term and that he enjoys ‘full confidence”, as one of the persons that ‘delivered on all levels”, Agerpres reports.
Antonescu also said that Premier Victor Ponta has been informed about PNL’s nomination for Culture Minister office.
A Theology graduate and former priest, Gigel Stirbu said in his first press statement after the nomination that his experience as secretary of state within the Ministry of Culture is recommending him for the job. “I think that I don’t have to be a double Nobel winner to be able to be minister. I am convinced I can deliver to the task at hand and I will prove it to you”, Gigel Stirbu said. Contested by former Culture Minister Andrei Plesu, Gigel Stirbu reacted: “I am so very proud of my name and I thank my parents for the name they gave me”.
Asked what his opinion about the nomination of Stirbu is, Plesu said that he doesn’t know him and that he has never heard of him. “I haven’t heard about this gentleman, and for such a position I suppose that we should have characters with notoriety in the culture area”.
“In my view, Gigel is very suitable name for a European office. Here it is full of Gigels in the administration. An extra- Gigel doesn’t even matter”.
In his turn, Social democrat Deputy Radu Popa sent an open letter to the PNL leader asking him to reflect over the fact that the Culture Minster, a position held in history by great Romanian culture personalities such as Titu Maiorescu and Nicolae Iorga, should not be held today by a Liberal for whom the grammar is not ‘the biggest dilemma of his career.’
In the past, Stirbu has formulated a bill of law regarding plagiarism. He stressed however that the bill was not written by him, but that he endorsed it in his capacity of lawmaker. “It is a bill initiated by the Romanian Office for Copy Rights (…) that had to implement an European directive dated back to 2001, and which Romania should have to introduce in its national legislation by the end of the year”, Stirbu said. He mentioned that after talking with Liberal leader Antonescu about his nomination as Culture Minister, he asked the Senate to drop the piece of legislation.
Support for Stirbu and the amnesty law…
Crin Antonescu said that the Social Democrat partners did not put any conditions in order to accept Stirbu’s nomination, namely they did not ask for the backing of the amnesty bill. Victor Ponta confirmed Antonescu’s statement, saying that it is not fair to be asked to state his position regarding Stirbu’s nomination for the moment. He said that all he knows is that Stirbu was nominated by PNL and that he is going to talk with the Liberals about it. Ponta’s reaction came after PSD VP Paul Stanescu (Olt County Council President) told gandul.info that he personally called Stirbu on the phone to congratulate him but Stirbu told him that premier Ponta did not endorse his nomination.