PM Ponta awaiting Antonescu’s OK to appoint ministers proposed by PNL


PNL leaders were expected to convene the party’s Permanent National Bureau last evening in order to take a decision concerning the situation within USL.

Victor Ponta’s and Crin Antonescu’s political war and war of egos seems to be endless. Although they claim they do not want to govern one without the other, neither the PSD President nor the PNL President seem willing to take a step back. The failure of the two rounds of negotiations that took place within USL and the intransigence lately shown by the PNL President are just two of the reasons that determined PSD President Victor Ponta yesterday to announce his intention of preparing the documents for the appointment of the four ministers proposed by the Liberals (Klaus Iohannis – Interior Ministry; Eugen Nicolaescu – Finance Ministry; Cristian Busoi – Health Ministry; and Teodor Atanasiu – Economy Ministry) and to forward them to the Presidency, provided Antonescu gives his OK at the end of the PNL leadership’s meeting scheduled last evening.
In what concerns Iohannis, Ponta talked solely about the Interior Ministry’s portfolio, without referring to the office of Deputy Prime Minister that the Liberals want.

The day before, the Premier had expressed his hope, on Antena 3, that a solution to the current crisis within USL would be found, labeling it a “minor” crisis and adding that “nothing irrevocable happened.” He pointed out that the proposal of appointing Daniel Constantin as Deputy Premier, in case of an ample government reshuffling, came from him exclusively, not from Dan Voiculescu like Antonescu claims. In this context, the PSD President called on his Liberal colleague not to opt for changing the government formula, and on the PNL members and voters to stick alongside PSD within USL in order to ensure good governance. Asked what USL’s chances to remain united are, on a scale of 1 to 100, Ponta answered: “I believe they are very high. 90.”
Antonescu: Ponta should resign if he wants to form another gov’t without PNL
The PNL President held his ground however, stating that Ponta will not be able to appoint the Liberal ministers because “he cannot do that by force.” Prior to that statement, Antonescu had stated on B1 TV that Premier Victor Ponta should resign if he wants to form another government that would not include PNL. Ponta replied: “When that will be called for; until then let’s offer stability.”
Asked whether the “firm mandate” he received on Sunday evening from PNL leaders also means a possible breaking up of USL, he pointed out that the discussion is not waged in these terms. “So the issue of PNL leaving the government, running away from the government, is not raised. Not because we would like to stay where the dishes are served, no, but because Mr. Ponta was not the one who took us in government,” Antonescu added. In his view Ponta wants to keep PNL within the government in a “marginal, dependent, semi-vassal” position, stating that this is not acceptable for the Liberals. Moreover, the head of the PNL expressed his belief that the Premier “profoundly disliked the idea” that the Liberals proposed the changing of some ministers. He added that Iohannis is neither an economist nor a finance man, so “he has no place being at the Finance Ministry.”
PNL Honourary President Mircea Ionescu Quintus considers that PNL leaving the government would be “a mistake” and labels the situation within USL as “a crisis of egos.”
The PC option
Thought to be the “bone of contention” in the war between Ponta and Antonescu, PC President Daniel Constantin stated yesterday that Liberal Klaus Iohannis can be Interior Minister, and will take over the office of Deputy Prime Minister too when an agreement on the government reshuffle is reached within the USL. “I don’t think we should dig our feet in right now – either the Deputy Prime Minister or nothing. I didn’t do that,” Constantin said.  “I don’t believe personal ambitions should reflect in political decisions. It seems to me we are stuck in the personal ambition of two or three PNL leaders.” The PC leader pointed out that both he and Ponta have made “a great deal of concessions” for two years in order for USL to work, reiterating that the party he leads gave up the office of Deputy Prime Minister it was entitled to as per the Center Right Alliance’s (ACD) protocol. The ACD was formed by PNL and PC.

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