PNL: Johannis might replace Antonescu


The first vice-president of PNL, Klaus Johannis said Tuesday in the “Evenimentul Zilei“ (Day’s Event) show on TV that, if the liberals do not achieve their goal set for the elections for the European Parliament, he will take the first position in the party after Antonescu’s resignation.
“In the purely hypothetical case when we do not obtain 20 pc in the European elections, I will automatically take over the leadership of the party,” he stated. Opinion polls currently give PNL 16 pc. As for the presidential elections, he said: “No matter what will happen, PNL will have its own presidential candidate. In the very unlikely scenario when Antonescu gives up the top position in the party, he should still remain the candidate of the party, so he can coagulate the options of the right,” Johannis explained.
Asked if there were discussions about the unification of the right, the first vice-president of PNL spoke about a series of informal contacts, but admitted that the leaders of right-wing parties did not have a proper meeting. “It would be optimal to coagulate the right-wing forces. Sooner or later this will happen. There were punctual contacts with allusions, but people did not sit at a table to talk about it. Public statements are informal contacts, everybody gives messages and says how he sees things. I imagine things will be worked out in phases,” Johannis added. “The talks will be held after the European elections, but knowing the ambitions of our politicians I do not know if we will succeed in having a right-wing alliance. I rather believe it will be formed for the second round,” he concluded.
In a different move, Johannis spoke in favour of allowing Tariceanu to rejoin the party, if he wishes so. “I believe Tariceanu will return to PNL. It would be reasonable to allow him to return,” he said. Recently, former premier Calin Popescu Tariceanu sent an open letter to the PNL leadership in which he writes: “I did not betray PNL. I am revolted by the attitude of Antonescu. An extraordinary congress is needed.”
Poll: Johannis, PNL’s most suitable presidential candidate
Romanians consider Prime Minister Victor Ponta to be the most suitable candidate of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), major at rule, in this year’s presidential election, and first deputy chairman of the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) Klaus Johannis to be PNL’s most suitable, according to the findings of an INSCOP poll released on Wednesday.
Thus, 44.8 percent of the respondents said PSD’s most suitable candidate would be Victor Ponta, while 17.8 percent of them mentioned Mircea Geoana, a former presidential candidate. As many as 32 percent said neither would be suitable and 5.4 percent did not know or did not answer.
Klaus Johannis is considered to be PNL’s most suitable presidential candidate by 37.9 percent of the respondents, while 22.8 percent mentioned PNL national leader Crin Antonescu.
According to the same findings, the most suitable presidential candidate of Romania’s Right – made up of the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), the People’s Movement Party (PMP) and the Civic Force (FC) – would be FC national leaders Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu of the Civic Force (26.7 percent). He is followed by PMP’s Elena Udrea (8.7 percent), PDL’s Emil Boc (8,4 percent), PDL’s Catalin Predoiu – (8 percent),while 40.9 percent said none of the four is suitable, 7.3 percent did not know or did not answer.
The INSCOP poll also shows Ponta topping Romanians’ presidential options and winning the presidential runoff pitted against any challenger.
If the presidential election were held on Sunday with Victor Ponta, Crin Antonescu, Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu, Catalin Predoiu, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, Kelemen Hunor and Dan Diaconescu running, 41.7 percent of the respondents with a clear answer (no ‘someone else,’ ‘I do not know yet’, ‘I do not vote,’ ‘I do not know/I do not answer’) would vote for Victor Ponta, the endorsee of PSD’s election alliance with the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) and the Conservative Party (38.7 percent in March and 37.3 percent in January).
Ponta is followed by Crin Antonescu – 20.7 percent (25 percent in March and 28 percent in January); Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu – 17.1 percent (14.6 percent in March and 14.1 percent in January); Catalin Predoiu – 8.6 percent (9.3 percent in March and 7.2 percent in January); Corneliu Vadim Tudor – 4.6 percent (5,1 percent in March and 5,6 percent in January); Kelemen Hunor – 3.8 percent (3.5 percent in March and 5.5 percent in January), and Dan Diaconescu – 3.5 percent (3.8 percent in March and 2.3 percent in January).
Out of the total respondents, 9 percent of those who picked ‘someone else’ option mentioned Klaus Johannis, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu and Mugur Isarescu. At the same time, 17.5 percent said they are still undecided, 8.3 percent would not vote and 2.2 percent did not know or did not answer.
The poll was commissioned by daily Adevarul and conducted by INSCOP Research, May 1-7, on a sample of 1,056 people representative of Romania’s population aged 18 years and above. It carries a margin of error of plus/minus three percentage points. The respondents were questioned in interviews at their homes. The questionnaires were used in 38 counties and Bucharest City, in 78 settlements – large, medium and small town, communes and villages – using data form the 2011 Population Census.

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