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Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea told Liberals they are “hurting” USL by bringing PDL leaders inside the Union. PNL President Crin Antonescu retorted, saying that the Liberals did not criticize the Social Dems for their “cooperative” attitude towards Traian Basescu.
The first tensions have started to appear within the Social Liberal Union (USL) a week after former Defence Minister Mihai Stanisoara, an important Democrat-Liberal leader, joined PNL, Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea reproaching the Liberals for creating “a breach” within USL by recruiting PDL leaders. Crin Antonescu’s reply was not late in coming, the PNL President telling the Social-Democrats yesterday that the Liberals did not criticize the PSD leaders for their “cooperative” attitude towards Basescu. “We are dealing with such a phenomenon (party switching – editor’s note) and I don’t recall anyone from PNL being suspicious when a number of important PD members joined PSD,” Antonescu stated for “Gandul” daily yesterday. He claims the Social-Democrats have no reason to be worried, pointing out that if “misinterpretations” appear among their ranks they should correct them. “Just like I, along with my colleagues from the PNL leadership, was able to prevent cracks when there was the impression that PSD, that Mr. Ponta, that Mr. Dragnea got closer to Traian Basescu than they gave the impression in the elections campaign, in the same way I am convinced the leaders of PSD will find the capacity and the means to prevent misinterpretations or cracks,” Antonescu stated. He pointed out that if need be he is ready to discuss within USL the issue of PDL defections towards PNL. The Liberal pointed out however that if one was to count the defections from PDL to PSD and PNL the results would be surprising. “There were two defections, one happened a long time ago (Caras Severin County Council President Sorin Frunzaverde joined PNL in March 2012 – editor’s note), in fact we are talking about a single one, namely that of Mr. Stanisoara.
That’s all,” Antonescu said, pointing out that to describe this singular “occurrence” as an exodus, in almost Biblical terms, seems exaggerated to him. Moreover, Antonescu rejected the media information according to which PDL Vice President Cristian Boureanu is preparing to join PNL. He stated on the other hand that PNL will welcome “all those people that have genuine right-wing beliefs, intentions of creating a strong right-wing within PNL, whether they were within PDL or not, whether they were in politics or not.”
Dragnea: USL unity at risk if PDL defections to PNL grow in number
Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea, PSD’s Secretary General, stated on Sunday evening in a talk-show that USL’s unity could be endangered if defections from PDL to PNL liable to lead to a rapprochement between the two parties grow in number, pointing out that PSD took the decision not to accept party switching. “I don’t believe we can talk about a migration of Democrat-Liberals to PNL, but I can very honestly tell you, I’m not very happy and I wouldn’t be very happy if these defections from PDL to PNL were to continue, because it can represents a risk for USL,” Dragnea stated, being quoted by realitatea.net. Moreover, he stated that there is the very high risk of cracks appearing in counties if an important PDL leader that waged a serious battle against PNL and PSD for years were to suddenly join USL. Dragnea gave Mehedinti County as an example, where Adrian-Ioan Duicu, the leader of PSD’s county branch, is dissatisfied after Mihai Stanisoara joined PNL. “It’s good to think very seriously when doing this (recruiting members from other parties – editor’s note), to think about USL’s unity because this was the main argument for which people gave us that crushing vote,” PSD’s Secretary General stated. In fact, Dragnea claims that Premier Victor Ponta did not know about Stanisoara’s defection to the Liberals’ camp. At the same time he expressed his preoccupation for the way in which PNL will position itself as a member of the ruling alliance, stating that a discussion between USL leaders on this issue will take place because of this reason. On the other hand, the Deputy Prime Minister considers that a possible PNL decision to join the European People’s Party (EPP) will represent a rapprochement with PDL, which will be very difficult for PSD to accept. “We will be in a very delicate position because a rapprochement between PNL and PDL would seriously question USL’s functioning,” Dragnea stated.Subsequently, PSD Vice President Valeriu Zgonea admitted that the former Democrat-Liberal Mihai Stanisoara joining PNL created concern within PSD and within PNL Mehedinti. He stated that Stanisoara is one of the people USL fought against during Traian Basescu’s first impeachment, the 2008 elections and the 2009 presidential elections. In his turn, PSD MP Viorel Hrebenciuc, Deputy Speaker of the Lower Chamber, stated that Stanisoara’s move to join PNL did not have the most positive echoes within PSD Mehedinti given the political battle waged at local level until now. Bucharest Mayor Sorin Oprescu stated, in reaction to Liviu Dragnea’s statement that USL’s unity could be at risk if PDL defections to PNL grow, that USL is immutable and everlasting.