In an interview for ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ daily published over the weekend, Prime Minister Victor Ponta reiterated his plan to announce his intention of running for president as a representative of the Social Democratic Union (USD) at the end-of-the-month National Council. In his opinion, the presidential elections will not symbolize the voters’ choice between the Left and the Right, but rather “between a working system and a change proposed by USL.” Ponta also believes a candidate, and not a team-up, will win the elections. “I don’t believe in team-ups. (…) They are important, but not in view of the elections; they matter afterwards. (…) When the president and the prime minister work together – whether we’re referring to the 2000/2004 term, when we had an economy, NATO, the European Union or the following term with Emil Boc and Traian Basescu – governing makes sense. It had a positive meaning after 2000/2004, in my opinion. But when energy is wasted in the battle between president and prime minister – either 1997/2000, 2005/2008, or now – it is the country that definitely stands to lose,” Ponta said.Commenting on the future PSD chairman – if Ponta runs for president and wins – the PM said he does not get to make that decision. “If I am president and step down from PSD, we will have structures already elected by Congress at hand; as to next year’s Congress, I’ve learned my lesson well that PSD chooses whomever it wants, not whom I want. This happened both in 2005, when we all announced Iliescu and Mircea Geoana ended up winning, and in 2010, when I announced Geoana and Ponta won. If for the third time I say who will be elected next year, my choice will definitely not win,” Ponta explained. He mentioned he “has a name in mind” for his successor as head of the Gov’t, but refused to disclose it. “A man who shares my values and has the necessary experience and ability to take the Gov’t I am running further,” the PM remarked.No reshuffle plansPrime Minister Victor Ponta also said in the interview with Evenimentul Zilei daily that, although he doesn’t have any government reshuffle planned for the next period, there could be some unplanned changes in the government. Asked about a possible reshuffle, Ponta said, “No, there is no one in particular that I have in mind. There could be such unplanned changes, though.”The Prime Minister said he would like to cooperate with the Liberal group led by the former Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu. “I would like to cooperate with the Liberal group led by Tariceanu, which group is set to join ALDE, since this would be like a USL No. 2. USL was a successful project and I would like to build a new project of this type with Mr. Tariceanu,” said the head of the Executive. As regards the possibility to have members from Tariceanu’s Liberal group or the PP-DD (People’s Party – Dan Diaconescu) appointed to such important offices, Ponta said: “We haven’t discussed this yet, but I don’t exclude the possibility.”If elected president, Ponta will not pardon people sentenced for violence, corruptionPM Ponta says that if he is elected Romania’s President in this November’s presidential election, he will not pardon anyone sentenced for violent crimes or corruption. ”If I am elected president, I will not pardon anyone sentenced for violent crimes or corruption,” said Ponta. Asked about his relationship with disgraced founding member of the Conservative Party (PC) Dan Voiculescu and whether or not he would pardon him if sentenced in the end, he said the relationship is good. “We have not seen much of each other lately. But there are no tensions between us. For the time being, he is not a person sentenced under some final and binding sentence.” About the possibility of pardoning other sentenced politicians such as Relu Fenechiu or Catalin Voicu, Ponta said he is not drawing up a list of people he would or would not pardon. ”You should realize that I am not drawing up any list of whom to pardon.”
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