National leader of the Social Democrat Party (PSD), Prime Minister Victor Ponta, told a convention of the PSD National Council in Craiova on Tuesday that PSD will win this November’s presidential election. Ponta’s bid was unanimously accepted by the PSD delegates that gathered in a convention in Craiova. The Prime Minister arrived some minutes before 19:00hrs, EEST, at the convention in Craiova, coming from Gorj County, where he visited the flood-stricken localities of Novaci and Bengesti-Ciocadia following the Gilort River bursting its banks. ‘I was ready to unveil the bid for the highest public office in Romania. God always arrange things better than we do. I have already launched my candidacy at Novaci, at Bengesti together with people who truly represent Romania, not the Romania of books or TV shows (…)’ said Ponta, adding that on Tuesday evening he was to return to Novaci to make sure the people affected by flash floods get the necessary assistance.
He also voiced conviction that if he wins this autumn’s presidential election, his term in office as the president of Romania will very much resemble the day of Tuesday, when authorities had to step in to provide assistance to the citizens. ‘(…) For this I am requesting your support for this national project in which I believe many more than us should find themselves and get involved. This is a national project that Romania needs after ten years of disunion, hatred and fight against Romanians,’ Ponta added.
The PSD national leader also said that it is not by chance that the national project started on July 29, two years precisely after a referendum was held to impeach President Traian Basescu. ‘Two years ago precisely, 7.4 million Romanians showed up to voice their most important wish to stop a political regime that had lied to them, that had overwhelmed them by corruption and arrogance (….) I want you to join me so that justice may be done in the next five-ten years, to do justice to those who two years ago voted for the end of the Basescu regime,’ Ponta said. He also underscored that he would rather be the president of Romanians than the president of Romania.
However, Ponta’s entire speech was based on attacking Traian Basescu. He said that on December 22 this year the Romanians will regain their freedom, stressing that Traian Basescu’s end will come in 100 days.
‘Traian Basescu still has one hundred and some days, and then it’s the end of him. I guarantee to you that I am that candidate who wants to fundamentally change all that was bad in the past decade. (…),’ said Ponta.
Ponta also told PSD Convention that one of his advantages is the fact that he has ‘absolutely no secret,’ which means he cannot be blackmailed or intimidated by political rivals. He added that he believes he has to thank President Traian Basescu for this ‘special situation.’ ‘I am in a special situation, some may say it is a weakness, but I still believe it is an advantage. I am the first candidate for the office of President about which you know absolutely everything. I have absolutely no secret. For this, I have to thank Traian Basescu and his propaganda. They have dug so deep in my life, that you know now what good and bad deeds I did before being born, but I believe they will still find something by November. This offers me and advantage in that neither Basescu nor anyone else can blackmail me or scare me with anything,’ said Ponta. The PSD national leader confessed that he was amused by some of the accusations against him, but he took it hard when his family came under attack.
Ponta assured that he will support the amendment of Romania’s Constitution in the spirit of the proposals received in 2012, stressing that justice should never again be controlled by a politician. ‘I set myself as a goal releasing justice from the control of Traian Basescu and his people. I think we are on the right track, but an equally high challenge follows now. I think no politician should ever again be allowed to rule justice, to use it against his political opponents or to protect his relatives and friends(…),’ said the Premier.
At the same time, Ponta thanked his party colleagues for their trust in him, saying the support he is asking of the National Council is not for winning some office, but for securing the achievement of the national project called ‘Strong Romania.’ ‘I strongly believe that PSD will always be the party of the many, the party that steps in and comes to power in hard times and leaves office precisely when good things start to emerge. I think this is our destiny. PSD is the party that has always resisted in the battle with the meanest people in the country while doing its duty to the many. (…) I want to be a different president of Romania, which means you should not expect me to take off the badge and hand it over to the littlest of you, which I would like to head the party; you should not expect me to shoot on camera some farewell message, to make a party for myself or my favourites. You should not expect me to do any of this, because I will not do it,’ said Ponta.
Dragnea: There is no easy victory at the presidential elections
PSD Executive Chairman, Liviu Dragnea expressed a more pragmatic view, saying he saw many candidates who thought they had already won the elections and that vanity is the most serious sin. “We have to be aware there is no easy victory at the presidential elections (….) Ponta will be president when the last voting paper is counted and the outcome is official”, said Dragnea. He also said that you cannot win votes at TV, but you can lose them at TV. Dragnea also explained why the PSD Council meeting went on despite floods. He said that PSD chairman Victor Ponta decided to hold the event despite flooding incidents in several counties precisely for such events to never occur again. “(…) We heard – because we didn’t watch TV – that some politicians were urging us not to hold this National Council meeting today. They are afraid that Victor launches his candidacy, but exactly for such things to never happen again in Romania – for this country needs a lot more money (…) for us to be able to fix everything that has been broken, and for us to accomplish the investment projects this country needs according to a minutely devised, consistent strategy, so that we no longer have once or two times every a year tens or hundreds of communities affected – it’s precisely for this that Victor Ponta decided that we should proceed with the works of the National Council (…)”, Dragnea said.
Olguta Vasilescu, the incumbent mayor of Craiova City, and the host of Tuesday’ PSD major meeting said she wants people in this November’s presidential election to vote for a Romanian able to bring about change, which is Victor Ponta, the PSD candidate.
In his turn, Chairman of the Conservative Party (PC) Daniel Constantin stated the time has come for Romania and the Romanians to have a real President after having none in the last ten years, given that Traian Basescu has been just the guise of the character who filled the seat at the Cotroceni Palace.
Chairman of the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR), Gabriel Oprea, said at the PSD’s National Council meeting that his party will support Victor Ponta unconditionally for the presidential elections this year, elections that are not just about who will be the president, but about how Romania will be in the next ten or twenty years.
PNL’s Orban, movie-like mesage to Ponta
PNL Vice President, Ludovic Orban attacked Ponta, saying he is a danger for Romania and that his entire career was marked out by ‘lie, cowardice and betrayal’. Orban also delivered the Prime Minister a message: ‘Victor, maybe somebody up there doesn’t want you’. Orban said Ponta have betrayed Adrian Nastase, who introduced him in the political life, he betrayed Mircea Geoana, ex-PSD candidate in the 2009 presidential elections. According to the Liberal leader, Ponta have betrayed USL by signing the cohabitation pact with President Basescu in secret and betrayed even PSD, by appointing only people close to him as ministers after the Liberals left the Government. Orban also said that if Ponta becomes President, Romania will be ruined, becoming “Europe’s Cinderella”.
PNL MP Petre Roman also criticized PM Ponta for bringing religion in his speech. Ponta had said in Craiova that he doesn’t want to be accused of being Romanian or orthodox in his own country. In Roman’s view, this religion-tactic will not harm to PNL’s candidate, Klaus Iohannis.
Ioan Rus: Ponta is holding the biggest chance of winning the presidential election
Deputy Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Ioan Rus believes PSD’s national leader Victor Ponta, the presidential candidate of the alliance of PSD, the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) and the Conservative Party (PC), is holding the biggest chance of winning this autumn’s presidential election. ‘I believe, from what is visible now, that Prime Minister Victor Ponta is holding the biggest chance of winning this year’s presidential election. This is what I believe right now, compared with what the other candidates propose and against knowledge and skills to do or not to do things,’ Rus told Agerpres in an interview. He added that in his opinion the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) tend to opt for candidate Klaus Iohannis, who will be hard pressed extrapolating nationwide, in a very short time, his experience as mayor of Sibiu City. At the same time, Rus believes Klaus Iohannis is standing a bigger chance of making it to the presidential runoff than Cristian Diaconescu, the other possible candidate of a unified Right. ‘Klaus Iohannis is the man as far as the Opposition is concerned. Cristi Diaconescu is the representative of a party that won some 6 per cent at the European elections of two months ago. Without a big party behind, it is very complicated for anyone to become a solid candidate for the office of Romania’s President,’ said Rus. He also talked about the situation in which Victor Ponta wins the presidential election, saying that the incumbent prime minister was mandated by his party to come up, between the first and the second round of the presidential election, with a nominal solution for the office of prime minister. The Social-Demorcat also mentioned that the convention in Orastie of the PSD Executive Committee decided that all the party’s energies would be geared toward winning the election, as talks of the future PSD national leader can be postponed until next February.
UNPR pledges one million signatures in support of Ponta’s presidential bid
The National Union for the Progress of Romania (UNPR) pledged to collect one million signatures for the registration of Victor Ponta’s candidacy for the presidential elections due this November, UNPR Vice Chairman, Senator Serban Mihailescu, told yesterday. According to him, the deadline for gathering the signatures is September 1. ‘We hope to be an important support for Victor Ponta’s election as President. We don’t have another option and we will direct all our efforts towards this endeavor,’ said Mihailescu. He added that by throwing its support behind Victor Ponta, UNPR will prove that it is ‘a credible partner for PSD and PC (Conservative Party).’