The Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea pointed out on Tuesday that he, as Speaker of the Lower Chamber, Head of State Klaus Iohannis, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu and Premier Sorin Grindeanu have a salary of RON 21,500 each, pointing out that he wants it lowered back to RON 6,800.
“There are four people in the Romanian state who have the same salary of RON 21,500: the Romanian President, the Speaker of the Senate, the Speaker of the Lower Chamber – that’s me – and the Prime Minister. I find it too much, considering we are talking about a minimum salary of RON 1,450. And I want this ordinance to flop and for us to return to what was before, namely RON 6,800 instead of RON 15,900. I find it sufficient and we can talk about higher salaries only if the state officials’ salaries are calculated as multiples of the average salary. Why? If Romania grows these salaries would grow too, because we are talking about state officials who could contribute to Romania developing, growing,” Dragnea told Antena 3.
His statements came against the backdrop in which the emergency ordinance that hiked the salaries of state officials is on the agenda of the Lower Chamber’s extraordinary session this month.
“In what concerns the ordinance on the state officials’ salaries. We are talking about a series of Romanian state officials who have very high salaries through this ordinance. I said I disagree with this ordinance. I said it from the start, when it was sent in Parliament, that I would agree with it only if the salary law is tabled within a reasonable period of time – I was already talking in 2015 –, if we adopt the salary law and all Romanians have higher salaries and there will nevertheless be a reasonable ratio between the highest salaries and the lowest salaries in Romania,” Dragnea added.
Head of State on dignitaries’ salaries: I maintain my point of view, but here Parliament’s decision intervenes
President Klaus Iohannis stated on Wednesday that he maintains his point of view in regards to the dignitaries’ salaries increase.
The head of state was asked about his statement in respect to the ordinance for increasing dignitaries’ wages, when he stated that it is a wise decision which reflects the dignitaries’ position in the state and about the statements made by Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea in respect to resuming the salary level of 6,800 lei.
“I maintain my point of view, but here Parliament’s decision intervenes,” Iohannis stated at the Cotroceni Palace at the end of the meeting he had with Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu and with Finance Minister Viorel Stefan.
PSD’s Dragnea on relationship with Iohannis: I am not at war but pressure is high
Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea stated he is not at war with anyone, let alone with the Head of State, but claimed he is feeling great pressure and permanent threats.
“I am not at war. I feel great pressure, I feel permanent threats from him (e.n. – the President) and from other spokespersons and blabbermouths, but I am not at war. You will not see anything started against him from my part. Because I have another concern: the governing platform. And I will do nothing that could harm Romanians. (…) If we stand our ground, this platform will be implemented more than I have said,” Dragnea stated on Tuesday evening for private broadcaster Antena 3.
The Social Democrat leader showed that he responds to other people’s challenges with the measures included in the governing platform that won PSD the parliamentary elections in December 2016.
“These measures are my reply. I was in the electoral campaign to tell Romanians that I am going to make their lives better and this is what we do day by day. I will not respond and I will not enter war, I will do one thing, though. I will do everything I can to protect the Government and Parliament of these aggressions. Let them shoot at me. I am not interested in any war, but in the Government and the Parliament putting into practice this governing platform. And I will not waste time with all sorts of replies and reactions to I don’t know which blabbermouths,” reiterated Dragnea.
He said he analysed everything that happened in the period after the elections and reached the conclusion that it was no longer the case to believe in coincidences and that there is a plan for the governing platform of the PSD and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) not to be implemented.
“I have analysed everything that has happened since the elections. (…) I am seriously starting to think that I shouldn’t keep on believing in coincidences. I believe there is a plan for this governing platform not to be implemented, because it would actually show the big difference between a party, a coalition, some serious and responsible people who said this country can be something else and Romanians can live much better, and the disaster of ‘My Government’ [e.n. – the Ciolos Government] from 2016, with effects – somebody is probably considering this – on the presidential elections. It is a violent attack on Romanians’ standards of living, Romania’s stability and this country’s future,” underscored Liviu Dragnea.
Asked what are the chances of someone knocking him down, the PSD leader highlighted that there was no turning back for him and that he had no hesitations.
“In my case, the chances are slim, the others might also hold out. In my case the chances are slim because if I am to die, I have chosen to die standing. They cannot abate me. I hope we don’t get there. There is no turning back for me, I have no hesitations. We took some very tough measures and with no stammering, both during the campaign and after the elections, in the way the Government was invested and the way I am asking for the implementation of this governing platform. But there are great pressures,” pointed out Liviu Dragnea.
“We found out from the Prosecutor General that politicians must be monitored; at least odd”
The PSD President labelled as “at least odd” Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar’s assertion that all politicians should be monitored.
“We found out with great relaxation and joy from the Prosecutor General that in a rule of law politicians must be monitored, namely that all politicians are criminals and it is only a matter of time… I find this expression at least odd. That is, we found out from the Prosecutor General that politicians must be monitored, in other words they are monitored, they were and will be monitored in the future too. (…) When you look, when you see, when you hear about all sorts of things that appear, you start to think seriously: these are mistakes, coincidences or what?” Dragnea stated on Tuesday evening for the Antena 3 private broadcaster.
The PSD leader also said that “there were great hopes that the Government would stumble” in managing the consequences of recent snowfalls and inclement weather.
In that context, Dragnea maintained that the ministers dealt very well with the situation and specified that he had talks with the Prime Minister and with Interior Minister Carmen Dan, about whom he said she is experienced, given she was a prefect, and “showed power and strength.”
“They dealt well with the situation, but it was a ‘baptism’ for this Government,” underscored the PSD leader, adding that in Bucharest too, the General Mayor and the district mayors proved that “the famous expression that winter is not like summer is no longer valid.”
On the other hand, referring to National Anticorruption Directorate Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi’s statement that the denunciation made by the former daughter-in-law of Virgil Magureanu, which also targets Interior Minister Carmen Dan, was registered as a criminal case, Liviu Dragnea said: “We believe in coincidences or we don’t.”
“Ms. Carmen Dan is a strong and very honest woman. (…) Ms. Carmen Dan does not scare easily,” Dragnea further said, adding that he saw a posting in which Magureanu’s former daughter-in-law said she did not sign any denunciation against the minister.
“I’m not ruling out an inquiry commission into Ghita’s revelations. Iordache should ‘express himself’”
Dragnea also stated that he does not rule out the possibility of setting up a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the statements made by Sebastian Ghita, pointing out that Justice Minister Florin Iordache should “express himself,” albeit he has already done so, invoking the Lower Chamber’s Regulations.
Asked, on Antena 3, whether a parliamentary commission of inquiry should look into Ghita’s revelations, Dragnea answered: “I can’t tell now, but you should know I’m not ruling out this possibility.”
When the interviewer insisted, asking him what does he need more to decide, Dragnea pointed out: “Some time for reflection. I haven’t kept a close eye on these revelations every day, I was seeing them at night, when I got home, but it’s very likely that an inquiry commission cannot be avoided, it’s very likely.”
“I don’t know what will appear next, but it’s not all right. I would have expected the Romanian President to tackle this topic when he was at the CSM [Superior Magistracy Council], because we cannot pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s real, it’s not real, but already confirmed by Traian Basescu. Could we sit idly and say this doesn’t exist? We will discuss these days. I’m not rejecting this possibility. An ever-growing number of colleagues are telling me it’s called for,” Dragnea added.
Klaus Iohannis: “If Basescu has recordings he should present them to prosecutors”
President Klaus Iohannis stated on Wednesday that if his predecessor, Traian Basescu, has the recordings that former Lower Chamber lawmaker Sebastian Ghita talked about then he should present them to prosecutors, refusing to say whether he has summoned Laura Codruta Kovesi or Florian Coldea for clarifications.
“Has anyone seen these… or has anyone heard these recordings? Very well. If he has these recordings, he should put them at the prosecutors’ disposal,” Klaus Iohannis said at a press conference.
Klaus Iohannis avoided saying whether he has summoned DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi or Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Deputy Director Florian Coldea to a meeting.
Ex-President Traian Basescu told Mediafax on January 4 that he does not deny the recording leaked by Sebastian Ghita but pointed out that the recording was “edited,” adding that in his view Dan Voiculescu had a fair trial but his case was not investigated completely. The reaction came after Sebastian Ghita leaked a recording in which ex-President Traian Basescu is heard saying he knows how Dan Voiculescu was convicted and how magistrate Camelia Bogdan replacing magistrate Mustata was arranged.
“He [Sebastian Ghita] makes gratuitous statements. Firstly, I do not deny the recording. Secondly, it’s an edited recording in which very many things are taken out of context. Thirdly, I’m saying these things everywhere. I’ve said them one way or the other on television too, I’m saying them in talks with people too, in order to make them understand that the discretionary power of two people has gone too far, one of them is called Coldea and the other is called Kovesi,” ex-President Traian Basescu stated for Mediafax when asked for his comments on the recording broadcast by private broadcaster Romania TV.
Traian Basescu stated Dan Voiculescu had a fair trial however his case was not investigated completely. “If you ask me, Voiculescu had a fair trial. I don’t know anything about Adrian Sarbu. Of course, Voiculescu’s case was not investigated completely,” Basescu said.
Traian Basescu added that Sebastian Ghita “is a man who is trying to defend himself in this manner.” Asked whether this will help Sebastian Ghita, Basescu answered: “Honestly, I don’t think so.”