It was a busy weekend for USL, the Union’s parliamentary groups meeting on Saturday, while the PSD National Executive Committee took place on Friday. On this occasion important issues on the USL agenda were brought up, some of them left unaddressed since the previous Parliamentary sitting, issues such as the administrative-territorial reorganization, the referendum on modifying the Constitution and the referendum law.
Premier Victor Ponta stated that PSD’s National Executive Committee (CExN) discussed the option of creating ten regions, pointing out that this option has to be discussed within USL too. “To be honest, we sent out feelers at USL level. I want us to discuss with UDMR, PPDD and PDL too, with all forces in the opposition, because the regionalization project is not just USL’s project, it is Romania’s project and I am willing to sit at the table with absolutely everyone,” Ponta said, being quoted by Mediafax. The Premier pointed out that he has decided that decentralization should practically start through the modification of Law 315/1998 on development regions, and for as many as the government’s prerogatives to be transferred to the regions. “I think that, starting this autumn, we must go on and amend Law 315/1998, the one on the development regions, we must go on and practically create the regions, even before they get their constitutional status,” said the PSD chairman. According to him, the more tasks and resources regions get the better things go: “So that maybe the most important project this autumn – a governmental and parliamentary political project – is the effective start of the decentralization process and preparing regions.”
On the other hand, Ponta announced he will send early next week a letter to the opposition to invite them to talks about a new agreement between Romania and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the European Commission, as well as the draft 2014 national budget. “I want to confirm on this occasion the fact that on Monday morning I will be sending an official letter to the leaderships of PDL and UDMR- because UDMR also wanted political and technical discussions. I will be accompanied at the talks by Minister Chitoiu and Minister Voinea (…). I will show up for dialogue with full conviction that we, the USL, do not know everything. We will embrace any good idea,” he said. In his opinion, it is not by chance that his government did not face any motion of censure over the past one year and a half.
Subsequently, Ponta stated during the meeting of USL’s parliamentary groups that in the first weeks of the Parliamentary sitting the referendum law should be adopted again in order to be sent to President Traian Basescu for the second time: “He is forced to promulgate it in ten days’ time if I’m not mistaken and in this way the one-year deadline in which it will be applied also comes into force.” At the same time, he pointed out that the moment in which the referendum on modifying the Constitution is organized will be a political decision, Ponta proposing this to take place on the first round of Presidential elections. “The point is not to rush, the point is to succeed. Tomorrow, with 50 per cent turnout and with a boycott from all sides from those who want nothing changed in Romania, it would probably be difficult to push through the amending of the Constitution,” Ponta said, pointing out that he asks the USL MPs not to consider the project on amending the Constitution a suspended project.
At the same time, the Head of Government told USL MPs that he is pleased with all of his government’s ministers. Moreover, he said that he wants the government, in this form, to be held to account before the electorate in the future general elections of 2016 for the promises made in 2012. The day before he had stated that the Social-Democrats do not want the reshuffling of ministers, pointing out that he did not receive any signals in this sense from PNL either.
I will be Romania’s president irrespective of incantations, Antonescu says
PNL President Crin Antonescu stated on Saturday in a speech held before USL youth present in Constanta at the “Romania for youth” reunion that he does not want to be a candidate in the presidential elections of 2014, he wants to be Romania’s President, and this will happen even if “wizards” and “astrologists” have incantations against this happening. “I want to be Romania’s President! And I will be! I am preparing for this (…) by studying with all the youth I still have, because there are things I do not know and that I will have to know and do when I will be President. (…) There are many candidates, one will be President,” Antonescu stated. Likewise, he talked about the profile of Romania’s future President, one whom he sees as “a leader of national consciousness.” “The Romanian President does not conspire. The Romanian President will have to inspire, the Romanian President does not play games, does not sack and impose governments, does not make maneuvers in Parliament, does not make files. For God, the President represents, unites and follows his nation in its fundamental aspirations.”
Prior to that statement, the PNL leader had stated that the first round of Presidential elections would be a suitable date for organizing the referendum on modifying the Constitution, against the backdrop of the decision taken by the Constitutional Court, a decision in this sense set to be taken however after PSD is consulted.
Vote of confidence for PNL ministers
On the other hand, Antonescu stated on Friday at the end of the party’s Permanent Delegation, that PNL ministers have received a vote of confidence, after a series of talks that concerned the government’s activity. According to him, the proposal concerning the reconfirmation of support for PNL ministers came from Puiu Hasotti, the leader of Liberal Senators.