A decisive day yesterday for PNL, as the liberal leadership reunited at the Palace of the Parliament to decide what proposal it will submit to PM Victor Ponta for the office of Transportation minister. Following the vote, PNL president Crin Antonescu announced that the liberals decided to submit two proposals for the Transportation Ministry: deputy
Nini Sapunaru and MEP Ramona Manescu. This variant was voted by the majority of BPN members, with only 15 of them being against it.
Ramona Manescu is a lawyer and a member of the European Parliament (EP) since 2007. She is a member of the ALDE group in the EP, a coordinator of the Regional Development Committee and of the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs. Manescu is a member of the National Liberal Party since 1990.
The decision came as no surprise, as rumours about this nomination surfaced as early as yesterday morning. Prior to the announcement, political sources said that PM Ponta considers that Ramona Manescu is a better option for the Transportation Ministry than Sapunaru. The premier told Mediafax that he agrees to appointing Manescu and will submit the proposal to the Presidency. The president of PNL, Crin Antonescu said that “it is very well” that PM Victor Ponta accepted to appoint Ramona Manescu, especially as the proposal was readily accepted. He added that the variant about nominating Ramona Manescu was added by PNL to that concerning Nini Sapunaru, given the “complexity, difficulty and different facets” of the policies conducted by the Ministry of Transportation.
Also yesterday, after the meeting of the liberal leadership, Crin Antonescu announced that he renounced the services of Sorin Rosca Stanescu as personal advisor.
Rosca Stanescu criticised on his blog Antonescu’s decision to propose Nini Sapunaru for the Transportation Ministry. “He criticised in the press my proposal regarding Nini Sapunaru, of course he has the right to do it, but using his own argument and hypothesis, when a politician makes a mistake this means that he has bad advisors,” Antonescu explained.
Antonescu also said yesterday that it is no coincidence that ANI has been focusing its activity on PNL for the last year and he will discuss with PSD at the end of this month, in Constanta, about taking common responsibility for the biased functioning of some institutions. “It is not by chance that ANI has had no other activity that PNL for the last year. It is not by chance that the bulk of DNA’s activity seems to be dedicated to PNL. It is not by chance that PNL does not cohabitate with Traian Basescu and his regime, which I asked Romanians to vote against. PNL does nto pay protection tax to press institutions, PNL does not negotiate such things,” the president of PNL stated. He added that, at the end of this month, at Constanta, in a joint reunion also attende dby social-democrats, they will discuss about how Romania is governed and how USL functions, as well as taking common responsibility for the biased functioning of institutions that should be independent.
Ponta: I expect from PNL someone with political experience and a very good image
The day before the meeting of the BPN of PNL, Premier Victor Ponta said that he expects from PNL to propose as Transportation minister someone with political experience, a very good image and a professional in the field. He reminded that the USL agreement allows the prime minister to reject or have the final say in the case of ministers, but so far he was never in the position of resorting to this right. Asked if he will accept Nini Sapunaru to take over the Ministry of Transportation, if this will be the proposal of PNL, Ponta avoided a clear answer. He insisted on the fact that he is convinced it will be a very good proposition, “even two, perhaps.”
A jinxed ministry
Nini Sapunaru yesterday expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that he was subjected to “media lynching” ever since the information according to which he is among the Liberals’ proposals for the vacant seat at the helm of the Transportation Minister surfaced. In what concerns his nomination, the MP stated he was called and asked whether he accepts Crin Antonescu’s proposal, adding that he agreed and was authorized to make the announcement. In fact, the information about his possible nomination had not even surfaced when the press was already publishing rumors according to which Europroiect SRL, the company that belonged to Sapunaru, is under the investigation of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA). The PNL MP claims that he no longer has “any connection” with the company and that since 1997, the year when he was appointed head of the Customs, he was no longer involved in its management activity. Likewise, he also stated that Europroiect SRL “never had contracts offered directly by the National Highways Company (CNADNR) or by the Transportation Ministry.” At the same time, the Liberal pointed out that the DNA investigation “concerns directly the company’s administrator and an alleged crime committed last year.”
We remind our readers that the DNA asked the Prosecutor’s Office last week to file to the Lower Chamber a request to start the prosecution of PNL MP Ovidiu Silaghi, who was the favorite for the Transportation Ministry at the time, the prosecutors suspecting him of intercession. Silaghi subsequently withdrew his candidacy. Former Transportation Ministry Relu Fenechiu was forced to resign after the Supreme Court sentenced him to five year in jail, executory sentence, on July 12, for his involvement in the “Transformer” case. Fenechiu was found guilty for malfeasance in office.