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Sibiu Mayor Klaus Johannis announced yesterday that he has become a member of the National Liberal Party (PNL), pointing out that he took the decision as a result of an invitation made by PNL President Crin Antonescu. “This invitation honored me, it gave me food for thought and the result is what we see today,” Johannis stated during a press conference he and Antonescu took part in at the PNL headquarters. He pointed out that the decision does not affect his term as mayor, emphasizing that his position as President of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (FDRG) could be affected if he is elected for an office within PNL. “I don’t plan to leave FDRG. Considering that FDRG is not a political party and that its statute allows a member to be the member of a political party too, I won’t be incompatible,” Johannis stated. “Klaus Johannis has proven that constant and long-term performance is possible in Romania too. I am glad that such a political personality joins PNL. I believe that from now on PNL is richer, stronger and more efficient. And I thank Mr. Klaus Johannis for accepting my invitation,” the PNL President stated. Antonescu added that considering that the party’s congress is scheduled two days from now he would not want to miss the chance of having Johannis within the party’s leadership. Asked whether co-opting the Mayor of Sibiu on a leadership position within PNL is being considered, Crin Antonescu stated that the party’s forums will decide that. At the same time, Antonescu stated that he sees Klaus Johannis good for the office of Premier and for the office of President too, but underlined that does not represent “any change to the USL commitments.” Also yesterday, before Johannis made the announcement, PSD President Victor Ponta stated that it would be a significant gain for PNL and USL to have Klaus Johannis in the Liberals’ ranks. Klaus Johannis is on his fourth term as Sibiu Mayor. He is a member of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (FDGR) since its establishment in 1990 and is FDGR President since 2001. Klaus Johannis entered politics in 2000 when FDGR decided to have its own candidate for the Sibiu City Hall in order to win seats within the local council.
PNL leader, accused of scheming before the Congress
The conflict between the Tariceanu-Chiliman-Orban camp and the Antonescu camp gets heats up just two days before the PNL Congress. The group of former premier Calin Popescu Tariceanu accuses PNL president Crin Antonescu of transferring several members from other party branches to the District 1 organisation of PNL, in order to make sure that the people he wants will be elected in the party leading structures at the congress. While several members of PNL District 1 went Tuesday evening at the branch offices to designate their delegates in the congress that will take place on February 22-23, the interim president of PNL District 1, Daniel Chitoiu relocated the meeting at the Parliament and locked the branch offices. “We were stupefied to witness something we never experienced before. 56 members asked to be transferred to the District 1 organisation, the rightful members of the permanent delegation that must designate the delegates in the congress (…) Apparently there is a fear at the leadership level about the delegates that will participate on behalf of District 1, which is totally unjustified, given there is no competition. Antonescu runs alone,” Tariceanu said, quoted by realitatea.net. He added that the attitude of some leaders of PNL shows that they are embracing the principle “Who is not with us is against us.” The former PNL leader claims that the attitude of the acting leadership reveals “the enormous deficit of internal democracy” and only outlines the fact that “there is an attitude that has nothing to do with the democracy of a party.” Tariceanu also said yesterday on RFI that what happens of late in PNL is illogical and absurd, and what the congress is really about is “the wish for an internal control upon all decisions.” On the other hand, he added that many of his colleagues “live the joy of their life during elections, which is absolutely natural.” “This however leads to a state of exaltation, combined with some sort of democratic torpor that makes many ignore this democratic skidding inside the part and accept the inertia that will eventually affect the credibility (…), the image of the party.”The interim president of the District 1 branch of PNL, Daniel Chitoiu confirmed the transfer of the 56 Liberals and commented the relocation of the meeting at the Parliament. “This is about the transfer of 56 people from Districts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and other branches of PNL, but they are important members of PNL, MPs, dignitaries who joined the District 1 organisation. They came for a new leading team. I made a new team and asked them to come and help me reorganise it,” Chitoiu said. On the other hand, he added that the current Statute of PNL has been written precisely by those who criticise it now and want to amend it: Tariceanu, Chiliman, Orban and Vlad Moisescu.Despite these disputes, PNL District 1 approved Tuesday evening the list of delegates for the Congress of 22-23 February 2013, which includes Daniel Chitoiu, Ludovic Orban, Diana Tusa, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Ramona Manescu, Cristian David, Andrei Chiliman, Neagu Djuvara and Stejarel Olaru.
Orban: Antonescu is addicted to relationship with PSD
Liberal Ludovic Orban stated in an interview for ‘Adevarul’ daily that Antonescu is addicted to his relation with PSD, a fact that harms PNL. He added that the PNL President does not afford to negotiate with PSD “with guns on the table” because “at government level the Premier belongs to PSD and his is the final decision.” “Taking advantage of this situation, PSD took over all important prerogatives from the Liberal ministries,” Orban added. Asked how PNL can have a stronger leadership, Orban stated that his point of view is that the members of the new leadership should be elected uninominally. In what concerns the party president, Orban stated that he will definitely not have a contender. Also referring to Antonescu, the Liberal stated that he lost because of unforced errors and registered a slightly downward trend when it comes to the level of confidence voters have in him. “I am talking about the failure of the referendum, about his behavior as interim president, about him bringing Becali in the party,” Orban stated. “Mr. Antonescu’s destiny within PNL is nearing its end. Irrespective of whether he wins or loses the presidential elections Mr. Antonescu will leave PNL’s leadership,” Ludovic Orban said.On the other hand, he sent a message to the members of the Antonescu camp, “who came at District 1 like an occupation army.” “There is life in PNL after Antonescu,” Orban said.