Tariceanu, elected Senate Speaker

The ex-liberal thus returns to the forefront of Romanian politics, with the support of the parliamentary majority, as he is considered among the politicians best suited to run for the office of president of Romania.

The former premier and PNL leader Calin Popescu Tariceanu was elected yesterday speaker of the Senate, with 93 votes. PNL candidate Marius Obreja obtained 45 votes and the representative of PDL, Dumitru Oprea, 15 votes. Four ballots were invalidated. The voting was secret, with paper ballots. At the beginning of the Parliament session, Tariceanu announced that he would act as independent, following his resignation from PNL. The outgoing speaker of the Senate, Crin Antonescu (PNL) thanked his colleagues for their collaboration and said that his resignation from the top position in the Upper House was not a conjectural move, nor was it made under the impression of emotion, as the social-democrats said.
PSD-UNPR- PC, UDMR support for Tariceanu
Tariceanu accepted yesterday to run for the position of Senate President, after a meeting with the leaders of the Social Democratic Party (PSD – editor’s note), the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR – editor’s note), the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania, the Conservative Party (PC – editor’s note). “I felt very honoured to receive this proposal, and I accepted it. I am convinced that this proposal will provide us with the opportunity to take the Social Liberal Union’s project forward, as we have pledged to before citizens,’ Tariceanu said, quoted by Agerpres.
Shortly after this statement, PM Victor Ponta said that Tariceanu enjoys the support of the parliamentary groups PSD-UNPR, PC and UDMR for the position of Senate speaker, following a political agreement reached yesterday. He added that Tariceanu will push forward the projects promised by USL to its electorate: “Mr. Tariceanu has both the experience and the political weight necessary for working together with all those who ran in those elections and committed their responsibility before the electorate,” Ponta mentioned.
Tariceanu’s candidacy for the top office in the Senate came under fire by PNL president Crin Antonescu, who said that the ex-leader of the party shows “the most shameful attitude of a former president of PNL” so far. “PNL had many presidents, some of them died in communist prisons, others, even after they left the party – such as Stoica, Stolojan – were not in such an embarrassing position of being so easily controlled by PSD and standing at its door,” Antonescu stated.

Asked if this move about PSD supporting Tariceanu for the office of Senate Speaker is part of PSD’s plan to take over PNL lawmakers, the liberal gave an affirmative answer. “It is a desperate attempt, and not the first. When the Ponta III cabinet was being prepared, Mr. Ponta clearly stated it in public that he is waiting for Mr. Tariceanu to break something from PNL, giving him positions in the respective government with this regard. This has not succeeded then, probably it will be attempted from now on as well,” Antonescu mentioned.
Ponta’s reply came fast. PM Victor Ponta told Antonescu that PSD support for Tariceanu candidacy to the held of the Senate aims to rebuild USL not break PNL, like the latter said. Moreover, speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Valeriu Zgonea (PSD) claims that the former prime minister is a person appreciated in all surveys, being among the top five or six in Romania who can candidate “successfully” for the highest position in the state.
PNL and PDL candidates stand no chance
On the other hand, the liberals threw in the fight for the Senate presidency Marius Obreja, who remained PNL option for a possible position of vice-president. Leader of PNL senators Puiu Hasotti said, after the meeting of the parliamentary group, that there were three candidates in PNL for this position but Obreja met most votes.
The PDL candidate had no real chances either, as the democratic-liberals were aware of it. Prime vice-chairman of PDL Catalin Predoiu said yesterday at the end of the party ruling meeting that the democratic-liberals made the decision that Senator Dumitru Oprea should candidate to the held of the Senate from the party. According to Predoiu, PDL decided to nominate a person for this position, although initially they claimed they will have no candidate, to prove PDL has “resources” and that the small percentage they have in the Senate “should not be a hindrance.”
“This position of ours is very easy to differentiate from that of the Prime Minister, who slapped his own party by choosing a person from outside his party,” said Predoiu.

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