PM Ponta proposed Cabinet with 4 vice-premiers, final decision however postponed
“We still do not have a solution. I will continue the efforts so that a clear solution of stability secures the good functioning of the government from now on,” Ponta said at the end of the meeting of USL representatives last night. He added that there was no discussion about the coordination area that will be granted to Klaus Iohannis, but discussions rather referred to the whole formula of the Cabinet which he will present in Parliament. Ponta said that he proposed in the USL meeting a variant with Klaus Iohannis minister of Interior and vice-premier, so there will be four vice-premiers in the Cabinet – PSD, PC, PNL, UNPR – but no consensus was reached, because the liberal partners did not agree to this formula: “Iohannis will report to nobody, he will have the coordination of PNL ministers, mainly the coordination area which Mr. Chitoiu had, that PNL wished to have under coordination.”
The Liberals did not immediately comment on Ponta’s proposition for a new Cabinet structure with four Deputy Premiers. They convened seperately in a meeting at PNL HQs. Apparently, they are not pleased with PM Ponta giving a vice-premier position to PC.
However, it was a long and tense day for USL leaders, after multiple meetings were held yesterday in order to reach a decision with respect to Government structure amendments and appointing Klaus Iohannis Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs. PNL chairman Crin Antonescu, PNL First Deputy Chairman Klaus Iohannis, Daniel Chitoiu, and Mihai Voicu attended the session from Vila Lac 1. Participants representing PSD included Executive Chairman Liviu Dragnea, Secretary General Andrei Dolineaschi, and PSD Deputy Chairman Marian Oprisan.
Ahead of the meeting Ponta stated he will categorically support Klaus Iohannis’ appointment as Deputy Prime Minister, but this would require bringing a series of amendments to the Government structure.
“I was very clear yesterday (editor’s note – Monday): I believe Iohannis is an asset for the Government, both as Minister of Internal Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister; otherwise we wouldn’t be going before the Parliament, to make a small change,” Ponta said according to Mediafax.
Also prior to the USL meeting, Iohannis met with Antonescu at the Senate. Antonescu had pointed out PNL representatives have no additional requests, and expressed confidence that a consensus could be reached in a plenum parliamentary session scheduled either today or Monday. Antonescu went on to say Iohannis’ coordination responsibilities will mainly concern the economic ministries. According to the Liberal leader, the negotiations with the IMF may also be conducted by the Deputy Prime Minister proposed by PNL.
When asked ysterday if he believed some aspects would not be agreed upon, Antonescu seemed optimistic. “You know my desire for peace is almost proverbial and, as such, I am optimistic in this respect,” the PNL leader replied. He mentioned he had told other group leaders to warn MPs that a joint plenum parliamentary session may be convened that day or on Monday. Antonescu denied the issues of parity and exchanging ministries would be discussed at the USL session.
The day before, Antonescu had stated on B1 TV that Liberals do not want to exchange the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Ministry of Defense, currently owned by the Social Democrats, with PSD, even if PSD members have hinted they would agree with such a measure. Commenting on Victor Ponta’s statements, according to which the he did not have sufficient knowledge of the internal mechanisms of the Government, Crin Antonescu characterized them as a “sign of impatience” and “exhaustion.”
Iohannis: If negotiations go bad, USL might break
Prime vice-chairman of PNL Klaus Iohannis said yesterday that USL “might break” if the negotiations for a position of vice prime-minister and the Interior portfolio “go bad” and the reshuffle is not done. He gave assurances that, if he is appointed in the Government, he will resign from mayoralty five minutes prior to be sworn in. As for negotiations within USL, he said the talks about the new political structure, USD, “make the dialogue harder.” “If negotiations go well and we get along, we will get past this signal given by USD. I will go to the ministry and I will fulfil the conditions required by law. At the moment, the path is clear but has two solutions which barely depend on my private option. They depend on how the negotiations within USL are going,” said Iohannis. Inquired what would lead him into giving up the idea to take over the two positions, the Sibiu mayor answered: “Failure to understand during negotiations and failure to make the reshuffle.” PNL prime vice-chairman said he does not accept the two positions out of lack of activity, “as even some politicians seemed to understand,” but because that was the decision inside PNL. He said “ideally” the upcoming days schedule would be: “Today (yesterday, editor’s note) negotiations, tomorrow (today) to go to the Parliament, the day after tomorrow (tomorrow) the position takeover. The possible resignation comes five minutes prior to be sworn in.”
Earlier during a press conference held in Sibiu, Klaus Iohannis said that the minister of the Interior, a position he was to get, sets the elections for the Sibiu mayoralty after a long procedure, showing “there is a fair chance” that he might be “the next candidate.” “It is not hard, is very hard. I said what I said not to impress someone or to receive replies from PSD. I do not want to leave this place but I will take over the responsibility, if the situation evolved in this manner and we took the step with PNL, that does not mean though that I leave gladly or joyously,” answered Iohannis, inquired if it is hard for him to leave Sibiu mayoralty, after mandates spanning 14 years. He said if he leaves the position of mayor, the interim period will be covered by FDGR deputy mayor Astrid Fodor. Iohannis said he saw towns where the interim lasted for two years and elections for mayor have nowhere been organized in less than half a year.
PNL senator Calin Popescu Tariceanu believes the USL break “which might take shape at the moment,” would be a severe political mistake.