The departing minister said he never felt comfortable in the Cabinet led by Victor Ponta. Daniel Chitoiu appointed interim Minister of Economy.
Resigning Economy Minister Varujan Vosganian stated yesterday at a press conference that “Victor Ponta never felt comfortable” with him in the government. “Ponta never felt comfortable with me around. So my resignation solves other problems too,” Vosganian stated. Asked what exactly he means, he refused to give any details, saying that he will include them in his memoirs. In reply, PM Ponta stated that he was pleased with Varujan Vosganian’s activity as Economy Minister. “Honestly, I was pleased with Varujan Vosganian’s activity as Economy Minister and I feel very comfortable with all ministers. They are the team I lead and for me the atmosphere within the government is very important,” Ponta said, being quoted by Mediafax.
Asked by journalists whether he considers Adriean Videanu guilty of undermining the national economy, Vosganian stated that “if Videanu did exactly what I did then it means he’s innocent.”
We remind our readers that Vosganian resigned on Monday although the Senate had voted an hour before against the prosecutors’ request to green-light the start of the prosecution against Vosganian in a court case concerning the undermining of the national economy and the favoring of InterAgro company, at the expense of Romgaz. Vosganian however keeps his parliamentary immunity as a Senator, so that the prosecution cannot start against him. He made the announcement after he left the office of Senate Speaker Crin Antonescu where a meeting of PNL leaders took place. The meeting was attended by Premier Victor Ponta and Ilie Sarbu, the leader of PSD Senators. “Following my statement within the Senate, I had a meeting with the USL leaders and I explained to them again the reason for my statement and, at the same time, in order to remove any possible ambiguity, any possible controversy concerning the government’s activity, I explained why my resignation as Economy Minister is useful. This, against the backdrop in which, on one hand, the vote in the Senate has proven my innocence and moreover has shown the confidence I enjoy among the political class, and on the other hand the inheritance I bequeath to the Economy Ministry, where most of the difficult files are almost on due date, I believe is a confirmation of the fact that I did my job at the Economy Ministry,” Vosganian explained.
Shortly after, PNL chairman Crin Antonescu announced that, following Vosganian’s resignation, Deputy Prime Minister Daniel Chitoiu would be appointed interim Minister of Economy, noting that a proposal for the acting Minister of Economy would be submitted most likely within a week. PM Ponta already sent the proposal to President Basescu yesterday, and the next step will be drafting a new proposal by the Executive chief for that Minister’s portfolio within a maximum of 45 days, in accordance with current legislation.
Antonescu also explained that Vosganian’s decision to resign as Minister of the Economy was prompted by the desire to prevent further attacks on the government, after consulting with USL leaders. “We know full well what kind of country we live in, we know full well the absurd propaganda we are confronted with; he did not want, as neither did we, to make the government’s job and the Prime Minister’s more difficult than it already is. Thus, when he handed in his resignation, we accepted it and moved on,” the PNL chairman stated. “(…) Nothing could have determined us to take responsibility (…) for sending a man to trial for no actual reason, merely based on government and parliamentary decisions. However, given the decision, it would have generated an attack on an acting minister, which judges and prosecutors would have said could not be staved off, so we did not wish to offer any reasons to side with or against this government,” Antonescu added.
The Liberal leader said all Liberal senators voted against the request to initiate criminal proceedings, after it was decided to not go through with abstaining from the vote following discussions within USL. “If we abstained, the entire USL would have abstained,” Antonescu pointed out.
Prime Minister Ponta also believed the Senate’s decision to reject the request to initiate criminal investigations was correct, while his resignation was a political decision prompted by the desire not to harm the government’s image.
On the other hand, President Traian Basescu stated that Varujan Vosganian’s resignation from the government was a gesture of common-sense, although the Senate vote is still valid; he continued by saying he does not understand why the institution had to be compromised.