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November 27, 2021

Geoana secures Liberals, Hungarians backing in run-off

PSD and PNL leaders agreed to start negotiations for the construction of a new cabinet, led by Klaus Iohannis, and for a joint governing programme. The political agreement will be signed today, at 1 p.m.

The two parties, following the green light by their respective leaderships, agreed to form a cabinet and set up a programme including urgent measures addressing the economic crisis.

Last night, Social Democrat leader Mircea Geoana thanked Crin Antonescu for his support and said he is honoured by his trust.

If elected, Geoana gave assurances that Romania will have a new cabinet with competent ministers, irrespective of their political choices, until Christmas. He said that there are chances that IMF might return sooner than January to conclude the assessment of the current agreement, which might trigger the disbursement of the third tranche of the loan. This might be good news for the country’s finances, as Romania struggles to pay public pensions and salaries on the background of a public deficit heading to 8 per cent by year end. In this regard, Geoana said that he entirely agrees with the sensible proposals of the Liberals seeking to lessen fiscality and apply other economy recovery measures.

Antonescu will be present in the run-off campaign

At noon, Crin Antonescu announced that the Central Political Bureau (BPC), the party’s leadership body, has unanimously decided to back Geoana in the run-off, provided a political agreement based on Liberal principles is negotiated and signed. The Liberals’ stance is known – they want a Parliamentary majority that would back a Government led by Klaus Iohannis. The decision made by the Liberal Party’s BPC was read by Antonescu to the press: ‘The creation of a Parliamentary majority for the backing of Klaus Iohannis as Premier, the devising of a governing program that would pull Romania out of the crisis, backing Mircea Geoana in the Presidential run-off in the context in which a political agreement based on PNL’s fundamental principles will be signed. The goals of the newly created majority are the following: pulling Romania out of the political, economic and moral crisis, ensuring Romania’s political and moral stability, ensuring Romania’s good governance based on the principles of competitiveness, transparency and correctness and on the transparent spending of public funds, the reformation of the political class, the restoration of Romania’s international prestige.’

The Liberal President also stated that he was authorized by the party to make statements, to hold talks and to sign possible agreements, agreements that in his opinion could be signed in the following days. At the same time, PNL First Vice-President Ludovic Orban was tasked with negotiating a political agreement with PSD, while PNL Vice-President Relu Fenechiu, who is also the leader of the party’s Iasi branch, was nominated as the party’s coordinating negotiator of the governing program. At the same time Ludovic Orban and Romeo Stavarache will coordinate the PNL’s campaign efforts in the run-off.

Moreover, Antonescu announced that if the agreement is signed he will ‘personally’ get involved in the run-off campaign, pointing out that Traian Basescu personally involved him in the campaign after he addressed him in his first statement of the run-off campaign as if he was still in the race. ‘So I’ll take part in the run-off too,’ the PNL leader argued.

The Liberals’ decision was foreshadowed on Monday when Antonescu clearly stated that he won’t back Traian Basescu in the run-off, but the official decision at party level was taken yesterday. Radu Campeanu, the founder of PNL, stated yesterday morning ahead of the BPC meeting that the politicians have to join forces and to fight in order to prevent Traian Basescu from winning another term, pointing out that that would be the national interest and that the Liberals have to back Mircea Geoana.

Frictions in the liberal camp

Nevertheless, the press wrote yesterday that the subject created frictions within PNL and that some party leaders even expressed their support for Basescu. According to the press, Fenechiu and Stavarache, the very persons tasked to negotiate with PSD and to handle the campaign in the run-off, were allegedly two of the Liberals that expressed their support for Basescu. According to HotNews, Valerian Salavastru, a person close to Relu Fenechiu, proposed a partnership with Traian Basescu in an open letter addressed to the Liberals, underlining that the current President has to appoint a Liberal Premier. At the same time, PNL Vice-President Romeo Stavarache stated on Monday evening on Realitatea TV that no party decision was taken in order for the PNL to withhold its votes for Traian Basescu. He interpreted Crin Antonescu’s statement as a ‘personal announcement.’

On the other hand, it also seems that the Democrat-Liberals are nevertheless negotiating with some Liberals on an individual basis, despite the fact that President Basescu stated yesterday that he is not negotiating with anyone.

According to ‘Ziua’ daily, each of the PD-L leaders chose five Counties where they will try to convince the leaders of PNL’s branches to back Basescu in the run-off, banking on some of the Liberals’ dissatisfaction with Antonescu’s attitude and on a possible split within PNL. The aforementioned source added that Basescu also met a team of Liberal negotiators within the Cotroceni Palace. The information was nevertheless denied by Antonescu. ‘Ziua’ daily also claims that, against the backdrop of the dissatisfaction shown by some of the PNL branches and of a cooling of relations between Antonescu and Orban, the former Premier and party president Calin Popescu Tariceanu is seeking to take over the party leadership during next year’s spring congress. Tariceanu already started talks with the branches controlled by Antonescu, seeking to garner their backing.

UDMR joins PNL

The Democrat Union of Magyars in Romania (UDMR), the representative of the Hungarian minority in Parliament, announced that it is joining the project of creating a Parliamentary majority that would impose Iohannis as Prime Minister. ‘At this moment a closer cooperation with PNL is taking shape, and for us proposing Klaus Iohannis as Prime Minister is very important. I am convinced that my colleagues will back Klaus Iohannis as Prime Minister,’ the UDMR leader stated yesterday. Verestoy Attila, another UDMR leader, stated for Realitatea.net that backing Geoana for President and Iohannis for the Prime Minister’s office ‘is a great chance for Romania’ and that in this context Traian Basescu no longer has any chance to win. A meeting between PNL and UDMR was scheduled yesterday evening and was set to set the terms for backing Geoana.

PSD leaders salutes the decision

PSD’s reaction to PNL’s and UDMR’s decision to back its candidate consisted rather of an anti-Basescu argument in order to show its new partners that they did the right thing to ally against the current President. Ion Iliescu, PSD’s Honorary President, stated that PNL’s decision to collaborate with PSD is natural since removing Traian Basescu from office is vital. Constanta Mayor Radu Mazare stated that he views the rapprochement between PSD and PNL positively, pointing out that he is in favor of Iohannis becoming Prime Minister. Marian Vanghelie, the head of PSD’s Bucharest branch, stated that the Head of State has grown tired and old, with there being a need for him to retire. Vanghelie opined that the time has come for a new generation, one that includes Mircea Geoana and Crin Antonescu. Adrian Nastase, the president of PSD’s National Council, stated in his turn that PNL’s decision is very good.

Boc: A coalition of political barters

PD-L leader Emil Boc accused PSD and PNL of forming ‘a coalition of political barters,’ a coalition that learned nothing from past lessons and whose single purpose is to safeguard privileges. ‘We notice a PSD-PNL coalition that seeks to destroy the flat tax and to hike taxes and fees. Basically, what PSD is proposing with PNL backing is the elimination of the flat tax, the introduction of the progressive tax and a minimum tax of 20 per cent,’ the PD-L leader stated yesterday at the party headquarters. Asked whether PD-L is planning to negotiate with PNL or UDMR, the PD-L leader stated that the Democrat-Liberals are holding talks in order ‘to put the Romanians’ will in Parliament – to reduce the number of MPs and to amend the Constitution.’

Melescanu, Nastase and Bosca Stanescu dine with Patriciu

The ‘Academia Catavencu’ weekly magazine publishes this week an article in which it shows that Liberal businessman Dinu Patriciu dined with Teodor Melescanu (PNL), Adrian Nastase (PSD) and journalist Sorin Rosca Stanescu on Monday, with the article’s authors suggesting that heated negotiations centering on the PSD-PNL agreement stood behind their meeting.

Alexander Churilin: Russia is watching “with great interest” the elections

The Russian Ambassador to Bucharest, Alexander Churilin, declared on Tuesday that there is too much noise in connection with the visit of Mircea Geoana to Moscow, Agerpres transmits, taken over by Hotnews. “Mr. Geoana is a Romanian politician who has visited not only Moscow, but also other capitals of the world, and I don’t see a reason for discussion,” Alexander Churilin said. The Ambassador said Russia is watching “with great interest” the elections in Romania. He explained that the Romanian state is in an advantageous situation, on the one hand it is a member of the European Union, and, on another hand, it is a neighbor and partner of the states from East Europe and of Russia. “I recommend a more intense activity both with the West and with Russia,” Ambassador Churilin said at Dumbraveni where he laid a wreath of flowers at the monument of general A.V. Suvorov.

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