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February 2, 2023

Boc’s dilemma: Premier, party chief or nothing?

Scared by the prospect of PDL’s being ‘captured’ by Vasile Blaga, President Traian Basescu has left talking and begun acting, practically making the presidential party to discard ‘Premier’ Emil Boc and accept an ‘independent’ PM.

Ever since Sunday night, PDL local leaders have been in constant talks initiated by President Traian Basescu trying to find a replacement for Emil Boc. ‘An independent premier is being searched for to replace Emil Boc,’ Democrat-Liberal sources told Mediafax.

As a matter of fact, on Monday, in an interview with Romania Libera daily, the president was saying that a solution would be to disjoint the position of PDL president and the one of prime-minister. Sources from the meeting held at Vila Lac 1 Monday night, which lasted for about six hours, say that only a few local organisation heads supported the idea of an independent PM would not be good for the party as it would suggest that PDL is short of ‘staff.’

Yesterday, at 16:00, Basescu was set to meet with PDL MPs who were expected to vote on a new PM. Mediafax claims the ‘winner’ is BNR deputy-governor Cristian Popa who would lead a political cabinet. In the autumn of 2009, the same Cristian Popa had been supported by PDL for his current term as a member on the Board and deputy-governor of the central bank.

‘Gandul’ daily reads that, if the option of the independent PM finds support in PDL, Boc would announce his resignation in the coming days and the new Cabinet would be sworn in very quickly, before the UDMR congress next week, as a safeguard against UDMR’s possible betrayal during the vote.

However, if the solution of an independent PM is not sufficiently endorsed by PDL, the alternative is to keep Emil Boc at the helm of the government and reshuffle his current cabinet. During Monday night’s talks at Vila Lac 1 information leaked as to the lack of support for an independent PM, the argument being that a cabinet obtained in that way would not enjoy solid parliamentary support. Sources have told Mediafax that in favour of a technocrat were Sulfina Barbu, Anca Boagiu and Roberta Anastase and that the opponents supported Vasile Blaga. The same sources report that Basescu’s reply was: ‘I am not going to replace a premier who is a party president with the party’s secretary general.’


The people mentioned in the mass-media as possible replacements for Emil Boc are: BNR governor Mugur Isarescu, Romania’s representative with the IMF, Mihai Tanasescu, sustainable development expert Calin Georgescu, justice minister Catalin Predoiu or BNR governor’s adviser Lucian Croitoru (the latter having been nominated for the same office back in 2009, after the Boc Government had fallen in a no-confidence vote).

Between his two meetings with PDL people on Monday, the president paid a quick visit to BNR governor Mugur Isarescu and the press has claimed that he went there to try to convince him to become prime-minister. Tanasescu has denied having been contacted by the president or PDL leaders about heading the government, and said his becoming PM was ‘little likely’ to happen.


Sources are quoted by Hotnews.ro news website as saying that all the moves made these past few days are just the president’s efforts trying to prevent Vasile Blaga from taking over PDL and to keep Boc as president of the party. During the meetings on Sunday and Monday, Traian Basescu reportedly said he had no preference as to a particular candidate for president of the party, but that his only request was to have in the leadership the ‘reformists’: Sever Voinescu, Monica Macovei, Cristian Preda, Traian Radu Ungureanu and Teodor Baconschi.

According to Evenimentul Zilei daily, Boc is in for an even harsher fate: not only will he lose his MP position, but he will also be removed from the helm of PDL.

PDL sources report that Boc is presented with a radical choice: ‘all or nothing’. If he does not agree not to run for PDL president, he may also lose his position as head of the government because – sources say – if he competes with Vasile Blaga, who seems more determined to join the race, he will definitely lose. In a scenario like this, Boc’s defeat at the May congress would equal a new no-confidence vote in the government.

‘Jurnalul National’ daily, in its yesterday issue, also says Boc is supposed to be a barrier in Vasile Blaga’s way leading to the PDL leadership. Basescu’s new tactic – the president being frustrated as he had just seen himself removed from the buttons of PDL elections – is to forcefully capture the party catching it with its guard down. ‘Jurnalul National’ sources say the election of the new PDL leadership, originally scheduled for May, could be moved up, possibly a month from now, to leave Vasile Blaga no time to resume negotiations already initiated with the heads of county organisations.


PDL Secretary General Vasile Blaga said on Monday evening, on the public television, that, before anyone starts looking for a replacement, Emil Boc will have to resign. ‘We are not in that situation,’ Blaga said. PDL Bucharest President Elena Udrea yesterday said the option of having an independent PM was not excluded, but that it would need to be a decision embraced by the party. She also said that, should there be any options in that direction, ‘it was a variant just as good as the one with a political prime-minister.’ PDL deputy Sulfina Barbu said that, ‘at this stage, a new, rejuvenated team is needed in PDL, with a party president devoted to leading the party. I think it is important for the two positions to be separated.’
Culture Minister Kelemen Hunor (UDMR) believes an independent PM should be a personality with authority over the political factor. Yesterday, speaking for RFI, he advocated a political government.
what ‘enemies’ say

PSD leader Victor Ponta said yesterday, after the party’s standing bureau, that the social-democrat MPs will vote against any PDL proposed government, whoever the new prime minister might be. The other USL co-president Crin Antonescu, vowed the union would vote for no independent premier proposed by president Traian Basescu and would not take part in any governmental formula which includes PDL.

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