The co-presidents of the Social Liberal Union (USL), Victor Ponta and Crin Antonescu, announced they would boycott the referendum for the administration of Bucharest if it should contain the questions set by the General Council in last Wednesday’s meeting. “If we end up having a referendum with such ridiculous questions, we will boycott it and we won’t take part in a Basescu-Udrea sham (…) We aren’t all pets you can train, like the Democratic Liberal Party’s henchmen, this isn’t Udrea’s or Basescu’s backyard,” the Liberal leader Crin Antonescu stated, quoted by Mediafax.
In turn, the Social-Democrat president Victor Ponta stated that, from a legal point of view, the questions asked in a referendum have to be very clear and easily put in practice, adding he would call for the adoption of a new resolution in the Council, which sets a clear question, such as “Are you in favour of dissolving the districts?”, for the referendum. In the form proposed by PDL, the bill for organizing the referendum contains seven questions, but not one is an explicit question regarding the dismantling of districts. The Social- Democrats consider, in fact, that the stake of the referendum which is to take place in Bucharest on June 19 is dissolving the districts and covering up PDL’s internal battles. The secretary general of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea, thinks the questions are meant to confuse people going to the polls, who will get bored answering all these questions, when, in fact, only one question should be asked: “Do you want to have districts or not?”.
Elena Udrea also came in for criticism from other quarters. The general mayor Sorin Oprescu and the Liberal Sector 1 mayor, Andrei Chiliman, made critical remarks regarding her involvement in the referendum, during a talk-show on Realitatea TV. “Ms. Udrea is not a strong person, she is a cunning person… she is only trying to fool, to cheat the people of Bucharest with a so-called referendum,” Chiliman argued. “She is under the impression she is in charge and then she gets a kick out of this. I am sure that somebody is fashioning her, every day, a wax figure of myself and Chiliman and, in the morning, when she wakes up, she starts pressing everyone, pop, pop, to get high on this,” Oprescu said, in turn. Reacting to these comments, Udrea mocked the representatives of PSD, the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Conservative Party (PC) on her blog, arguing that, after calling for a referendum, PSD and PNL no longer want it because they realized the people of Bucharest are not on their side. “PSD and PNL are actively following in Laurel and Hardy’s footsteps. After crying out loud, for nearly three months, that PDL Bucharest does not want a referendum, now, when the referendum was decided, when we proved we are not afraid to stand before the people of Bucharest, USL threatens it will collect its toys and run back home. This is precisely the type of inconstancy which will always prevent Victor Ponta and Crin Antonescu from becoming statesmen,” Udrea argued. According to the Democrat- Liberal, a question like “Are you in favour of dissolving the districts?”, as suggested by Victor Ponta, proves the latter has no idea what he’s talking about, as PDL does not want to dissolve the districts, and it is the opposition which prefers to manipulate the people into believing this.
Democrat-Liberals, naturally, closed ranks behind Elena Udrea, even those members from within the party ho were critical of her. The PDL deputy mayor Mircea Raicu argued that the announcement by the opposition that it would boycott the referendum was mere propaganda, while the Democrat-Liberal MEP Cristian Preda stated that, although he had criticized Udrea on several counts, he stood by her in the matter of the referendum.
PRIGOANA, NEGOITA, BARBU ND PREDA, POTENTIAL CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR’S OFFICE
Preda’s position is hardly surprising, however, given that he may turn out to be PDL’s candidate for the Bucharest Mayor’s Office. Elena Udrea stated, in an interview to “Gandul”, that Preda, Silviu Prigoana, Liviu Negoita and Sulfina Barbu were among the party’s potential candidates for the general mayor’s office. According to the Regional Development Minister, it is important that PDL’s potential candidates be poised for the electoral race.