POLITICS

President to appoint USL PM only if one of the parties secures majority

Basescu: Social Liberal Union is and will remain a failure.

The president Traian Basescu stated on Monday evening on the public television (TVR) that he would appoint a prime-minister from the Social Liberal Union (USL) if and only if one of the parties making up the union secures majority in Parliament, arguing that article 103 in the Constitution, which regulates the appointment of the prime-minister, refers to parties, rather than alliances. “I am not playing at the Constitution. It has to be read accurately and (e.n. article) 103 refers to parties, not alliances. Alliances come and go. They (e.n. the opposition) should read the article, understand clearly what happened during these (e.n. partial) elections and make a decision accordingly,” the head of state argued. Basescu stated that, under the Constitution, if a party has absolute majority in Parliament, the president is no longer entitled to hold negotiations with all the parliamentary parties. “If, within USL, there is one party which secured 51 pc of the seats in Parliament, I will no longer summon anyone else (e.n. to consultations) but members of that party. (…) If the Constitution had allowed it, we would have found it stated there: parties, alliances, tenants’ associations or who knows what. However, we find it clearly stipulated: ‘a party’. This is precisely because alliances are fluctuating, they come and go,” the president claimed. This is the first time Basescu makes this interpretation. Back in 2009, after the Social Democrats quit the government, the president did not apply this rule. He appointed the PM from PDL, without PDL having the majority. The party acquired the majority only after it formed a coalition with UDMR and UNPR.

On Monday evening, Basescu argued that the provision concerning absolute parliamentary majority did not apply in the case of the DA Alliance in 2004 either. “The DA Alliance did not secure 51 pc. It was a political battle and consultations were held, involving all parties,” the head of state explained.

Basescu also infirmed rumours to the effect that the Liberal businessman Dinu Patriciu was being considered for prime-minister.

When asked to comment on this, the president replied: “Ask his hired minions when the rumour was first launched”.

The head of state criticized once again the Social Liberal Union and its leaders. According to president Basescu, Sunday’s partial elections for the Chamber proved that the Social Liberal Union was and would remain a political failure. At the same time, the president rejected the opposition’s allegations of electoral fraud: “Every time the Social Democratic Party (PSD) loses the elections, they cry out fraud. May God be with them! Nonetheless, this is no excuse for their lousy performance and no Romanian is going to buy, indefinitely, that every time they lose the elections they have been cheated”. The head of state further argued that the National Liberal Party (PNL) should analyze the results of the partial elections. “I warned Antonescu as a friend, although I think he is just as immature as Ponta, I asked him why he insisted on remaining in the opposition after 2012, because I do care about the Liberals, I would be sorry to see them remain in the opposition,” Basescu said. When asked whether these remarks were an invitation to negotiations, the president replied: “It’s not an invitation. I extended an invitation in 2008. Their terms were unacceptable. They will have to get their feet back on the ground. (…) If they want to speak on behalf of the opposition, they will have plenty of occasions to do it after 2012”.

Ponta : who is Basescu?

In response, the PSD president Victor Ponta argues the president’s statements reflect the latter’s recklessness. “Who is this man, Basescu? He is an irresponsible man and we, USL, will have to work for 20 years to make up for everything he stole,” Ponta stated. The deputy president of PNL Norica Nicolai also qualified the tone of the president’s speech as partisan, on RFI. “The president’s statement (e.n. ‘USL is and will remain a failure’) was meant to mobilize the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) team for the next elections, regardless of how they acted in government… It is only natural that the president, who accustomed us to such unmistakably biased discourse, should behave like this. However, fortunately, in Romania, reality always contradicts the president,” Nicolai argued.

“I don’t like the shows at DNA”

The president also stated, on TVR, that he wasn’t a fan of “the shows at the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA)”. “I don’t like the shows at DNA. An investigation is one thing, putting on a show is something else entirely. I’ve advised the head of DNA of this,” Traian Basescu argued. He made a special point of saying he had never intervened in any case. “Either in cases concerning politicians, or on behalf of other people,” Basescu stated.

In favour of Rosia Montana

Moving on to another topic, the head of state pleaded for the initiation of the Rosia Montana project. “As I back this project more than ever, not for sentimental reasons, but for pragmatic reasons (…) We need the gold for the central bank reserve. Romania has 103 tonnes of gold in the national reserve and I think we should boost our reserve to at least 200 tonnes in the years to come. That is why mining should start. I think Romania should boost its gold reserve for the future,” Basescu stated. In this context, he rejected the PSD leader’s accusations to the effect that he had received funding from Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) during his election campaign, qualifying Ponta as “immature” and arguing the latter would keep his party in the opposition. In response, Victor Ponta sent yesterday an open letter to Basescu, requesting him to clarify the Rosia Montana affair and to call on RMGC to “make their promotion expenses public”.

According to a release of the Ministry of the Environment and Forests, Environment Min Laszlo Borbely stated that he would present the Rosia Montana project to the Government for approval only if the investor commits to abide by good mining practices. According to Mediafax, he further stated that Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) had proposed, in the impact study for the mining project, a maximum 5 ppm-cyanide concentration in the artificial lake, half of the maximum European limit, but the Environment Ministry refused the proposal, requesting the investor to revise it. “I hope talks on this topic will reach a conclusion in the next two or three weeks,” the minister added. As regards the renegotiation of the contract and obtaining a new division of benefits, more advantageous to the Romanian state, Borbely stated, “as a politician, not as a minister”, that those who made the initial agreement could have obtained more for the Romanian state from this deal.

In a release by the company sent to Nine O’Clock, RMGC firmly rejects any allegations concerning any direct or indirect financial links with any political party.

President declares himself “an Atlantist”

The president Traian Basescu declared himself “an Atlantist” in the context of talks concerning the formation of the United States of Europe. “I am an Atlantist, but, as we face the facts, I cannot say I want a partnership with the US as if we weren’t living in Europe,” the president argued. He mentioned that the project of creating the United States of Europe presupposed relinquishing national sovereignty, but added one has to swallow “the pill” for Europe to be able to face the challenges of globalisation.

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