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February 4, 2023

Basescu: I proposed Ponta to be prime-minister at the latest talks

Ponta: I’m not Boc or Ungureanu to be appointed by Basescu so that he can take the mickey out of me.

Invited to B1 TV Sunday night, President Traian Basescu disclosed the fact that, during the talks on February 6, this year, he had offered PSD President Victor Ponta to become prime-minister, but he had declined. Basescu noted that Ponta had not answered him, but that PNL leader Crin Antonescu answered ‘for him’ first, then PC leader Daniel Constantin. The president said that Ponta should have accepted the offer and that, considering the national interest, he would have helped him set up his government, commenting that the PSD president’s refusal had not demonstrated a responsible behaviour. ‘If I were Victor Ponta, I would have said: Yes, thank you. (…) I would have gone to parliament and, if my cabinet had been voted, I would have ruled until the election,’ Basescu said. The president made those statements while commenting on the chance USL has to be in the government after the election this autumn. ‘I have good news for you. It’s hard to believe there will be (a USL government – our note). They will not obtain the kind of score that would allow them to form the government alone,’ said Basescu. The president’s statement was corroborated by ex-PM Emil Boc, as well as by other Democrat Liberal leaders. ‘We had discussed that. We were aware of the proposal he was going to make to USL. We were going to wait for USL’s reaction to the proposal made,’ Boc explained, adding that ‘the transcripts are more than eloquent’. PDL First Vice-President Gheorghe Flutur also said he had known the day prior to the talks with the parties on the formation of the new government that the president was set to propose to Victor Ponta and USL to take over the government. PDL Bucharest leader Elena Udrea said the PDL leaders had been disappointed that USL declined the offer, because, should it had taken it, they would have demonstrated just how incompetent they are and PDL would have been regretted.

Shortly after Basescu disclosed the fact that he had proposed to Ponta to become prime-minister, the latter said on Realitatea TV that the president was lying. ‘(…) The president is lying. He never proposed anything to us. I never declined anything, because there was nothing to decline. I for one don’t understand anything anymore. Mr. Basescu was saying the other day that he had already decided to appoint Ungureanu in December and that he would not appoint anyone from USL or myself as prime-minister. Such statements are placing Mr. Ungureanu in a bad light,’ Victor Ponta said.

In response, the head of state handed over to the B1 TV host the transcript of the meeting: Daniel Constantin: ‘I was expecting you to make a proposal at the beginning of our talks, because, after all, it was you who invited us over for discussions, and you…’ Traian Basescu: ‘I have made you a proposal, the appointment of Mr. Ponta as prime-minister’ Daniel Constantin: ‘We understand. We take it as a proposal. Earlier it was a suggestion or more like’ Traian Basescu: ‘No…’ Daniel Constantin: ‘A possibility. We understand it is a proposal. We thought the early elections…’ According to the journalist, by that point, PSD leader Victor Ponta had not intervened in the discussion regarding his possible nomination as prime-minister. Yesterday, Ponta resumed the subject, saying that he would demand that the complete transcripts of the meeting between Traian Basescu and the various political parties are published, stating his conviction that the president had not mentioned his name as a proposal for the position of premier. ‘An hour and a half later, Mr. Ungureanu was already at Cotroceni. Should I understand that, after I had declined Mr. Basescu’s proposition at 4:30, Mr. Ungureanu went to Cotroceni at 5:30?’ Ponta asked, according to Mediafax. Ponta noted that, in fact, he would never accept a PM position offered by Traian Basescu. ‘I am neither Emil Boc nor Mihai Razvan Ungureanu to be appointed by Traian Basescu so that he can take the mickey out of me, not even as a mockery or a joke’, he commented. Asked why he had not disclosed the proposal that was made to him, Victor Ponta answered: ‘I cannot come and relate to you the president’s bad jokes. The ladies who are very close to him can do that for me.’

PSD Honorary President Ion Iliescu also stated yesterday that he wasn’t taking the president’s proposal to Ponta seriously, describing his gesture as ‘a diversion, a bluff’, a way of ‘confusing and creating false themes for the press and public.’ The President of PSD National Council, Adrian Nastase, in turn said Basescu had come ‘prepared to drop the thing’ on the Sunday night TV show and that no serious proposal had ever been made. ‘It was for amusement. Even for him it was just a way of testing or putting USL in difficulty,’ Nastase said.PNL

President Crin Antonescu said yesterday that President Traian Basescu had not made Victor Ponta any serious offer to become prime-minister. Antonescu pointed out that, according to politics textbooks, such offers are not to be made and announced the way Traian Basescu did. ‘Such things are not recounted after five weeks and a week after the president said that even if we were to win election, he would never appoint Ponta as PM. These are pub jokes and I’m trying to discuss politics,’ Antonescu said.

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