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March 30, 2023

Plagiarism row: Ponta warns his ministers to expect more low-blows

Democrat Liberals asked PM to resign.

The dust has not settled yet in the so-called plagiarism row in which PM Ponta is involved, PDL continuing its unrelenting attacks in the hope of winning back the electorate it lost, in view of upcoming parliamentary elections. All weapons are now used.Thus, after being attacked from all quarters in recent days, PM Ponta warned his ministers yesterday that they should be prepared for the vilest and unimaginable attacks from their political opponents, pointing out that the USL government is in the frontlines of a battle against those that previously governed through blackmail and calumnies.“You all knew we are at war against those we toppled from power one and a half months ago, that our opponents won’t use clean or honorable weapons. Prepare yourselves, the attacks will be the dirtiest and most unfair possible, attacks you could never have imagined, but we have a very clear task from the people, as well as the courage and determination to overcome the opponent’s dirty weapons and to do our duty. Please realize we are in the frontlines of a war against the system that governed Romania in recent years through blackmail, threats and calumnies. There will be difficult moments but I believe we can overcome them together and we have the people on our side in this war against a person and a system that destroyed and stole our Romania” Ponta told the ministers at the start of the government meeting.Latter in the day, he also said he is proud of his PhD thesis and that he was the youngest representative of Romania within the working commission at New York. Referring to the statement made by Democrat-Liberal Adriean Videanu, who asked him to resign on Tuesday “because he did too many mistakes in a far too short period,” the Premier stated that Videanu is a liar and it will give him “great pleasure to prove that, based on documents, every time he has the opportunity.” “Because I knew he said he never signed a document in his life, I presented to you in Parliament decisions signed by Minister Adriean Videanu concerning the export of electricity at a price far below the stock market price. It’s his signature,” Ponta said. At the same time, he opined that Videanu “deserves” to be proven a liar every day. In reply, the former Economy stated yesterday that he is the target of a campaign of calumnies, that he is not vulnerable to blackmail and rejected Premier Victor Ponta’s accusations in regard to the note he signed in 2010, a note concerning energy exports. “The name “thief” is a perfect fit for Ponta. He should resign!” Videanu added.PM Ponta is not alone in this war. Apart from former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase and Foreign Affairs Minister Andrei Marga, he is also backed by PNL President Crin Antonescu, the latter stating yesterday that he talked with the Premier about the plagiarism accusations and he backs him, asking him to show no hesitation under these attacks and pressures. After he was accused of plagiarizing his Ph.D. thesis, ‘Gandul’ daily compared his thesis – “The International Criminal Court” – with Judge Dumitru Diaconu’s “International Criminal Court. History and Reality” (All Beck publishing house, 1999), concluding that the Premier’s thesis includes consistent fragments from Diaconu’s book. On the other hand, Dumitru Diaconu stated he found out about the plagiarism accusations from the press, that he is not aware his book was copied and he will not notify the National Ethics Council. At the same time, the panel of judges states the following about Diaconu, the one who released Constantin Nicolescu (PSD) from arrest: “Exquisite moral probity and professional deontology.” Quoting Bucharest University officials that were part of the commission before which Ponta presented his thesis, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ pointed out that the candidate’s thesis received the “summa cum laude” distinction. On the other hand, ‘Romania Libera’ daily talked to four law professors from the main university centres, who stated that the Premier “roughly” copied from other sources, without even bothering to change the authors’ specific styles.‘Adevarul’ daily claims that 79 of the 305 pages of Ponta’s Ph.D. thesis represent the work of other authors, without that being properly highlighted in the thesis. ‘Adevarul’ daily quotes university professor Dragos Ciupariu who estimates that approximately 80 per cent of the thesis represents clear plagiarism.At the same time, German media attacks Ponta: “Shame on you”. According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, Ponta’s PhD thesis is “fishy”.

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