Ponta: We will modify the Constitution by June 2013

The Premier stated during a talk-show that President Basescu behaved electorally using poor taste jokes but is not similarly fierce in Brussels.

Premier Victor Ponta stated on Tuesday during a talk-show on Realitatea TV that he will modify Romania’s Constitution during “the first session” of 2013. During the same talk-show Ponta also talked about the reorganization of administrative units.“I believe we have to modify the Constitution during the first session next year, by June. We will have a consistent majority. We won’t have elections at that time so Basescu won’t be able to say that we’re modifying the Constitution against him,” the Premier stated. The Prime Minister pointed out that the government, which will be led by USL after the elections too, will also come up with the reorganization of administrative units. “From my point of view the only possibility is to go along with the structure of the current development regions, 8 in number. By gradually transferring prerogatives from the central government and the counties to the regions that will be directly responsible for the absorption of European funds. For that we need to modify the Constitution,” Victor Ponta added. Former Premier Emil Boc considers that Romania should not revert to the situation in which Parliament can change the Constitutional Court’s decisions, a provision that was included in the Constitution until 2003, because this practice no longer exists anywhere else in Europe.These are not the only changes that a future USL government has in mind. Premier Ponta underlined that the future Constitution will have to clarify the relationships between institutions. “I plan to talk with UDMR and with PDL if they are capable: we have to clarify the Constitution, to make sure no other president, after Basescu leaves, whether it will be Antonescu or anyone else, will go to Brussels saying all of you back home are stupid, shut up because I know what I’m doing,” Ponta said. “My opinion: I believe the President has to continue to be elected through direct vote, on the other hand the Premier is held accountable before Parliament. We have to base this on our experience with Basescu: the President doesn’t nominate whoever he wants as Premier, he nominates the one who has the highest number of seats in Parliament. Basescu has brought us to the absurd situation in which he nominates whom he wants. We have to introduce in the Constitution when and in what way the President intervenes in the activity of the government. We have to spell out that the members of the CCR should be people with certain training, who spent a minimum of 18 years as magistrates. I believe that on the basis of the sad experience we have had in the last 8 years in the future we will introduce provisions so that whoever will be premier and president we will never have to go again through the crises we have gone through in the last 8 years,” the Premier stated.Ponta added that he does not believe that the President will resign if the Constitution is modified in the sense of transforming the Parliament into a single-chamber Parliament. “I personally believe President Basescu will not resign in any situation. But that’s not the main goal. If we’re talking about modifying the Constitution we have to adjust the electoral system too. On December 9 we will vote on the basis of a poor law. The CCR did not allow us to modify it because PDL would have lost too badly. So in 2013 we have to adjust the electoral system,” Ponta added.During the same talk-show the Premier accused President Traian Basescu that after the talk they had at the Presidential Palace he repeatedly expressed electoral positions “using cheap sarcasm and poor taste jokes,” adding however that the Head of State is fierce only in Bucharest, not being similarly fierce in Brussels. At the same time, the Premier added that Eugen Tomac, the head of the Department for Romanians Everywhere (DRP) in whose case the Court of Accounts discovered irregularities, was appointed at the direct request of President Traian Basescu because he was bringing in votes from the Diaspora. After analyzing the projects implemented by the DRP, the Court of Accounts noted in a report that the institution caused damages of RON 4,326,340 to the state budget from 2009 to 2011. Also on Tuesday, Ponta stated during a press conference in Slatina that “at the helm of the country” is “a man that had to do” with the structures of the Securitate, structures he had nothing to do with since he was too young at the time. The Premier made the statement after a journalist asked him what can a Premier do to reveal former Securitate members and collaborators. Moreover, Ponta pointed out that in recent years he saw that many people holding important offices had collaborated with the Securitate.Ponta stated yesterday in Targu Jiu that the dispute he has with President Traian Basescu is “a small battle” that will go away “in a day or two, a week,” and is in fact a battle for “the amount of money the Romanian farmer will have,” “for the chances we still have to build a highway.”

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