PSD President Victor Ponta and PNL leader Crin Antonescu want to decapitate party rivals at 2013 congresses and Vasile Blaga may be replaced as PDL head.
The three big parties – PSD, PNL and PDL – are organising extraordinary congress meetings in the first half of 2013 to clarify their internal situation after the troubled political year 2012. The first to convene are the Liberals – at the beginning of the year. ‘I would like to propose an extraordinary PNL congress as soon as possible. January is dedicated to the budget debates. Maybe February,’ Antonescu said in the last days of 2012. ‘We need such a congress in my opinion, an opinion which may or may not be shared by my colleagues, not because some seemed very impatient about one until not long ago, because they are no longer as impatient as they were, but simply because PNL has completed a stage,’ Antonescu stressed, making a direct reference to the PNL members challenging his positions. Pushed by the very good result in the parliamentary election, the PNL leader will run for a new term as president of the party. Crin Antonescu also wants to sort out in-fights and ask for the expelling of the critical members. As a matter of fact, the Liberals took a first step in that direction and excluded Adriana Saftoiu from the party. The decision was made by the Standing Delegation of the Prahova County Organisation where Saftoiu was a member and was explained by a ‘contradiction’ of Saftoiu’s public positions and PNL’s line. At the same time, Tariceanu and Orban are on the black list. Calin Popescu-Tariceanu and Ludovic Orban are the main PNL members Crin Antonescu would like to discard soon. The two are not in tune to the authoritarian leadership line imposed by President Antonescu and have publicly brought him to account. The in-party opposition line also includes District 1 Mayor Andrei Chiliman and the former President of the PNL organisation in the same sector, Vlad Moisescu. After the referendum for the dismissal of President Traian Basescu, Crin Antonescu publicly accused Andrei Chiliman and Moisescu of betrayal. As a matter of fact, during the last 2012 press conference, Antonescu stressed that the people who had been disloyal; to the party were going to pay.
PSD congress, formality
PSD members will approach the next congress in a much more relaxed way, after the overwhelming victories in the local and legislative elections. Victor Ponta wants to hold a new PSD congress to consolidate his position in front of the local leaders and to resolve the small differences in the party. The Social-Democrats also have to deal with the issue of betrayal, following rumours that Mircea Geoana might be preferred by Traian Basescu as prime minister after the December 9 election. Although he has been reappointed prime minister by the president, Ponta doesn’t want his old rival in the party any more. Another PSD member the premier does not particularly fancy is the influential Marian Vanghelie, seen as someone close to Mircea Geoana. The only fight in the party is going to be for the position of president of the National Council, vacated after the incarceration of Adrian Nastase.
Fight for power within PDL
Vasile Blaga’s position as leader of PDL is in danger, because the Right Romania Alliance (ARD) did not reach its 20 per cent objective in the parliamentary election. Several PDL voices have criticised the decision of the leaders to participate in election with the ARD name and President Vasile Blaga needs to calm down spirits before May, when the Democrat-Liberals have scheduled a National Convention to elect new leadership. On his way to a new term as PDL President, Vasile Blaga could come against Elena Udrea’s opposition. Having obtained a good score in the parliamentary election and a seat in Parliament, Udrea, helped by Gheorghe Stefan (Pinalty), restored her image in the party and is considering a lead position. Arad Mayor Gheorghe Falca is on her camp, and might be pushed towards the presidential chair. Another person considered for president of PDL is Emil Boc. The ex-PM has the competitive advantage of a good score obtained by the party in Cluj in the parliamentary election but, for now, he hesitates to join the fight. A new wave of changes may happen in PDL by May, at the National Coordination Council set for February 23. So far, the only changes in PDL have been the resignations of Cristian Preda and Sever Voinescu as First Vice President and Vice President.
Kelemen Hunor, mid-term report
Hungarian leaders are also meeting in a congress to analyse 2012 political results. Even if they managed to go beyond the 5 per cent Parliament access threshold, UDMR is not in the Government for the first time in 22 years. President Kelemen Hunor who is at the middle of his term will have to explain the failed negotiation with USL for a presence on the new Government. Nonetheless, his position at the helm of the party is not in jeopardy.