PSD President Victor Ponta announced at the end of the first meeting of the party’s Permanent National Bureau (BPN), that the Social-Democrats’ local branches will hold internal elections from February 1 until the Congress set to take place on April 19-20 in Bucharest. He pointed out that after validating the new local branch leaderships the Congress will elect the party’s new leadership for a term that will last until the 2016 elections. Ponta added that PSD’s new leadership structure will consist of 16 Vice Presidents, eight of them representing regions and eight being elected from among the party’s national leaders. At the same time he pointed out that the merger between PSD and UNPR will take place during the Congress, UNPR in principle set to have two Vice Presidents in the party’s future leadership structure. Ponta underlined that the elections for the Vice Presidents will be nominal, not on closed lists. Prior to that announcement the PSD leader had stated at the start of the BPN meeting that he is expecting the Congress to be “much better than the congresses organized after losing the elections, because back then people were naturally upset and accounts had to be squared.” “This time I believe there is no question of removing someone, it’s a question of preparing the party so that it can exist and act independently, not separately from the government,” Ponta stated. On the other hand, he announced on Thursday that he will present “the state of the nation,” namely situation concerning the debts, the 2013 budget and the projects that can be accomplished in the next four years on the basis of multi-annual budget earmarks. He pointed out that his presentation will have a four-year outlook. In what concerns the comments concerning the USL-UDMR “relation,” Ponta stated that he appointed Gyorgy Frunda as his honorary aide in order to give a signal to UDMR, namely to the ethnic minorities, that the USL majority in Parliament will not be used against them.