Vasile Blaga won on Saturday, during the party’s National Convention meeting that took place at Romexpo, his second term at the helm of PDL. Thus, Blaga won 2,344 votes of the total 4,567 valid votes cast by the delegates present, while Elena Udrea, his main contender, won 2,014 votes. Former justice minister Monica Macovei was third, at a considerable distance, winning just 209 votes.
The announcement was made by Mircea Toader, the chairman of the commission that counted the votes, who pointed out that 4,567 of the 4,615 votes cast were valid, while 48 were cancelled. In the speech he gave on this occasion, Blaga attacked Udrea, stating he did not go through hotels the night before (Friday night – editor’s note) “to give food” to the delegates, reminding the former development minister that he was never a member of PSD and PNL either. “Losing is tough, I lost too, but I never questioned the fairness and honesty of the colleagues that counted the votes (referring to Udrea’s voting fraud accusations – editor’s note). (…)
I was never in PSD and PNL, I never accept my loyalty being questioned by someone who went everywhere,” the PDL leader told his contender. He pointed out that from his point of view the announcement of the National Convention’s results has put an end to things, the Democrat-Liberals having to focus their whole attention on the battle against USL from now on. Moreover, Blaga stated that he expects a united team that has three things to accomplish: the reconstruction of the party, the battle against USL and the reconstruction of the Romanian right-wing. “There is life after March 23 too and our job is to come before the National Coordination Council that will come up with a powerful team that would fight against USL.” In fact, Blaga had previously stated in the speech he gave in support of his candidacy for the party’s presidency, that the winner of March 23 will be PDL “if we remain united.” “The party will be the loser if we leave divided, if political mirages, mermaid songs, hotel rooms and free food move us away from our path,” he stated.At the PDL Convention, Vasile Blaga was backed by PDL Secretary General Gheorghe Flutur, MP Raluca Turcan, PDL Vice President Andreea Paul and MEP Theodor Stolojan, who stated that he is the most capable and loyal of the candidates and does not have “the hand on the party’s doorknob” in case he loses.
Udrea found defeat difficult to accept
The former development and tourism minister had hoped up until the last moment for a turnabout, asking for a recount and for a runoff. Udrea even filed a legal contest in this sense, warning that from her point of view there is the risk for many to no longer consider themselves represented by the current PDL. Moreover, she expressed her strong belief that she “would have defeated Blaga in the runoff.” Her backers in their turn stated that there was a difference of 265 votes between the number of voters announced initially and the results (4,359 persons were announced but there were 4,611 votes – editor’s note). The members of the commission for the organization of elections within PDL analyzed on the night of Saturday to Sunday, along with Elena Udrea’s backers, the requests filed as part of her legal contest and concluded that the voting was “impeccable,” PDL MP Mircea Toader, a member of the Commission, stated yesterday. In the speech she gave in support of her candidacy, Udrea stated that the party “needs a brave leader” and pointed out that “worse than what happened so far would be for nothing to happen after Saturday’s Convention.” “PDL needs a brave leader who won’t care about attacks, who would be able to fight against Ponta, Antonescu and Voiculescu. (…) I can fight for PDL,” she told the 5,000 delegates present at Romexpo.
The former development and tourism minister was backed by speeches given by former PDL president and former premier Emil Boc, but also by Theodor Paleologu, Gheorghe Stefan and Florin Popescu. Boc gave her the “cherished gift” that he received in December 2004 from Traian Basescu, namely the party’s badge whom he called “the symbol of the party’s victories.” In his turn, Theodor Paleologu stated that Vasile Blaga’s motion represents “slow death,” Monica Macovei’s “has neither rhyme nor reason,” Elena Udrea’s is “with me or against me” and added that Blaga “has no appeal for the public.”
Unlike Udrea, Monica Macovei did not comment the results of Saturday’s vote. The only statements she made were part of her speech in support of her candidacy, the former justice minister stating that she is strong and credible and her words have weight at European level. “I’m not lying like Ponta does, I’m not corrupt like Nastase, I don’t hate America and Europe like Antonescu does, I do not renounce Schengen, I don’t mock the judiciary like Voiculescu does. I am the nightmare of Ponta, Nastase, Antonescu and Voiculescu. It won’t work with me,” Macovei stated, proposing to the delegates “the radical solution,” namely to transform PDL in a party of reformers. “I propose to you to become once again the right-wing’s great party, to not hand us over in part or in whole to PNL or PSD. I propose this motion to those of us who want to get to power through the front door, not the backdoor.” MEP Cristian Preda, her backer, harshly criticized PDL’s current leadership, stating that the party lost from the local to the general elections more than any other party lost since 1990: “The leadership is in disarray. In some cases the leaders’ reactions to USL’s mistakes come two or three days later. The BPN is slow, it was confiscated by three or four persons that express opinions on any subject, sometimes in an uninspired and boring fashion.” He also pointed out that the leaders of PDL are ignored by journalists. Democrat-Liberal Adrian Papahagi, who was also Macovei’s backer, stated that the party needs an antibiotic, a pharmaceutical drug, pointing out that the drug is represented, “whether we like it or not,” by MEP Monica Macovei.