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March 29, 2023

Nastase: In 2004, the night of the elections, Basescu thought that he lost and called me

The former premier claims that in 2004 he was very close to
a cohabitation with Traian Basescu, but the head of state “changed the rules” by blackmailing UDMR and PUR.

The statement was made Wednesday evening during the talk show named ‘Jocuri de putere’ (Power games) on Realitatea TV. “I never thought about this (accepting to be nominated as premier by Traian Basescu). I try to remember the conversations I had with Traian Basescu the night of the elections, after the second ballot. He thought, at some moment, that he lost the elections, and called me. I think it was around midnight or 1 AM, maybe earlier… When the result became somehow apparent, although there would be much to discuss here, the respective morning I made a very elegant announcement congratulating him for the mandate, considering that, back then, Romania was in a very special situation,” Nastase recollected, quoted by realitatea.net.
According to the former premier, at that time there was an agreement between PSD, UDMR, the minorities’ group, PUR and Traian Basescu, under which the former were to form the government: “In these conditions, I though that, after my announcement and the acceptance of the fact that Basescu could be president, he would respect the result of parliamentary elections and practically we would form the government (PSD, UDMR, the group of minorities and PUR). The agreement had been reached. I was at the government HQ, waiting for these documents to be signed, which never happened because Basescu blackmailed UDMR and PUR. (…) Under normal circumstances, we should have cohabitated at that time. This no longer happened, because he changed the rules.”
On the other hand, Nastase also referred to the possibility of making the regionalisation of the country during his mandate of premier. At that time, there was a proposal to replace the 41 counties with 20 regions, he said, adding that such a territorial administrative division would have made it easier for Romania to attract European funds.
The former PM also spoke about the referendum for a unicameral Parliament with 33 members, requested these days by the president. “I believe this is a private referendum, and the government has two rather simple solutions: first, it if wants to be elegant, it sends a notification to the Venice Commission asking whether two referenda can be hold on the same subject. Second, less elegant, after the referendum we send its invoice to Basescu,” Nastase mentioned.
As for his 2-year prison sentence on corruption charges in the Quality Trophy file, the former PSD leader said that he was disturbed by the “lack of solidarity” of his colleagues: “Liviu Dragnea once said that I paid for everybody. I do not know if someone had to pay, or there even were things that should he paid for in our zone.”
“For me, Traian Basescu no longer exists!”
“For me, Traian Basescu is what the Americans call a <<lame duck>>, someone who leaves the game, who did bad things, who did not know how to construct and who will disappear from history books. Many Romanians will realise, or maybe they already realised that the Basescu regime meant a decade of lost years, a chapter of history marked by vengeance, by the incapacity to look forward,” Nastase stated. In his opinion, Romania became a place of chaos and personal vendettas. “From this point of view, for me Traian Basescu no longer exists!” the former premier added. Asked if he felt the victim of personal revenge, the former prime minister gave an affirmative answer: “It was a vendetta of Traian Basescu, which he overtly announced. As early as 2004, he clearly stated it, also in early 2005. After that moment, the mechanism, the system did its duty and continued in the wake of an approach which they believed would please the man who was in control of services, justice, prosecutors…”

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