Following the exchange of ironic retorts all through Thursday, Antonescu went to Ponta’s Cabinet office last night. Finally, the two agreed with the setting up of an investigation commission. The PM said that the Liberals are now backing the proposal and that the commission will be chaired by a Social Democrat.
PNL President Crin Antonescu asked for President Traian Basescu’s resignation at a press conference yesterday. His reaction came as a result of the recent scandal around “the plot of arable land that the President’s eldest daughter bought in Calarasi County.” “It (the resignation – editor’s note) is a decision that would spare the country from a new embarrassing subject, from another year of political war,” the PNL President stated, being quoted by realitatea.net. He stated that Basescu’s resignation is “necessary,” pointing out that the opinion is shared by his party colleagues too. “I’m not naïve, I don’t believe there are many chances he will heed the suggestion, but resigning would be a healthy and dignified political answer,” Antonescu stated.
In what concerns the Parliamentary investigation commission, the PNL President stated that the Liberals will “surely” agree with it and he proposed PSD Senator Ilie Sarbu as its chairman. “I talked with Ponta on Monday about the commission concerning the loan offered by CEC. (…) What has to be very clear from now on for the PSD President is that PNL will not end up in the situation in which it would adopt decisions that people from outside the party announce on TV. We cannot accept that! We did not express a position on the essence of the issue and an attack was initiated, questioning PNL’s membership within USL. None of these forms of pressure will intimidate PNL. Nobody can give PNL an ultimatum. PNL is a serious party that does not take decisions based on orders expressed on TV or on Ponta’s hasty announcements, it takes decisions within statutory frameworks. (…) Nobody from PNL will prevent an investigation commission. (…) Whatever happens with the commission, what Basescu is doing is unacceptable, it’s a new embarrassment for Romania,” Antonescu added.
Asked whether PSD President Victor Ponta gave him an ultimatum in what concerns the commission, the PNL President answered: “An ultimatum was out of the question. We are not answering today because it is not urgent – Basescu will not run away with the land, as Ponta puts it – the decision will be taken, if taken, next week.”
In what concerns Traian Basescu’s statement according to which he plans to attack the referendum law for the second time at the Constitutional Court, Antonescu stated: “Basescu has admitted that he is doing everything in his power to delay this law coming into force. I never heard of such a precedent, I don’t know whether it is constitutional. A law could be blocked forever like this.”
Prior to making these statements Crin Antonescu had stated on Antena 3 on Wednesday evening that he cannot accept a political leader announcing a PNL decision without a prior discussion, stating that Victor Ponta, who had said he had talked with Antonescu by phone, must have had Daniel Constantin (the PC President – editor’s note) confused with him. He pointed out that the spreading of the idea, even among the ranks of some USL representatives, that he “sided with Basescu” is “an almost indecent if not even outrageous discussion.” At the same time, Antonescu stated that “the issue of breaking up USL was not raised, and voices were not raised either” during the USL leaders’ meeting on Wednesday evening.
Ponta mocks Antonescu
PSD Chairman Victor Ponta stated yesterday he supports the PNL leader’s initiative to ask for President Traian Basescu’s resignation, “even though” he had not been consulted in this matter. However, Ponta said he views the appointment of PSD Senator Ilie Sarbu (his father-in-law) as head of the investigation commission in the Calarasi case as a “joke,” adding not all of Antonescu’s jokes are good. The Prime Minister did not stop there. He claimed the Liberal leader told him Wednesday that PNL would make a decision on the Calarasi commission by Thursday, but the decision was pushed back until early next week. “It’s all very well. Whenever they’re ready,” Ponta commented ironically.
One day before, the Prime Minister tried to clarify the “misunderstandings” related to the commissions by noting he had spoken on the phone with Antonescu on Monday about the “great commission,” but the Liberal leader thought he was referring to the Senate commission, “with which he agrees and which PNL has voted in favor of.” “Mr. Daniel Constantin was also present,” Ponta added. We remind our readers the Prime Minister had announced on Tuesday that PNL was in favor of setting up an investigation commission regarding the agricultural restitutions in Calarasi County, and in this respect, invoked a phone call with Antonescu.
USL is playing political games, Basescu says
Late Wednesday, President Traian Basescu stated on B1TV the land property in Calarasi was fairly purchased by his daughter and he emphasized that it was a family business and he would never commit illegal acts, before finally concluding it was part of USL’s political games. On the TV show he was invited on Wednesday, Basescu accused Ponta repeatedly of being a pathological liar, after calling him “cad” at one point and recanting immediately, “Pathological liar, a liar.” The President confessed the scandal over the purchased land is “a great prejudice” to him, leading members of the public to react negatively, “Well, I don’t have enough money to buy a house, but the president’s daughter takes out a RON 4.6 million loan. ”It’s an honest family business I had no reason to postpone,” Basescu said, pointing out his family wants to purchase more land property up to 500 hectares in order to make the purchase of agricultural vehicles under lease profitable. He went on to say he would not leave the field of politics, nor work this land alone.
Notaries Guild: Purchase agreement is legal
On the other hand, following a check-up performed at the office of the notary public who authenticated the documents, UNNPR (the National Union of Notaries Public of Romania) deemed both Ioana Basescu’s purchase agreement for the land in Calarasi and the mortgage agreement requested by CEC Bank are legal.
Prosecutors cannot be forced to appear before Parliamentary commissions
Prosecutors cannot be subpoenaed and forced to show up before Parliamentary commissions, and can only be subjected to judiciary control and the Superior Magistracy Council’s (CSM) control, the High Court of Justice’s Prosecutor’s Office (PICCJ) pointed out on Thursday. The statement came after Premier Ponta had stated that Lucian Papici, accused of requesting information about the plot of land that President Traian Basescu’s eldest daughter bought in Calarasi, can be legally summoned before an investigative Parliamentary commission because a Constitutional Court decision says so. “Through a decision adopted on May 24, 2007, the Superior Magistracy Council’s Plenum established that prosecutors cannot be subpoenaed and forced to show up as witnesses before Parliamentary commissions because, according to constitutional norms, they are part of the judiciary. At the same time, it was decided that they can participate in such commissions as guests, when there is a need to clarify technical aspects or information of public interest,” the answer issued by the PICCJ reads, being quoted by Mediafax.