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May 9, 2021

USL, again on the verge of breaking up

The activity of the government is blocked by the disagreement between PSD and PNL over the issue of vice-premiers.

The Social Liberal Union is going through troubled moments these days, when negotiations are carried for nominating Klaus Iohannis as minister of Interior and vice-premier.
A meeting of USL leaders Tuesday evening brought no agreement on the configuration of vice-premiers, as PSD accepted Iohannis as deputy PM, but proposed a similar office for the leader of the Conservative Party, Daniel Constantin, a proposal rejected by the liberals, given their tense relation with the conservatives.
Moreover, the two co-presidents of the Union, Victor Ponta and Crin Antonescu lashed out at each other in the media during the last week and even used injurious words and terms.
The social-democrats accuse the liberals of blocking the government with their refusal to accept Constantin as vice-premier. PSD Executive President Liviu Dragnea, who is also a vice-premier, said Wednesday that the government cannot stay blocked until the liberals decide on the restructuring, adding that the resignations of the liberals from the government were announced, but not registered. He mentioned that the social-democrats have accepted all the demands made by the liberals and are surprised by their refusal. “All their demands have been accepted: Mr. Iohannis deputy prime minister, minister of Interior, coordinating I don’t know what – he will coordinate. But I find it normal that each of the four parties has its own vice-premier if we talk about coherence in politically supporting the government,” Dragnea explained. The PSD vice-premier believes that a consensus cannot be reached in USL and told the liberals that, if they want to leave the government, they should clearly say it. “If they want to leave (the government), they should say it, because this is February and serious measures must be taken in the coming months. (…) As for us, we are not tense. We will wait for a reasonable interval to be contacted, to have a new meeting in which we will try to convince them once again,” Dragnea mentioned. “I hope that it (the coalition) will not break, but we cannot go on like this for too long,” Dragnea warned.
In his turn, the minister of Foreign Affairs, Titus Corlatean said that the PNL ministers who resigned from the government were forced to do so, and these changes only alter the way the Executive works.
On the other side of the barricade, PNL president Crin Antonescu clearly said Tuesday evening that the party will not accept PC to nominate a representative for the office of vice-premier, as this would mean “devaluating this office” and it is not possible for Daniel Constantin to be on the same position as Klaus Iohannis.
“There is no explanation for PC to give a vice-premier of its own, same as PNL and PSD do. I openly say it, it would mean some sort of inflation, of devaluation of the office of the vice-premier in this government, and the new government cannot make its debut with the coming of Klaus Iohannis and Daniel Constantin, hand in hand, as vice-premiers. This cannot be (…)”, Antonescu stated, adding however that the liberals do not cling to the issue of the vice-premier’s office for PC. “We will not cling to the idea of causing problems to Daniel Constantin, because it is not the purpose of Daniel Constantin’s life to become vice-premier in this government. In another one, he can be premier, or president, secretary general of the UN. But in this government we will not ridicule the office of vice-premier,” the PNL leader affirmed.
Referring to the accusations made by Ponta against him, of being a friend of Traian Basescu, Antonescu said for Realitatea TV that he is no friend of the president, same as he is not a friend of the premier. “I think this was a sign of irritation, of nerves, somehow gross, but… no, I am not a friend of Traian Basescu. But nor I am friend with Victor Ponta anymore, but I am a political associate of Victor Ponta, in plain sight, and I am decided to do whatever I can to take this alliance to its successful conclusion,” the PNL leader stated. He added that he does not care if the premier has “a hot relation” with Dan Voiculescu (the founding leader of PC), adding: “But not in the USL”.
Basescu: The government functions illegally
President Basescu intervened in the dispute between liberals and social-democrats, by saying Tuesday evening on B1Tv that Premier Victor Ponta has not appointed yet interim ministers to replace the resigning ministers, and this is why the government functions illegally at this moment. The president however believes that USL will not break and will remain united, because if PSD initiates the break-up, this would leave its electorate disoriented. “They will be unable to live because of the lies they told, both Ponta and Antonescu, which keep them together. Even when they do not love each other anymore,” Traian Basescu mentioned. Referring to the creation of USD, the alliance PSD-PC-UNPR in view of the elections for the European Parliament, Basescu said this dealt a blow to the liberals.
Former premier Emil Boc, in his turn, accused USL of “bending” the positions of vice-premier like “Christmas sausages” so everybody gets a bit, adding that “the common sense revolution of USL” entered the second phase, “the meat fight.”

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