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May 9, 2021

Ponta reiterates he may run for president

“I shall announce the name of the premier I back after the presidential
elections’ first round,” the Premier said.

Premier Victor Ponta stated that he will “very likely” run for president in the elections scheduled this autumn. “Very likely, yes, I will run,” Ponta said when asked on B1TV whether he will run for president. He claimed that he enters the presidential battle in order to “finalize” USL’s “Strong Romania” project. Ponta also said that he would announce the name of the premier he will back after the first round of the presidential elections. “I shall announce this [the premier’s name] – I have talked with my colleagues and I have a mandate from them and from my parliamentary majority allies – after the first round. I find it a bit soon. The campaign is concerned with the presidential project and this is what I will definitely present in the election campaign. Between the first and the second round, especially if it turns out I have winning chances, then it is natural to tell the people [the premier’s name],” Ponta explained.
Ponta pointed out he would like to have Elena Udrea as an opponent, expressing his conviction that Elena Udrea will run for president, stating that only Cristian Diaconescu “believes he is PMP’s presidential candidate.” On the other hand, the Prime Minister said that Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu had great chances to enter the presidential runoff. “Mr. Tariceanu will run for president and, if things go as they do now within PDL-PNL, I believe he will enter the runoff. (…) If he gets to the runoff, you will see the nicest and most natural relation between two competitors,” Ponta said.
At the same time, the Premier labeled as “serious” the fact that PDL and PNL do not yet know what candidate they will have. Ponta added that he did not know what the merger between the National Liberal Party and the Democratic Liberal Party would lead to. “Mr. Blaga is a sort of a communist socialist, of the kind before ‘89. I am much more right-wing inclined than Mr. Blaga. Mr. Antonescu has actually worked all his life for the state. I have been working also for the private sector. Therefore, what right wing? There is no right wing. Who is the right wing? (…) There will certainly be a counterweight that the Romanian political life really needs. One cannot have all the power concentrated on one side and nothing on the other side. I do not know what this merger would lead to,” the Prime Minister said. Yet, the Premier said Vasile Blaga was a good collaborator of the Social Liberal Union (USL) in 2012, when President Traian Basescu was suspended from office.
UDMR issue: State affairs cannot be negotiated
Regarding the dispute between the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) and the UDMR, PM Ponta said that he does not want the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), to pull out of the Government, and that he talked with UDMR President Kelemen Hunor and Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean in order to find a solution. “I had an excellent relation with UDMR, I have nothing to reproach them with. I discussed with both ministers. My intention is to find any possible solution so that what we have done so far – a highly correct cooperation – would continue. But, once again, I also believe what Corlatean said less diplomatically, that when it comes to affairs of the governing coalition almost anything can be negotiated in the end. State affairs cannot be negotiated; and even if the Government were to fall, in the end the Romanian State is the Romanian State, no matter its government,” Ponta told B1 TV private broadcaster.
UDMR President Kelemen Hunor continues to disagree, stating yesterday for RFI that “states evolve over the years and change their consolidated positions concerning certain issues.” “I consider that the Romanian state’s position and the position of the minister, of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, is an outdated position,” he pointed out.
Relation with President Basescu
The Head of Government said that there is absolutely no type of institutional dialogue existing between him and President Basescu. “If I were the Romanian President and my brother was arrested, I would have submitted my resignation. (…) Among the responsibilities of the Romanian President […] there is also the one to appoint prosecutors and judges (…) However, when your brother is arrested and other members of your family are also under investigation, in various other cases, I’m not saying that it is a direct relation or that Traian Basescu picks up the phone and calls prosecutors or judges to intervene in these matters, I’m just saying that this is a kind of constitutional relation that he cannot have with those he appoints to investigate his family members,” said Ponta.
Dispute with Adrian Sarbu
Premier Victor Ponta claimed that Adrian Sarbu, the owner of the Mediafax press agency and the ‘Gandul’ online daily, came to his office in order to ask him whether he can stop some ANAF tax audits that are focusing on his companies. “The only person who was [in my office] was Mr. [Adrian] Sirbu, who told me he is dealing with some ANAF audits and asked me whether I can stop them. I told him I can’t,” Ponta said, adding that this is the reason why the Mediafax agency and ‘Gandul’ daily, which he attacked in the past too, are writing about the alleged influence peddling that took place in his office, an allegation that appeared in the court case concerning PSD baron Adrian Duicu. “He is lying,” Adrian Sarbu replied referring to PM Ponta’s statement.

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