POLITICS

Ponta invites his opponents to open debates related to presidential duties

Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the PSD-UNPR-PC (Social Democrat Party, National Union for Romania’s Progress and Conservative Party) alliance’s candidate for Romania’s Presidency, said late on Monday, on Antena 3 TV station, that on Tuesday he would invite all his 13 contenders to participate in an open debate, reported Agerpres.
He believes the finalists that enter the runoff will have to hold three debates for the voters to have a picture as clear as possible, on the intentions of Romania’s future President.
‘I think in the runoff there should be at least three debates because it is hard to watch one in which there is talk about everything (…) I think we must have a show on foreign policy and national security (…), one about the Romanian constitutional and political system (…) and third discussion about economic development, in which the one you propose to be Prime Minister surely must participate,’ said Victor Ponta.
He gave assurances he is open to debates with his contenders and will participate in them, considering that citizens have the right to know as much as possible about the future President.Ponta suggested the three debates before the runoff should be hosted by different TV stations, to avoid the situation happened in 2009 when just one debate was organized.“In NBA there is no just one final, but the best team is chosen after three or four matches. Maybe a candidate is better at economy and other at foreign policy or constitutional solutions,” Ponta added.Two months ago, Mr. Ponta was saying he would skip the debates from the first tour of presidential elections and would watch at the TV the confrontation between the other candidates, while eating popcorn.Victor Ponta then had regretted to have stated these things and said it was a “bad joke”.
“Victor Ponta invites his opponents to participate in open debates and discuss the main programs and projects related to presidential duties”, PSD informed yesterday in a release to AGERPRES on Tuesday. According to this source, for the first round, Victor Ponta suggests a debate attended by all candidates running for Romanian president, in a format allowing each candidate to present its electoral offer.
“This is the only way arbitrary criteria can be removed and the public opinion is given the chance to have a clearer picture of all candidates,” the release reads.
As regards the second round, “if he enters the second round”, Victor Ponta proposes at least three debates, “about the important duties of the President of Romania, according to the Constitution and the laws in force.”
“In our opinion, these topics are: foreign policy and national security, the Romanian constitutional and institutional system and the vision for Romania’s economic development, as well as the person who should be nominated for the office of prime minister,” the PSD release says.
“Victor Ponta is totally open to these debates and he issues a public invitation to all candidates and their teams to meet and organize such events, for citizens to learn more about the future president of Romania,” the release reads
Romanians need to vote a candidate who wants a plan for the country
Ponta  wishes Romanians have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who wants a plan for Romania, not a position for themselves as his opponent Iohannis seems to want.’The way you behave to those who stood next to you, who started a project with you is very important. If I have a critic to Mr. Iohannis, one I’ve already made public, too, is the fact that in 2009 he was with us; he was PSD’s [ruling Social Democrat Party] nominee for prime minister; in February this year, he wanted to be a vice prime minister, a minister in my government; later, he supported presidential candidate Crin Antonescu; now all this are forgotten, and after two or three months I saw him with [Democrat Liberal Party leaders] Mr. [Vasile] Blaga, Mr. [Mihai-Razvan] Ungureanu, Mr. [Gheorghe] Falca Mr. [Gheorghe] Flutur, precisely those we fought for so many years. This raises a huge question mark for me. What will happen in two months, in three months, if one can change? (…) I wish very much Romanians had the opportunity to vote for a man who wants a plan for Romania, not a position. Because my impression is Mr. Iohannis wants a position,’ Ponta said.
As regards the Judiciary, the candidate said he strongly believes in this state branch, because it is indispensable for the existence of a society; he added, however, that ‘the Judiciary deals with those who steal, kill, accept bribes, breach the law, not with those who voted in a referendum to dismiss an illegitimate president.’ He also stated that Romania needs a president who would work with the prime minister and the Parliament.
“If one wants to be the president of this country, one should know this country”
“If one wants to be the president of this country, one should know this country. (…) The difference between myself and some of my opponents resides in the fact that I do not simply know this country, but I know exactly what the problems are; I know how much of it I have solved, and I know what I have to do in the future. Secondly, because I very much trust the Romanians. (…) And thirdly, because I have not considered just yesterday or one month ago, or even one year ago the things I want to accomplish as president,’ he declared.
The PM asserted that he has discussed with European leaders upon thinking out Romania’s foreign policy, and he knows the expectations from the country; thus, when speaking of national security, he – unlike his opponents – knows exactly ‘how many troops Romania has, and where, and which is the budget we allocate, what the dangers are, what our position is on Moldova, on Ukraine, on Serbia, on the events in the Black Sea.’

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