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December 9, 2021
POLITICS

President Traian Basescu, between drawing the line and plans for the future

President Traian Basescu yesterday spoke about the current situation in Romania both locally and internationally, the various DNA investigations in progress and featuring top level politicians and businesspeople, the presidential election campaign and his plans for after the end of his term.
‘The need to change the political class is almost a matter of national security’
President Traian Basescu said he will not run at the People’s Party Movement (PMP) convention to become the national leader of PMP. ‘There will be a PMP convention after the election, but without me running for the national chairman office. I would like to help them. I have started this project myself. When you do politics for so many years you realise the leadership of a party is of no interest to you. I am particularly interested in helping this new party, PMP, be a different kind of a party. The need to change the political class is almost a matter of national security. All the political parties, be it the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Conservative Party (PC) or the National Liberal Party (PNL). I believe that, starting from the premise that politics is also an art of compromise. We sometimes need a new party, a different kind of a party that is free from the ugly compromises I did, such as when I brought Voiculescu’s party to power. I knew it was an immoral solution, particularly because his party had run on the tickets of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), but on the other hand there was a need for a majority government without PSD. That is how Tariceanu became prime minister,’ Basescu told Adevarul Live webcast.
‘Don’t take me for one of those naives who believe that Elena Udrea has any chance in winning the presidential elections’
Traian Basescu also stated that he supports Elena Udrea in the presidential elections out of conviction, showing that, however, he hopes she obtains an acceptable result in the first round of elections to consolidate the People’s Movement Party (PMP). ‘I endorse Elena Udrea out of conviction. Don’t take me for one of those naives who believe that Elena Udrea has any chance in winning the presidential elections. For me it’s very important that Elena Udrea obtains an acceptable result that can consolidate the PMP, because it’s a party that is too frail, a party nobody wanted to ally itself with, as you well know’, said the head of state at Adevarul Live.
During the interview, Basescu said he was disappointed in the current candidates for the office of president. ‘The candidates are so weak that they cannot impose subjects for debate. If I had been competing with Geoana or Nastase, you can be sure the debate would have dwelled on our campaign programmes’.
‘The acting president must be an individual clear of any possibility of blackmail’
Regarding the statement of PM Victor Ponta, candidate for president, who denied having been a covert officer, Traian Basescu was extremely trenchant:
‘He’s lying. I have not revealed anything, because revealing means having a classified document or a document and disclose its content. There were assertions I made, and the base for them is sound; it is; it’s real: in 1997-2001 Victor Ponta was both a prosecutor at the General Prosecutor’s office – that is, in a [Bucharest] district first, and after he became a SIE officer in ’97, he quickly advanced to the General Prosecutor’s office. I maintain that’, said Basescu.
The president believes that, if Ponta became head of the state, his former contact officer could blackmail him. ‘I don’t say this will happen, but the president must be an individual clear of any possibility of blackmail,’ Basescu asserted. He also claimed that Ponta was a ‘suckling,’ a ‘baby’ or a ‘kid’ in terms of an officer’s experience and has been used for ‘something different’. ‘Sometimes people get into the General Prosecutor’s office whom one service or another wants to free, and this is how I think Victor Ponta was use,’ said the president.
‘It seems important to me that neither Ponta nor Iohannis should not be president of Romania’
Asked why he had not been convinced by the ACL candidate, Basescu said he had a big issue with PNL. ‘Here I have a political and moral issue. I have a huge issue with PNL: it was the party that impeached me, they were initiators and supporters of my impeachment. I remember how Iohannis was being paraded to televisions as the Grivco prime minister. I was humiliated by those people – I was an elected president and was banished into a garage. They would have had a justification if I hadn’t known the motivation. In 2007, it all started from Tariceanu being upset about the note. In 2009, they all turned against me at the election. There has been no appointment on the criterion of party recommendation. Iohannis was one of the exponents of those movements. How do you think I feel about the Parliament when they do not green light the prosecution of Andronescu or Serban Mihailescu, when they keep incompatible MPs in Parliament? Why am I, who have been stepped over so many times, asked to support them? I find it very difficult to do that. As difficult as it is to think that I could ever vote for Ponta. People, this is not the Right!’ Basescu said. He accused Iohannis of ‘playing his games behind Antonescu’s back’. ‘I don’t mean to defend Antonescu, but the way in which he played the games behind Antonescu’s back is degrading in politics. If you want to take over a party, you do that honestly. He put Antonescu in a difficult situation after he had announced his resignation. That was where the roller of Iohannis as an upstart was set into motion’, the president said. He then stressed: ‘It seems important to me that neither Ponta nor Iohannis should not be president of Romania.’
‘I would like to close my term with this picture: justice works without minding political colour’
Regarding the cavalcade of DNA investigations targeted at various politicians and businesspersons, Basescu said the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) had become politically equidistant, which shows that justice works in Romania. ‘DNA has become politically equidistant, apolitical after Daniel Morar’s appointment. I am convinced it will keep this spirit unless brutal interventions are made. Not only DNA, but also DIICOT’, he said, adding that he would like to finish his term ‘with this picture: justice works without minding political colour’.
In connection with the EADS contract, Traian Basescu said it was ‘also a case in the area that continues to x-ray the political spectrum’. ‘It is necessary, because the population will not be convinced it needs a new political class if it doesn’t see that. The EADS case, when ready for work, will add a new part of the x-ray of the Romanian political class’, Basescu pointed out.
About the forest restitution case, Traian Basescu said it is the kind of case ‘that should say: Stop playing! The clock must be wound back and the big property restitution must be checked.’ The president also added that he thinks ‘the restitution of forests and farmland is a zero priority’.
The president also made a proposal for stopping corruption in politics. ‘The first thing that should be done in trying to clean up the political life is the law on political financing. This is the ABC that lets corrupt people into political parties. What does DNA? They fight against corruption. It may happen that the prosecutors’ action has a single impact on parties, after all, to make them aware that things can no longer be done as they used to’, said the president.
‘One of my biggest mistakes was the single member district plurality voting system’
Answering a question about his achievements and failures, President Traian Basescu declared that he had made a few mistakes, such as the single member district plurality voting system and that he regrets his failure regarding the new law on healthcare, yet he expressed his contentment towards the new pension law, the salary law and the strategic partnership with the USA.
‘I established it as a principle not to reveal all my mistakes before I finish my term. One of my biggest mistakes was the single member district plurality voting system. I believed in this solution at a time when parties were balanced. The poor quality of the Parliament and of many of its members is given by the compensatory mixed-member voting system that determined the heads of the parties not to focus on the quality of people included on their lists. Romania is not prepared for uninominal voting. As for the things I am content with, they are connected to the structural reforms applied in Romania and one of them is the new pension law. Some people are angry that their pensions were cut. Yet I think that it is immoral to have a small contribution and a big pension. During my term, Romania gained 10,000 square kilometres in the Black Sea. Also, the strategic partnership with the USA is a win. The salary law established criteria that would reduce the ratio of the lowest and the highest salary to 1/5. This is also a manner of diminishing the impact on the deficit of the pension budget. I regret not being able to gain approval for a new healthcare law, but things will get fixed in the future”.
‘We have rather aggressive politics in the Balkans’
As for Romania’s politics regarding the Middle East, Traian Basescu said that Romania lacks resources required for military interference in that region where “weapons talk”. ‘Romania has the ability to provide its trustworthiness, yet, at the time being, weapons talk there. Romania has no resources for military interference. The influence is now based on the number of F16s you have in the region, by your strength in intervening in the South of Syria, so this what we are talking about and the so-called soft power is a bedtime story’, Basescu declared.
The President also commented the present situation of the Balkan region, mentioning that excessive nationalism may affect our stability. “We have rather aggressive politics in the Balkans, although we are not shouting it out loud. The summit in Bucharest was the only one after four failures that led to any conclusions, as Kosovo and Serbia sat down at the same table. By our common efforts, everybody sat down at the table and, for the first time, we managed to achieve a common declaration for this region in a summit, so, I might say that we are really involved and trustworthy. I would say that incidents of the Albania – Serbia football games express the main issues of the Balkan area: the excessive nationalism. This is what may cause our destabilization”, Basescu declared.
He also said that Romania may only resist in this region by “securing its stability through free and honest elections” in order to continue the period of political stability “eradicating corruption, and promoting the affinity to Europe by deeds not by words”.
‘We make plenty of statements, yet we will soon finish the year and there are EUR 12 million from structural funds unused”, the head of the state mentioned. “In Bulgaria, things get solved because Borisov is a Proto-European. Hungary’s issues are caused by the suspicion that it lost the connection with democracy due to the attitude of Fidesz, a party that won the elections by a high percentage. The problem is that they have very special economic relations with Russia. I wish that Romania would have good relations with Russia, too.

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