Victor Ponta indirectly won Monday evening a “confrontation” with Klaus Iohannis. In the 20:00 – 21:30 interval when the Romania TV show was broadcast, Victor Ponta marked 9.1 per cent share. In the same time interval, Klaus Iohannis, present on Realitatea TV, only had 7.9 per cent share. The viewing peak was recorded at 20:25, when 1,134,000 people watched Romania TV.
Klaus Iohannis turned down the invitation to participate Monday night in a debate with Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Romania TV. However, present on a different television station, the ACL presidential candidate urged the resignation of the PSD president as prime minister. Victor Ponta replied to him live on Romania TV, where he went to talk about economic and social themes in his presidential programme. A similar invitation was also made to ACL leader Klaus Iohannis, Ponta’s opponent in the runoff election, who did not answer the request to attend an electoral debate, preferring to present the main themes of his presidential programme in the studios of another television. Realitatea TV is known for its pro-Iohannis and anti-Ponta editorial policy. Romania TV, where the premier appeared, is on the other side of the barricade.
Klaus Iohannis said at Realitatea TV that Victor Ponta is ‘a threat to Romanian democracy’ and asked him to resign as Prime Minister following the issues caused by the voting process in the Diaspora in the first round of election on 2 November.
On Romania TV, Victor Ponta answered Iohannis he had no intention to leave Victoria Palace before his election as president, as he did not wish to give President Traian Basescu the opportunity to name another prime minister.
‘I will resign on 21 December. I will do this for a reason that is very simple to understand. If we had a normal president at Cotroceni, someone who would say <you, the winning coalition, please come to appoint the new premier>, we would have made the passage to Tariceanu sooner. But if I resign, the new PM will be appointed by Basescu and you can imagine the kind of pranks Basescu would be playing on Romania’, Victor Ponta said on Romania TV.
Ponta denies he would pardon persons guilty of violent crimes or corruption
Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the candidate of the electoral alliance made up of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) and the Conservative Party (PC) in the presidential election, denied on Monday evening in a live TV show broadcast by Romania TV (RTV) the accusations launched by his political adversaries, that if he is to become President of Romania he will pardon persons guilty of violent crimes or acts of corruption.
“I will never pardon persons guilty of violent crimes, robbery, rape (…) and never persons convicted of acts of corruption”, said Victor Ponta at RTV.
Although he did say that he will sign pardon papers in certain situations, such as in the case of the 70-year-old woman convicted by the courts to three years imprisonment for arguing with a neighbour, in cases of violence and corruption he has no intention to use the president’s constitutional right to issue pardons.
Iohannis denies rumors he would nominate Basescu as next Prime Minister
Candidate of the Christian Liberal Alliance (ACL) in the November 16 presidential runoff election Klaus Iohannis told Realitatea TV private broadcaster on Monday evening that he does not want to see Traian Basescu the next prime minister, as some of his political rivals claim, reports Agerpres.
‘I do not want to see Traian Basescu prime minister and I will not nominate him to office. The sir who worried about that can rest assured, because the appointments are in the president’s pen,’ said Iohannis.
He said it is obvious that if he wins the election there will be a Social Democratic Party-led government at rule, which he does not believe will be headed by Victor Ponta, his runoff rival, anymore, because ‘Ponta will be sent packing by his own party;’ the government in place will still be built around a PSD majority.
‘That is how the parliamentary majority is and I hope it will remain as that for a short time only. You will not see me on television squabbling with the prime minister; if we have to squabble, we will be doing that either at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace or at the Government House until we will reach a conclusion, something the country needs. Problems have to be solved instead of generating barren shows. And when I become president there will be institutional cooperation between me and the Government; I will not cohabitate with it for well-known reasons. The notion was completely compromised under that cohabitation agreement. There will be institutional cooperation and no need for a sheet of paper signed between the president and the prime minister for that. The Constitution and the laws in force spell out how such cooperation should be conducted,’ added Iohannis.
Ponta: “Changing rules of the game between rounds might lead to elections’ annulment-this is what Basescu wants”
The PSD candidate for president said Monday night on Romania TV that it was excluded for the Government to adopt an emergency ordinance increasing the number of polling stations abroad between the two rounds of election. “The Constitutional Court has said it clearly – if you change the rules during the game, we annul the elections. Any amendment to the law between round 1 and round 2 is the gravest breach of democratic rules and the surest way to annul the elections”, said Victor Ponta at RTV. Ponta claimed that this is exactly what the president wants with the pressures he has put on the Foreign Ministry. ‘Titus Corlatean has told me today that the ministry has done everything that the law allows it to do, but Traian Basescu and Klaus Iohannis have been putting pressure. He said: <I don’t want the Foreign Ministry to become a victim in a political and electoral battle and I am submitting my resignation>. Traian Basescu also called him. He wrote to MAE, BEC and to me’, said the PSD candidate.
Iohannis: “Accusations on child trafficking are abject, entirely made up story”
ACL candidate used his presence live in Realitatea TV studios to say that the accusations of child trafficking brought on him by ‘a television broadcaster backing Mr Ponta’ were ‘an abject, entirely made up story’ and that one of the children who was said to have been sold in Canada was now an adult and had children of his own.
‘Relatives from Rasinari came and said: ‘No, sir, we talk to these people on a weekly basis, they are doing fine there, in Canada,’ one of the children already has children of his own, therefore this lie was dismantled, this abject entirely made up story. I gathered information from Rasinari, too, the home of these children. I gathered information because I have seen this miserable attack from the Social Democratic Party and I personally was interested in this, I have spoken to the mayor there, with their relatives there and I found out that everything is ok. But it is not my business to clarify this, a state institution should have done this if they wanted to, only they didn’t do it,’ Iohannis said on Realitatea TV private television broadcaster.
The ACL candidate said that if child trafficking was involved, there are special institutions that should clarify these things and that these things were verified in the year 2000. ‘In 2000, they already verified this and there are official answers. However, PSD wouldn’t have liked to have official answers from the specialist office, from the Police office that clearly says that verifications were made in Canada, the people are fine, the children are fine. This is one of the bald lies that the PSD tried to attack me with,’ Klaus Iohannis also said.
Ponta: “Even a 100% vote in the Diaspora would not change the result”
Ponta thinks Traian Băsescu is trying to delegitimise the result of the vote in the runoff election in order to be able to position himself as a leader of the opposition afterwards. ‘Even a vote of 100 % for Klaus Iohannis in the Diaspora would not change the result. Traian Basescu wants to delegitimise the vote so that he can say to ACL <you have not been up for the job, I am the only person who can fight with Ponta and PSD>’ Victor Ponta said.
ACL candidate expects to win the Sunday ballot with 52 or 53 per cent
ACL contender said he expected to win the ballot on Sunday with an over 52 per cent electoral score. The turnout may be of 55 per cent and I expect to win with 52 or 53 per cent,’ Iohannis said, in a talk show of Realitatea TV private television broadcaster.
“Iohannis makes deceitful promises regarding pensions, which are not the president’s competence”
After Klaus Iohannis said on TV on Monday that he will not cut pensions if he becomes president, stressing, however, tat they will only grow ‘when economy grows’, Victor Ponta, doubled by Calin Popescu Tariceanu in the Romania TV studios, explained that ‘Romania has had the highest growth in the EU this year and will have 2.5 growth according to the forecast’. ‘A very important fact is that the president does not raise pensions. Iohannis, as president, would not be able to raise pensions. It is the Government who does it. If he comes as a team with Predoiu… I have here the law under which pensions and salaries were cut in 2010 and one of the signatures on it belongs to Catalin Predoiu who, as Minister of Justice, approved an unconstitutional measure – the cut of pensions and wages’, Victor Ponta said.
Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, proposed by Victor Ponta as prime minister in case he wins the election, warned that Iohannis ‘has adventured himself into promises which are not the competence of the president’, not just with regard to pensions, but also in respect of the budget of the Ministry of Defence. ‘He is up for raising all budgets. We have made a calculation based on his promises, and the deficit threshold would be tremendously exceeded, all this shows the hedonism of Iohannis who… as a dignified continuator of Basescu, reclaims prerogatives he does not have, makes deceitful statements, as Basescu did back in 2008 – remember the debate on increasing the salaries of teachers and other civil service employees’
Iohannis: “I will take steps to discard presidential immunity”
Klaus Iohannis also told Realitatea TV private broadcaster on Monday evening that, if elected president, he will ask the constitution revision board to leave out from the draft constitution the article about presidential immunity. ‘If elected president, I will take the steps to discard such immunity. The chief of state does not need more immunity beyond for political option and attitudes,’ said Iohannis. He added that MPs’ immunity should also be confined to political opinions and political votes. He added that he finds it unacceptable for an MP not to be prosecuted because Parliament so decides. ‘I understand very well that MPs have to be protected for their political votes. Nobody in a democracy can be called to account for political options or cast ballots. Beyond that, I find it unacceptable for an MP not to be prosecuted because Parliament so votes. We have to discard these provisions, which I find excessive. Let us keep the immunity of the MPs for vote and political beliefs,’ said Iohannis. The ACL candidate also said he will oppose the pardon and amnesty law as currently proposed, and that he will not pardon any politician jailed for corruption. ‘The law of pardon and amnesty has no place in Romania. As the country’s president, I will use all the legal and constitutional means to stop the adoption of any law bearing on pardoning and amnesty. (…) I will not pardon any politician jailed for corruption, period. That is something in which I believe and which I say frankly,’ added Iohannis.
Ponta: “New Government and budget for 2015 ready on December 21, at latest”
Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Monday evening said that the budget for 2015 will be presented at the same time as the new government, on December 21, and both may pass the vote in Parliament by the end of the year.
“We will have a budget this year, let’s not forget that we have 5 weeks between the moment of Sunday, November 16 [e.n. – second round of the presidential election], and the moment when the new president takes over, we will have the government ready, on December 21 more precisely – including the prime minister and the government structure, and we will also have the budget, so that we may adopt all these things by the end of the month”, said Ponta at Romania TV.
When questioned if it wouldn’t have been better to present the budget by the end of October, the Prime Minister said that it is pointless to do it before the official visit of the delegation of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the World Bank.
“There is only one law: the agreement between Romania and the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which was ratified through law by the Parliament. And this stipulates that any budget, including rectifications done after the first quarter, must be agreed with the IMF and EC delegation. We already have the visit scheduled, on December 2 the official visit begins. Until then we will have all the economic and fiscal-budgetary data ready. If we sent the budget without the discussions with EC and IMF concluded, we would break the law through which the agreement was ratified”, explained Victor Ponta.
The head of the Executive gave assurances that there will be no problems in what regards payments on pensions and salaries for budget-dependent employees at the beginning of next year and that the budget on 2015 will include the measure package promised to the health and education workers’ unions.
ACL runoff presidential ensures he will guarantee justice independence and the rule of law”
Klaus Iohannis told Realitatea TV that Romania has made significant progress in the areas of justice and the rule of law, underscoring that he will guarantee justice independence and the rule of law if elected the country’s president.
‘If we take a look at the past years we will see that significant progress has been achieved in the areas of the judiciary and the consolidation of the rule of law. There is an independent judiciary and the rule of law is strong. But we should not think that the two are so consolidated as to remain in place no matter who will be Romania’s next president, because that is not so. These are highly valuable things to us and we need a president that will guarantee justice independence and the rule of law. I will guarantee justice independence and the rule of law,’ said Iohannis.
Asked about the case of National Liberal Party (PNL) MP Tudor Chiuariu, who has got a suspended court sentence, Iohannis said he should resign from the party, adding that he cannot withdraw political support from him, because there is no legal basis to this end.
‘Our colleague got a suspended sentence; he was not forbidden political party membership or being an MP. (…) In my opinion, he should quite PNL. The statutes are on his side, but it would be better for all of us if he resigns. Then, it will be his options. We cannot withdraw political support because there is no legal basis for doing so,’ said Iohannis.
Ponta: “Unlike Basescu who only claimed help for the R.of Moldova, I really did help them”
PSD presidential candidate said in a live show broadcast Monday evening by RTV that, unlike Traian Basescu, who only claimed he wanted to help the Romanians of the Republic of Moldova, who only made promises, he really did help them. Victor Ponta said at private broadcaster RTV that he supported the accession of the Republic of Moldova to the European Union and he would be glad if the future generations will, at one point, make the decision to reunify the state. “I did many things for the Republic of Moldova, instead of just bragging that I will help this country and not do anything, as Traian Basescu did. I did – the gas pipeline, minibuses, cars for institutions, funds for kindergartens and schools (…) I believe that union on a short and medium term means the Republic of Moldova becoming a member of the European Union, so that the Pruth river will no longer be a border between Europe and the former Soviet world and union also means slowly but surely those across the Pruth river have almost the same living standards, salaries and pensions as us. After which, if at one point, in 10 years, maybe in 20, our children will want, on both sides, to have state reunification, I would surely be glad. But I said one thing in Chisinau and I will say it in Bucharest too – Romania is not the Soviet Union, we will not bring tanks across the Pruth to take something, we wish to help those there be like us citizens of the European Union and if at one point we may remove what was done by the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, all the better”, said Victor Ponta at RTV.
Iohannis: “I have confidence in myself that I shall act into the direction of having a debate”
Iohannis reiterated that he didn’t reject the idea of a public debate together with his opponent from the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Victor Ponta, but that it should be conducted on a neutral platform, accessible to all journalists.
‘The two runoff candidates must have a public debate on a neutral platform, accessible to all journalists, regardless of the media type, regardless of their coming from the TV, radio, internet, written press. (…) I want, and I still believe that tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, at the latest, maybe we can manage to organise a debate that is accessible to any journalist,’ Klaus Iohannis said, on Realitatea TV private television broadcaster.
When asked if he saw possible a public debate with Victor Ponta until the last day of the election campaign, Iohannis replied: ‘If we all get involved, I am positive we shall manage something. (…) I have confidence in myself that I shall act into the direction of having a debate.’
“Regionalization along ethnic lines will not secure administrative modernization”
Iohannis also told Realitatea TV private broadcaster on Monday evening that regionalisation along ethnic lines will not secure administrative modernisation or economic development, and therefore is not a solution. ‘Regionalisation and decentralisation can modernise Romania’s public administration. (…) I believe that regionalisation can secure Romania’s modernisation if and only if two objectives are achieved: regionalisation leads to the modernisation of Romania’s public administration and also to economic development. If neither is achieved, then there should be no regionalisation. The only regionalisation version that can secure modernisation and economic development is a purely administrative regionalisation along administrative and economic lines. Regionalisation along ethnic lines will not secure either, therefore it is not a solution,’ said Iohannis.
He also said he received many messages from the Szekley, Targu Mures, Cluj and ethnic Hungarians that they do not want regionalisation align ethnic lines either, because that will not generate economic development. ‘In the end, I know nobody that would like to live a bad life in Romania, but I know thousands of people who want to live a good life. If we want a good life, we need economic development,’ said Iohannis.
As for the claims that he wants to tear Transylvania apart from Romania, Iohannis said such rhetoric should generate worries because it is a matter of national security. ‘That is overblowing and we should be worried in fact because that is a matter pertaining to national security. How can anyone talk about giving away or tearing apart Transylvania? And I tell the gentlemen of the Social Democratic Party that injecting such issue into public debates is outrageous. Fortunately, never in the past years has such issue been raised and it should not be raised. But here we are, with one candidate, Victor Ponta, who is ready to blow up Romania to become president. Such discussion is a scandal!’ said the ACL candidate.