Debate on elections in the Diaspora, starting at the number of voting stations in Germany
PNL president Klaus Iohannis told PM Victor Ponta on Tuesday, at the debate broadcasted by Realitatea TV, that every citizen has the right to vote. Ponta immediately replied that this statement was “a slogan”.
“Mr. Ponta, we live in a democratic country. Each citizen has the right to vote”, Iohannis told Ponta.
“This is a slogan”, Ponta replied immediately. Afterwards, he asked Iohannis what he would do so that the voting abroad would be better organized.
Iohannis continued by launching a series of attacks targeted at Victor Ponta, without the Prime Minister interrupting him.
“You suppressed the right to vote of these citizens in Diaspora. The same thing was communicated to me from Paris and London. I have heaps of emails and letters from behalf of citizens who are absolutely outraged that they could not cast their vote on November 2”, Iohannis continued.
He also accused Ponta that he could have foreseen that there would be numerous voters in the Diaspora.
“You should have foreseen these things, because they happened in other years as well and it was pretty obvious that we would have a considerable attendance to the elections. You malevolently ignored all the notifications you received and organized elections so that thousands of people were left outside in the evening, and Romanian citizens willing to enter the voting sections were harassed by the police departments of other states for demanding their right to vote”, the ACL candidate to Presidency added.
PM Victor Ponta started by asking Klaus Iohannis how many voting stations were opened in Germany. Without answering the question, Iohannis accused the head of the Government that he organized the elections in the Diaspora terribly, referring to the stories of a friend who went to vote abroad.
Ponta asked Iohannis whether he knew how many sections there were in Germany. The ACL leader avoided the answer, yet told that a friend from Germany had called him on the telephone from Munich, asking him what he had to do in order to vote and told him that voting was difficult. Iohannis accused Ponta of “execrably” organizing the first round of elections in the Diaspora. “Romanian citizens were harassed by the police forces of other states for expressing their wish to vote. You should have been the one to resign, Mr. Ponta, not Mr. Corlatean!”, Iohannis told Ponta.
Ponta: Where is the most numerous community of Romanians in the EU? Iohannis: You tell us!
Victor Ponta asked Klaus Iohannis whether he knew where the most numerous community of Romanians was in Europe. The ACL leader replied: “I am sure you will tell us!”. The Prime Minister answered, laughing: “I thought you knew it was Italy”.
Iohannis accused Ponta that he had found a lot of time to travel all over Europe, asking him who had paid for his journeys in Italy. “You found a lot of time to travel all over Europe. Who had paid for you to go for an electoral campaign in the Diaspora? I am referring to Italy.”
Victor Ponta replied that his visit to Italy was paid by PSD funds, not by tax payers’ money.
Immediately, Iohannis responded to Ponta, declaring that he went in Italy and Spain “in vain”, declaring: “You went there in vain, because you still organized the elections abroad terribly. (…) You failed to persuade the people who had left the country because their life was so hard here”.
Then, Iohannis added that a person whom he had talked to informed him on the phone that he had travelled hundreds of kilometres by car to cast his vote and that he had arrived to the voting station by noon, yet, was unable to enter the station and vote at the end of the day. Iohannis pointed out that people have sacrificed their day off to go to vote and they were not allowed to vote.
“You failed to organize the elections properly. Thousands of Romanians failed to vote and are rightfully very furious. The facts contradict you. They have the facts,
you have the words”, the ACL leader said.
Ponta replied that he “partially” agrees with Iohannis, under the circumstances that there were 3.5 million Romanians in the Diaspora, 160,000 of whom have voted, which mean that, in his opinion, the rest were persuaded by neither of the candidates.
Ponta: Mr. Iohannis, be gentle, like you were in my office. Iohannis: Who do you think you are?
Victor Ponta and Klaus Iohannis had an exchange of heated replies. As a reaction, Ponta said: “Mr. Iohannis, be gentle, like you were in my office!” The ACL leader replied: “Who do you think you are?” and threatened that he would leave the show.
Iohannis declared that the committee working on revisions to the Constitution discussed the matter of electronic and mail voting, pointing out that PSD was “firm and totally against” introducing this concept in the revision process.
“Who told you this thing? You are not a member of the Parliament and you were not included in the committee!”, Ponta abruptly interrupted Iohannis. “Mr. Ponta, may I ask you to stop interrupting me?” Iohannis answered on a heated tone. “You do not have to raise your voice at me”, Ponta retreated.
“Is it possible to stop interrupting me? Please!”, Iohannis added.
In return, Ponta answered that he was spreading false information and went on to launch some personal attacks unrelated to the topic of the discussion: “Mr. Iohannis, we are not your servants. We, people in Romania, are not your servants. I am asking you where you collected the information you just revealed. You are not a master of slaves here, in Romania. I politely asked you where did you take this thing from. If you are not a member of the parliament, how would you know?” Ponta added.
He continued on the same tone: “I would like a little more respect, though. When you were in my office, you were very humble and respectful. Be gentle, just like you were in my office. Gentle and calm”, Ponta emphatically added.
Iohannis reacted by asking Ponta who he thought he was. “Mr. Ponta, who do you think you are in this confrontation?” “You do not have to insult me”, Ponta retreated.
“In the Victoria Palace, you have your office. Here, the office is the country. Therefore, I would like to invite you to show a little respect, if you are able to. If you do, I will ask you once again, very politely, to stop interrupting me when I expose my point of view, if it is possible. If it is not possible, we can do as we did last night: I leave and you continue perorating”, Iohannis said
Ponta to Iohannis: You have a landlord attitude with all Romanians
Prime Minister Victor Ponta accused the ACL candidate that he had a landlord attitude with all Romanians, under the circumstances that the topic of the discussion was electronic and mail voting.
“You were very gentle when you left my office. I only want one thing: that you treat us with respect”, Ponta told Iohannis after stating that Romanians were not Iohannis’ slaves and that Iohannis had been very “humble and calm” when he visited his office, adding that he wanted Iohannis to behave similarly and to be “gentle and calm”.
Iohannis answered that the one who would lose the elections will be the one to leave humbly.
“The one to leave humbly will be the one who would lose the elections, Mr. Ponta”, Iohannis replied.
“It is precisely why I would like to ask you to treat us with respect. You have a landlord attitude with all Romanians”, Ponta continued.
Iohannis stopped the argument though, helped by the TV host.
“You are wasting your time, as well as mine. It would be very nice if we talked each on our turn. It would be the least to ask. Mr. Ponta, are you also a Deputy, or just a Prime Minister with an office where you demand humble attitude from behalf of certain people?” Iohannis asked .
Iohannis to Ponta: You accused me of being a child merchant and an organ trafficker.Ponta: I never did such thing!
ACL leader Klaus Iohannis demanded PM Victor Ponta at the debate on Realitatea TV to apologize in the name of his team, because he accused Klaus Iohannis of being a child merchant and an organ trafficker. Ponta answered that he never talked about Iohannis in his campaign.
Then, Ponta revealed he had come to the studio with the ACL campaign newspaper he showed to the cameras and read two titles referring to him and his wife. “I will only ask you, as my wife is here with me in the studio, that you apologize to her, as she has nothing to whatsoever with this dirt your colleagues have written, as ACL is mentioned here”, Ponta said.
“Right after you apologize in the name of your team for rumouring that I was a child peddler”, Iohannis replied.
Ponta interrupted his opponent, declaring that he never defined him in such manner.
“I? I never said you were”, Ponta said.
“No. Your team. The person who said I was a child peddler and an organ trafficker is here with us!”, Iohannis outlined.
“I never did such thing. I never said anything about you. I never talked about you in my campaign”, Ponta insisted.
“You made the dirtiest campaign ever witnessed in Romania and if you assume responsibility for these allegations, I will certainly assume responsibility for what we stated, and we will mutually apologize like gentlenen”, Iohannis declared on his turn.
Iohannis continued by apologizing, unlike Ponta, who avoided to do this gesture.
“If I did anything wrong against you and against the lady who is here with us, I am publicly apologizing. If I hurt anyone in this campaign by statements I made and if these statements were false, I am apologizing for the respective statements”, the ACL candidate to presidency declared.
“Thank you”, Ponta said, without apologizing on his turn.
On the other hand, Ponta came to the show with a Bible he showed on camera.
“Mr. Iohannis, I have a Bible beside me. This belongs to all Christians. I never sent a crew anywhere”, Ponta declared, replying to accusations made previously by Iohannis, according to whom, Ponta allegedly sent a TV crew to record his parents at their home.
Iohannis: “I guarantee no pensions would be cut as long as I am president. Ponta: How much is the pension of your mother-in-law?
ACL leader Klaus Iohannis declared that he would guarantee that no pensions would be cut as long as he would be president, adding that the PSD campaign that claimed the contrary was “heinous” and the Prime-Minister replied by asking: “Do you know how much the pension of your mother-in-law is?”
Iohannis asked Ponta why he had lied to pensioners, stating that he would cut their pensions if he was to be elected president. “I told them what you would do, together with Predoiu and Blaga”, Ponta answered.
He was asked afterwards by the ACL candidate to Presidency how would he know what Iohannis would do as a President. “Because you did it before”, the Prime Minister answered. Iohannis denied it, mentioning that the Prime Minister was “in an error”. “The Constitutional Court of Romania has established that pensions cannot be cut, so nobody cut the pensions”, Iohannis replied.
On his turn, Ponta told Iohannis that he addresses the five million pensioners and tells them nobody cut their pensions. Ponta asked Iohannis whether he knew how much the pension of his mother-in-law was, mentioning that the ACL leader had stated that it was RON 300.
“It is important that people would hear from Mr. Iohannis that there are pensions of RON 300 in Romania, which is not true”, Ponta declared.
Iohannis pointed out that his statement was “approximately RON 300”. “There is no pension of RON 300 in Romania, there is the minimum guaranteed income of RON 350”, Ponta declared.
“Perhaps you know that the lowest pension was RON 350, this is why I said it was approximately RON 300”, Iohannis replied. The Prime Minister asked his opponent whether he knew how many pensioners there were in Romania. The PNL leader replied that he looked forward to an answer from behalf of the Prime Minister as he had “all his cheat sheets with him”, referring to the papers placed on the table.
Ponta declared that there were 5.3 million pensioners in Romania and added that he was convinced that Iohannis did not know the answer. “I think that there are 5.4 million pensioners. I think you failed to study your lesson or to copy it good”, Iohannis replied.
Afterwards, Ponta read the precise figure, 5,341,521, from one of the papers, mentioning “I whispered to you the right answer”.
“Mr. Ponta, I see that you have an obsession with my family, you are discussing my mother-in-law and I do not think she will be happy to know the amount of the medium pension, as she keeps receiving RON 350 and I cover the rest of her necessities. And my parents are not happy, either, that you sent a TV crew to film them, at their house, Iohannis declared. Ponta swore that he had sent no TV crew in Germany.
Iohannis: You voted for Ratiu and Antonescu, may I count on your vote? Ponta: You are Basescu, I did not vote for him.
Klaus Iohannis asked Victor Ponta whether he could count on his vote, referring to a statement made by the PSD leader who had claimed to have voted for Ion Ratiu and Crin Antonescu. The PSD leader said: “You are a varnish, you are Traian Basescu on the inside. And I never voted for Traian Basescu”.
Iohannis’ answer was: Thank you.
The end of the Iohannis-Ponta debate: The Prime Minister was announced to stay in the studio; Iohannis objected.
The Iohannis – Ponta debate on Realitatea TV lasted for almost two hours and ended when the host announced that Prime Minister Victor Ponta would stay in the studio, which made Klaus Iohannis object.
Nonetheless, after the advertisement slot, when the broadcast restarted, the guest in the studio was the newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu.
In the moment the host announced that the Prime Minister would remain in the studio after the closing of the debate with Iohannis, adding that his journalist colleague had questions to Victor Ponta, Klaus Iohannis objected, telling that he did not think it was fair and, that, in his opinion, the show should end with his departure.
“I think that the show should end here”, Iohannis pointed out.
After the end of the show, advertisements were broadcasted, announced by the TV host. The first commercial spot was the one used by Klaus Iohannis in his electoral campaign, the one that features him talking about the watch he inherited from his grandfather.
After this sport, there was a series of approximately seven minutes of commercial spots broadcasted one after the other.
The end was represented by a spot opposing the ACL candidate for presidency.
“Laszlo Tokes votes for Iohannis, Videanu votes for Iohannis, Macovei votes for Iohannis, MRU votes for Iohannis, Blaga votes for Iohannis, Udrea votes for Iohannis. If he wins, they overtake the power. Take care whom you are voting for. On November 16, make the change completely. If they win, Romania loses”, is the text read in the background, while the spot is illustrated with photographs of the persons mentioned. The electoral spot ends with the sound of a church bell.
(Compiled from Mediafax)