The Wednesday’s evening debate on B1Tv brought Victor Ponta and Klaus Iohannis face to face for a second time in the runoff campaign. In comparison with the previous one broadcasted by Realitatea TV, it was a better organized debate from the point of view of the format and the professionalism of the moderator, Madalina Puscalau who was congratulated at the end by the two presidential contenders.
This time, ACL’s candidate, Klaus Iohannis came better prepared in comparison with the first confrontation with his rival, who dominated him totally from all points of views. However, on Wednesday night, Mr. Iohannis recovered and had an improved appearance. The two opponents used all the weapons to attack and to speculate each other’s weaknesses. The debate was a mixture of tensioned, relaxed, ironical moments, but also of arguments presented by each of the contenders either to lobby their own programs and electoral offers, or to counterattack the rival.According to a CSCI live poll that measured the viewers perception of the debate winner, after the first half an hour, 56% of the viewers of B1 Tv believed Victor Ponta was dominating the debate.A similar survey conducted during the debate on Realitatea TV the day before indicated that Victor Ponta had 70% of the vote.While the first debate was broadcast by all news TV stations, the one organised by B1Tv was only taken over by Digi 24 TV. Since the audience of B1Tv is oriented in the direction of Traian Basescu and PDL, the result is influenced by the viewers’ preferences, which means that Klaus Iohannis wasn’t able to overturn the score even on his ‘home’ field.After a whole hour, V. Ponta’s score had risen to 57%.The survey was conducted by the CATI method (computer-assisted telephone interview).
Victor Ponta and Klaus Iohannis confront each other on plagiarism and incompatibility
On Wednesday, at the TV station B1, Victor Ponta and Klaus Iohannis had an exchange of attacks on the topics of plagiarism and incompatibility. Iohannis declared that anyone who plagiarized should leave politics, while the PM showed an ICCJ decision, a document the ACL leader still does not have regarding his incompatibility.
Iohannis declared that Romania’s President should not be Victor Ponta, mentioning that it is wrong and dangerous for Romania to leave all its power in the hands of only one party confronted with terrible problems and having plenty of notorious members that have violated laws. “It is extremely dangerous for Romania to regress and to endanger democracy”, the PNL leader declared.
Iohannis also referred to the episode of plagiarism accusations that affected Victor Ponta. “It is wrong for Romania to choose Mr. ponta as president because he lied, hr scared pensioners that I would cut their pensions and, given my training as a teacher, I think that it is a problem when a child plagiarizes. When somebody who writes his doctoral dissertation cheats, it is a proportionally greater issue and it is called plagiarism. Anywhere in the world, anyone among the politicians who is caught plagiarizing is forced by the political class to quit politics. In our country, one of these plagiarists wishes to become Romania’s president”, the ACL candidate declared.
Ponta replied, mentioning that he was prepared for Klaus Iohannis’ attacks because he had lost the debate on Realitatea TV and he is trying to apply personal attacks. “I want to tell you only one thing about the plagiarism. I went to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) who issued a definitive and irrevocable decision. You ran away from ICCJ and your trial with ANI. I would not have ran for President, if I were you. It is a fundamental difference between us”, Ponta said.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that Iohannis will bring Romania back in 2010, because his team includes the people who cut the pensions: Predoiu, Blaga, Anastase.
“I also think that he wants to hand over the power to those who had it in 2010 and 2011. He already mentioned that he wanted Predoiu as Prime Minister”. Ponta said, pointing out that former PNL leader Calin Popescu – Tariceanu had granted Iohannis EUR 50 million for Sibiu.
“Mr. Iohannis is very similar to Mr. Basescu, as he is surrounded by Basescu’s people and he opposes everything”, ponta added, mentioning that the cut of social contribution is a Liberal project that was approved in the Parliament and Government. “You were against it”, Ponta added.
“We only have one president who was a mayor and then a president: Traian Basescu. And only one prime minister: Emil Boc. I personally think about them that they were terribly poor as president and prime minister”, Ponta commented. Iohannis replied: “Mr. Ponta, you know a man named Gabriel Oprea. He is your vice-prime-minister. You know how he voted regarding the cut of pensions and salaries”. Ponta answered: “He did not vote, he saved the pensions of former army members”.
“Together with UNPR, he voted for those cuts. It may be true that I have people who cut the salaries and persons; but so do you!”, Iohannis told Ponta.
The first subject of the Ponta – Iohannis confrontation: Voting in the Diaspora and the attendance to the voting stations
As part of the first subject of the debate on B1TV, respectively the introduction of candidates, Victor Ponta mentioned that his vision as a Prime-Minister and as a USL leader was focused on “the end of the Basescu – Blaga regime”, while Klaus Iohannis declared he was the “candidate who believed that voting was not a slogan, but a right”.
The first question targeted the introduction of the candidates and the reasons why they wanted to be elected president.
Ponta declared that he had three reasons to become president. The first was his vision, presented as Prime Minister and USL leader, regarding “the end of the regime imposed by Traian Basescu, Vasile Blaga, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, Catalin Predoiu and all the others”.
He went on to say that the second reason was that “one cannot do anything at the leading position of a country without a team”, mentioning his proposal regarding Calin Popescu Tariceanu as his future Prime Minister. He also referred to Teodor Melescanu after initially pronouncing the name of Theodor Stolojan.
“After two years and a half as a Prime-Minister, and discovered one thing many Romanians feel, too; that we need stability and unity. There was plenty of strife, there was a regime that practically ends this Sunday, based on setting Romanians against Romanians”, Ponta added.
Iohannis was asked on his turn who he was and why he wanted to be Romania’s President.
“I am the candidate who thinks that the vote is no slogan, but a right, owned by people in the Duaspora as well. I am the candidate who thinks that everyone should be granted an equal right to vote. I am the candidate who thinks that a thorough change is needed in Romania, and, now, after 25 years, we must find the courage to stop things and start them over, to make different politics, based on less scandal, less noise and more solutions”, Iohannis said.
He also mentioned that he had brought to the show two files filled with letters destined to the Central Electoral Bureau, sent from the Diaspora and including complaints by Romanians abroad, that they were unable to vote and they felt humiliated.
Iohannis read aloud a few excerpts from the letters and, by the end, he mentioned that he would leave them to the Prime Minister.
“Mr. Prime Minister, I will leave these to you. Perhaps you will appoint somebody who could explain people why they were humiliated at the voting stations. There were observers at the voting stations. Last night, you said that us, the Christian Liberal Alliance, failed to send observers. I checked; all stations are here, 52 observers were absent from PSD, 19 from ACL and less from other parties and groups. I will leave this to you, too; perhaps you want to hand this information over to your colleagues in the Government”, Iohannis declared.
Distance voting during Constitution review – subject of dispute between Ponta and Iohannis
The amendment regarding the distance voting introduced by PNL MP Alina Gorghiu to the Constitution Review Board was a subject of dispute between the two candidates, Klaus Iohannis and Victor Ponta during the debate organised by B1 TV Wednesday night, with the premier claiming it had been withdrawn while the ACL candidate said the opposite.‘It is about the fact that Mr. Iohannis, during the confrontation we had yesterday, was totally unprepared and said untrue things. The first is that PNL, a party he has been leading since recently, tabled in the Constitution Review Board an amendment to the Constitution on the subject of the electronic voting or through distance means of communication and PSD has rejected it. I have the report in front of me, in the Parliament of Romania, the Chamber of Deputies, the amendment submitted by Alina Gorghiu has been withdrawn. It was never rejected. An I am asking Mr. Iohannis to be better informed when he comes and asserts things’, Ponta said.
Klaus Iohannis, in turn, stressed the fact that the amendment in question had been rejected. ‘You know, it is stated in Romanian, right here, there is also a stamp’, Ponta went on, showing a document to the camera.
Iohannis asked if the PM was responding to a response, and Ponta answered: ‘No. This is to make people understand that you have not prepared yourself tonight either’.
Ponta, on B1TV: I am looking at Mr. Iohannis, he is looking at the walls; Iohannis: Sometimes that can be more interesting
During the televised confrontation on B1 TV, Victor Ponta warned Klaus Iohannis that, while he was looking him in the eyes, he preferred to look at the walls, and the ACL leader replied him: ‘Sometimes that can be more interesting’.
The premier told the ACL candidate that he preferred to look straight at the interlocutor, noting that Iohannis was ‘looking at the walls’.
Looking into the camera, Iohannis answered, laughing: ‘Sometimes that can be more interesting’.
Iohannis to Ponta: Let’s do a job between us, men – drop the amnesty; Ponta: There is also a woman present
Klaus Iohannis asked, on Wednesday, Victor Ponta, to ‘do a job between us, men’, namely to call, as heads of their respective parties, the Parliament in session in order to reject the Amnesty and Pardon Law. Ponta replied that it was the prerogative of the speakers of the Chambers and that there was also a lady present, the TV host, who should not be ignored.
The exchange of retorts on the Justice theme was sparked by Klaus Iohannis by saying that Victor Ponta’s Romania was still waiting for the Amnesty and Pardon Law, and read out from a list the names of Năstase, Dragnea, Hrebenciuc, Voicu, Andronescu, Mihăilescu, Mitrea, Nica, Şova, Adam, Mocanu, Duicu, Bunea-Stancu Constantinescu, all Social Democrats in trouble with the law.
‘There are 38. I’ll leave you the list’, Iohannis told Ponta. Ponta, in turn, replied that it was a list by Monica Macovei and also attacked him over the liberals also in conflict with the law. ‘In the case of Mr. Hrebenciuc, DNA asked for his arrest, he resigned and was arrested. Yesterday, you received a request from DNA for the arrest of your colleague, the head of PNL Prahova, Mircea Rosca. You could ask him to resign from Parliament tomorrow, as Hrebenciuc did, so that he can be arrested, otherwise all you are saying are slogans. Please ask him tonight, because you did ask Chiuariu to leave PNL and he didn’t really take much notice of you’, Ponta said to Iohannis.
Iohannis’ answer came instantly.
‘Mr. Ponta, you are the president of PSD, I am the president of ACL. Let’s do a job between us, men: Let’s call the Parliament in session tomorrow, we can work the day after tomorrow, we remove the Amnesty and Pardon Law from Senate, we reject it and we green light all investigations and arrests’, Iohannis said.
Ponta answered by a question: ‘Where have you learnt this style of never answering a question?’
He also intervened, noting that the moderator of the show was a lady.
‘Between us, men, and a woman. The fact that you ignore her doesn’t mean she does not exist’, Ponta added. ‘This is between the two of us’, Iohannis replied.
The exchange of lines between the two continued in the same rhythm and on the same tone.
‘Long talk. Are we or are we not calling the Parliament in session?’ Iohannis asked. Ponta answered that it could only be called by the heads of Parliament. ‘So you don’t want to’, Iohannis concluded. Ponta immediately replied: ‘Yes, I want to do everything that can be done under the Constitution’.
Iohannis also said afterwards that he was going to talk to Mircea Rosca, and asked Ponta if he would also talk to the Social Democrats Ecaterina Andronescu on the same subject. The PM said he would.
Ponta also revisited a subject initially raised by Iohannis, that dealing with the issue of the amnesty law was a ‘job between men’.
‘We are making proposals between us, men, although a woman is also present’.
Ponta and Iohannis exchange lines and accusations over Sibiu property returns
On Wednesday, on B1 Tv, Victor Ponta and Klaus Iohannis had an exchange of retorts on the subject of the property restitutions in Sibiu, the premier saying the mayor had processed very few returns and only to people who supported him, the mayor’s reply being: ‘Mr. Ponta, you are lying!’
Ponta read out from a sheet of paper a data on the situation of property returns in Sibiu, also naming the recipients. He said the few beneficiaries were all mayor’s supporters. Iohannis’ answer was that the PM was lying, explaining that it was not the mayor who processed the returns, but the authority which is subordinated to the Government. Ponta replied that no properties had been returned to owners since 2012, since he became prime minister.
Iohannis insisted that Ponta was lying and the two of them launched themselves into an overlapping row of retorts. The TV host urged them to stop, noting that the pre-set format of the show did not include a dialogue of the candidates. She then moved to the next question, although the two would not stop.
Ponta to Iohannis: To me, the president of PNL is Antonescu, you are speaking for PDL
Victor Ponta said on B1 TV on Wednesday that, as far as he was concerned, the President of PNL was still Crin Antonescu and the founder of the party was Calin Popescu Tariceanu and that Iohannis was speaking for PDL. Klaus Iohannis answered that there was a court decision in place on who the president of PNL was.
‘Mr. Iohannis changes his mind. One time he likes PNL, the next time he no longer likes it. I don’t mind. To me, the president of PNL is Mr. Antonescu and the founder of PNL is Mr. Tăriceanu, you are speaking for PDL’, Ponta said.
‘Mr, Ponta, do you recognise a court decision? Do you generally believe that a court decision should be recognised or not? There is a decision which says that I am the president of PNL, there is a decision that says that, after the merger, the new PNL will be a registered political party and what you are saying is public misrepresentation, not to all this a public lie again’, Klaus Iohannis replied.
Ponta’s answer was: ‘Why, because you lied several times last night’. Iohannis, in his turn, said: ‘You are mistaking your style for mine’.
Iohannis: Mr Ponta, did Mr. Basescu fool Romanians when he appointed you as prime minister?
The Ponta-Iohannis debate Wednesday night closed with a poignant exchange of lines on the relationship with Traian Basescu, with Iohannis asking: ‘Mr. Ponta, did Mr. Basescu fool Romanians when he appointed you as prime minister?’ after Ponta had ironically noted that ‘he had studied Basescu thoroughly’.
After Klaus Iohannis’ closing message, Victor Ponta stepped in:
‘Unbelievable! I just saw Traian Basescu. I can say you have studied Traian Basescu thoroughly!’ Victor Ponta exclaimed.
‘I wish to explain one thing. Under the Romanian law and Mr. Iohannis, as a mayor, and even more as a president, should know the law – the minimum guaranteed income of 350 lei is completed from the state budget on top of the social security budget. I want to tell you one thing. Mr. Iohannis, I have just seen Traian Basescu, again. The same phariseism, if you trust he is fooling Romanians once more. I will live in Romania without Basescu and Iohannis’, Ponta went on, during the B1 TV electoral confrontation.
Iohannis replied: ‘Mr. Ponta, did Mr. Basescu fool Romanians when he designated you as prime minister? Because he refused to designate me. He agreed to name you. The conclusion, dear Romanians, is for you to draw’.
In parallel with Iohannis’ last sentence, Ponta said, speaking over him: ‘I was representing USL, you…’ ‘I represented USL, where you came with the intention to unseat Crin Antonescu, you were implanted there’, Ponta resumed his idea later on. He thus completed a prior moment of the debate, where Iohannis had presented retirement benefits slips with a value lower than 350 lei, which Ponta had indicated the night before as the minimum pension in Romania.
‘I have here some retirement benefits slips. This is a pension of exactly four lei’, Iohannis said.
Ponta intervened: ‘I need to explain, because, yesterday, Mr. Iohannis did not know the amount of the pension, 350 lei, which is the minimum income. If a pension is smaller than that, the difference is covered from the state budget. Mr. Iohannis doesn’t know the law’.
Iohannis continued: ‘Another pension slip, of 350 lei. I’ll leave them here for you’.
‘This is the law, you have no idea about the pension law’, Ponta’s reply came.
(Compiled from Mediafax)