Prime-Minister Victor Ponta said during a Romania TV programme Sunday night that he hoped the new Government that would be presented to the Parliament for the vote of confidence on Monday would work very well with President-elect Klaus Iohannis and added that, if he was unhappy with the Executive, he would have talks with him. ‘Under the Constitution, the President has foreign policy competence and I think that Mr. Bogdan Aurescu, especially given his prestige and expertise in his field, will work very well with the president of the country in the area of foreign policy. The same applies to the sector of defence, where Mr. Dusa has already been in office for a long time. (…) Under the Constitution, the president of the country has to work, apart from the prime minister and Parliament, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Aurescu, who stays in position, with Mr. Cazanciuc at Justice and with Mr. Dusa at Defence. All three are ministers I don’t expect Mr. Iohannis has anything against, actually I hope he appreciates them. If he has anything against the new Government, I am convinced we will have to talk about it and deal with it without fighting’, Ponta said on Romania TV.
President and premier should not fight anymore on TV
The chief of the Executive noted he agreed with what Klaus Iohannis had said that the solution, for the sake of Romania, was for the president, prime minister and Parliament to develop good working relations. ‘I definitely and completely agree with what Mr. Iohannis was saying at the beginning, that, regardless of who the president or prime minister is, the good thing for Romania is for the president, prime minister and Parliament to work together and, from my point of view, this is the solution for the years to come. They should not fight anymore on TV – I fully agree, because we have the experience of the ten years when the president has been fighting either with PM Tariceanu, then he began by having a good relation that became tensed with Mr. Boc, then with me (…). I also agree with Mr. Iohannis that Romanians do not want all the power in one place – he meant PSD, but I think it applies to everybody, not just PSD’, Victor Ponta said. He further noted that he had last spoke to the president-elect the night of 16 November, when he phoned to congratulate him on winning the election, but added that they would definitely talk after the swearing-in ceremony. ‘I haven’t had the chance to talk to Iohannis after the election night, he has been away and I’m convinced that we won’t have too many opportunities until he takes over office. But, right after Sunday (21 December – a/n), I will definitely talk to the president of Romania, because, at the end of the day, we are obliged by Constitution to cooperate in many fields, from very important ones such as defence, foreign affairs, national security to more formal, yet important, things’, the prime minister said.
‘Between myself and Traian Basescu there is a structural difference, we have always disliked each other’
As far as his relations with President Traian Basescu, still in office but who will complete his two terms totalling ten years this coming Sunday, are concerned. V. Ponta said he and Traian Basescu had never trusted or liked one another. Ponta said that Basescu had been urging him to resign and he had been telling Basescu to go since more than two years before. ‘We have never trusted or liked one another, we have always disliked each other, it’s a structural difference if you want. I imagine you and other people find yourself in a situation where you say <Ever since I have known this person, in so many years, we have never been able to make term with each other>. I don’t think we have made enough efforts to get along. If he has, I have not seen them, I definitely have not. He has been urging me to resign since two and a half years ago and, to be honest, I have been telling him to go too’, Victor Ponta confessed.
State offices must regain expression prestige in the future
In what regards the statement made by President Traian Basescu, who, on 4 December, urged him to resign office as PM saying ‘Man, you can stay with the party that supports you, that voted for you, but do not stain the face of Romania’, Ponta said offices should regain a certain expression prestige in the future. ‘I believe it’s compulsory that, in the future – and I am trustful in this department because I know Mr. Iohannis’ mode of address – we retrieve a certain prestige of offices. (…) I am also talking responsibility for my own mistakes and I am trying to change in my public rhetoric the things I have understood I should have not done as prime minister. So I am absolutely convinced that the president of the country, Mr. Iohannis, will discharge his duties as the Constitution says. As far as I am concerned, as long as I have the support of Parliament, I will work with the president and Parliament to fulfil my mandate as prime minister and I believe this is the best thing for Romania – to work together and not continue the ten years of disunion’, the prime minister also said.
‘Any minister subject to criminal investigation must step down’
Victor Ponta said in exclusivity for Romania TV on Sunday that he had no official information on a possible involvement of Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea in the Bica case and noted that any minister placed under criminal investigation will have to step down from the Government. Asked if he had demanded any explanations from Dragnea regarding his involvement in the Alina Bica case, the PSD leader, Prime Minister V. Ponta, said he had no official information on any such charges. The premier also said that, as he would resign office should criminal investigations begin against him in the case regarding the voting process in the Diaspora, any minister would leave the Government if in the same situation. ‘Any member of the current Government for whom DNA or the Prosecutor’s Office asks to commence criminal investigation will definitely step down from Government. It doesn’t mean that person is guilty, but it means that he/she cannot be a minister and the subject of a criminal investigation at the same time. If needed, this is what will happen’, Ponta said.The Executive President of PSD, Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea, on Sunday denied any participation in the Bica case where he reportedly mediated a bribe of EUR 3.5 M. He said such thing was ‘an enormity’ and he was not aware or anything of the kind.‘There is no such thing, I have not mediated anything like that, I have not heard of anything of the kind’, Dragnea said. Alina Bica allegedly received EUR 3.5 M bribe from businessman Ioan Niculae, via Liviu Dragnea, to help Niculae with his case that was being dealt with by DIICOT. She was also promised the office as prosecutor general. The information posted on Robert Turcescu’s blog where a document of the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) was published, according to which DNA prosecutors are investigating Alina Bica in a case separated from the one where the ex-DIICOT head is currently on remand awaiting trial.