Darius Valcov’s request for resignation from his Finance Minister office will be submitted to Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis as soon as the Government has approved in a meeting the Tax Code and the Code of Tax Procedure, which means next Wednesday, at the latest, Prime Minister and national leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Victor Ponta said Monday.
He added that the draft versions of the two codes are following the steps for approval, while replacing the Finance Minister would mean delaying the steps.
Asked whether or no he has found a replacement for Valcov, Ponta said he did not have time to discuss the matter.
‘I have not discussed it yet; there was not time for me to discuss with likely replacements; I will discuss the matter inside the party and come up with proposals and then discuss it with the President. (…) The two drafts have started on the path to approval. If the minister were to be replaced, the approval circuit would have to be started anew, which would mean one, one and a half month more. I will submit Mr Valcov’s resignation, his request to resign office, to Romania’s President immediately as we, the Government, pass the two drafts and the drafts are headed to Parliament. I do not know whether or not we can do it this Wednesday, but it will be next Wednesday, at the latest,’ said Ponta.
He mentioned having informed President Iohannis on Sunday about Valcov’s resignation. ‘Immediately as we, the Government, pass them and send them further to Parliament. Until then, I will find a person because I cannot let the Finance Minister office vacated. All that has to do with running the country – wages, pensions, organisations – depend on the Finance Minister’s signature; it is not an office that can be left vacated. And so, in the day ahead I will have talks with likely ministers to see who of the ones I propose the office want the office, and then I will inform the President and then the media,’ said Ponta.
He added that he has in mind a finance minister that is at least as good as Valcov was. ‘In my opinion as Prime Minister and in the opinion of those who are not blinded by political passion, Darius Valcov was a very good Finance Minister. There is nothing I can do about those blinded by passion,’ added Ponta.
Tax Code to reach the Parliament on March 25, at latest
Ponta on Monday also announced that he asks the Senate to use an emergency procedure for the debate and approval of the Tax Code and the Tax Procedure Code, reiterating that he takes into account the Government’s responsibility assumption in case the Liberals block the adoption of these laws because of procedure issues and not underlying issues.
‘The Tax Code will be completed in the coming period and on March 25, at the latest, it will go to Parliament. I shall ask the Senate to use an emergency procedure, so it can be discussed in the committees and in the plenum right after Easter and, practically, be able to enter the Deputies’ Chamber at the end of April. There are two months – May and June – in which the Deputies’ Chamber has plenty of time to debate, to approve. If I find that the National Liberal Party (PNL) blocks the adoption of the Tax Code through procedural measures, not for underlying issues, but procedure issues, then I shall take into account the procedure of the Government’s assuming responsibility for the two codes in June. But I am voicing my hope that reason and common sense triumph and, after the discussions in Parliament, amendments will be made if necessary, and we have adopted these laws which are fundamental for ensuring our economic development, creating new jobs and keeping this direction we followed over the past three and a half years of sustainable economic growth,’ Victor Ponta told a press conference held at the Social Democratic Party (PSD) headquarters.
Prime Minister accepted Valcov’s resignation, but asked him to finalise Tax Code draft
Prime Minister Victor Ponta (photo L) told B1 TV private broadcaster on Sunday evening that he accepted the resignation of Darius Valcov (photo R) from Finance Minister office, but asked him to complete the new Tax Code, and that he also informed President Klaus Iohannis about that.
Ponta said Valcov tendered his resignation on Sunday at noon before a press release of President Iohannis on the same matter, while after the release was issued he phoned Iohannis to inform about the Finance Minister’s decision.
‘Afterwards, I spoke with the President and said: He resigned office at noon. I asked him to finalise the Tax Code (…) I also told the President that I have no replacement for the office his evening; it is too serious a matter and I do not know who would still want [the office]. There are about three people I have to convince, but I do not know if anyone of them would like it,’ said Ponta.
He added that the next day he will start looking for a ‘kamikaze’ to take over the office of the Finance Minister.
At the moderator’s remark that it might take days before he finds a replacement, Ponta said, ‘Since nothing happened from 2009, when as far as I understand he committed some horrible offenses, to 2015 nothing happened, three days to find a new finance minister would not be [a problem] …’
He also labeled former President Traian Basescu ‘the absolute champion of hypocrisy and lack of good sense.’
‘There was no actual information about a case in which Valcov to be investigated. (…) The conclusion is Mr Basescu is lying as usually. (…) Do not ask me to comment on a consummate liar,’ Ponta said in response to Basescu’s claims that Ponta received information about Valcov being investigated.
Ponta said Basescu sent him a letter asking him to think twice about appointing Valcov as Finance Minister.
Valcov’s resignation, a loss to the Gov’t
Prime Minister Victor Ponta says resigning Finance Minister Darius Valcov was one of the best performing ministers of late and his resignation is a loss to the Government.
‘Darius Valcov has been one of the most active and best performing ministers of late. He has a theme he prepared and supported very well, for which he surprisingly won the plaudits of everyone, not just of the Social Democratic Party (PSD). His resignation is a loss to the Government, because the finance minister is a key officer in any government,’ Ponta told B1TV private broadcaster on Sunday evening.
Narrating one of his conversations with Valcov on Sunday at noon, Ponta said the situation surrounding the case is ‘more than unpleasant.’
‘This afternoon I sat down with him in my office and talked: ? Did anyone ever summon you to the Prosecution Service? Is it true the story [about him being whisked away to the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) as he was leaving the broadcasters’ main offices after an interview]? No, a police officer waited for me outside who told me to come to the DNA.’ All television channels knew that he was expected at the DNA, save him. That was a more than unpleasant situation, but today at noon he told me very clearly, ?Here you have my resignation,” Ponta told B1TV.