Premier Victor Ponta launched on Monday a new call on the National Liberal Party (PNL), asking it not to block the amending of the Constitution and stating that Liberals display significant lack of seriousness.
“Despite my call, PNL has decided to block the amending of the Constitution. After PNL proposed a Parliamentary Republic in 2013, now it proposes a Presidential Republic. Proof of a significant lack of seriousness, of contempt toward people. The project was drafted at the proposal of the colleagues. We also have the Venice Commission’s approval. We can move on to the vote, the project won’t limit the president’s powers, it’s the revision of certain important points. It is a major project, 12 years have passed since the Constitution was last amended, there are problems that can be solved only through amendment. I call on wisdom that PDL has not shown so far, I call on PNL not to block the amending of the Constitution. It is a chance we have now, in 2015, it’s a non-election year,” Victor Ponta stated at the end of PSD’s Permanent National Bureau meeting in which the Social-Democrats presented the review of their three years in government.
This is not the first time Ponta accuses the Liberals of sabotaging the amending of the Constitution. Last week the Premier wrote on Facebook that he launches “a very determined” call on PNL not to sabotage the project on amending the Constitution. “An opportunity that appears once every 10-15 years will be lost out of difficult-to-understand politicking reasons, an opportunity to modernize state institutions and to adapt the systems that protect fundamental rights! Any real reform of political life cannot be complete without modifying the Constitution! And I have to remind the Liberal MPs that this was one of the main promises we made in the 2012 elections when we were all elected! Burying this project would be the serious betrayal of those who trusted us!” Ponta wrote.
Last Tuesday the PNL MPs asked for the resumption of talks on amending the Constitution, so that the process of modifying the Constitution is once again gridlocked within the Parliament’s commission.
‘I wish and hope PNL doesn’t vote against Tax Code’
Prime Minister and Social Democratic Party (PSD) chairman Victor Ponta also voiced his hope that all parliamentary parties support the draft of the new Tax Code and that the National Liberal Party (PNL) doesn’t vote against it, “as it would be a matter of politicking.”
“Tomorrow it is a special day in the Senate – the vote on the Tax Code. I am absolutely positive that Romania has to benefit from an economic point of view from the provisions of the new Tax Code. Certainly, adjustments can be made, improvement can be brought, but I hope and wish that PNL doesn’t vote against the Tax Code, it would be purely politicking, after they requested and said that in their governance programme they have the measures of the Tax Code,” Ponta said in a press conference at the PSD headquarters.
He underscored that this isn’t the Tax Code of the Ponta Government or of the current ruling coalition.
“It is Romania’s Tax Code. It will come into force on January 1, 2016, and it will support Romania’s economic and social development on an extremely important period, in which there will certainly be several governments from various ruling parties. It is important to give a signal of seriousness and stability. There is a quasi-unanimous support from the Romanian and international business community for these modifications. I believe that it is the duty of all serious parties of Romania to support this essential draft for our economic development,” the Prime Minister argued.
Alina Gorghiu: “PNL will do exactly what a responsible party must do”
PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu reacted on Monday, at a press conference, to Victor Ponta’s call for the Liberals not to block the amending of the Constitution. She pointed out that the current project on modifying the Constitution does not respect several criteria imposed by the Venice Commission.
“There are a lot of aspects, points of view according to which the current amending project does not fulfil some criteria that they made. I am telling him once more and I will repeat it until he understands, although I don’t know what the chances of that are. He only feigns not understanding in order to save his party; I’m telling you PNL will do exactly what a responsible party must do. It will engage in public debates because the great handicap is the fact that this amending project has not been made known to the Romanian public, the one that will come to vote on it in a referendum at one point. It won’t be voted solely by PSD, it has to be voted by the informed Romanian electorate,” Alina Gorghiu pointed out.
The PNL Co-President also reacted to the invitation that PSD and Victor Ponta extended to her to attend the three-year celebration of the moment the government led by Mihai Razvan Ungureanu was toppled. The PNL leader confessed that she decided to refuse the “brazen” invitation. “From my point of view the invitation to attend this event is a brazen initiative because it is Ponta’s lamentable attempt to revive the idea of USL. He does not think about the moment that occurred three years ago, about discussing a past event, a reality. Today, alongside his two satellites, he wants to revive the idea of a new USL and it’s pretty ridiculous to sit next to Mr. Oprea or next to the Red Liberal (Calin Popescu Tariceanu – editor’s note) who solves your problems in the Senate, but despite all that the event will take place; he doesn’t realize how ridiculous this event is,” Alina Gorghiu stated at a press conference organized at the PNL headquarters.
Gov’t will back lowering of VAT on water to 9 pc
Premier Victor Ponta announced at the end of PSD’s Permanent National Bureau meeting that he will back in Parliament, alongside the emergency ordinance on lowering the VAT on foodstuffs, an amendment on lowering the VAT on water to 9 per cent.
“In the parliamentary debates on this ordinance the government will back an amendment through which the VAT on water for household use would drop to 9 per cent, the budget impact being estimated at less than EUR 100 M per year,” Victor Ponta stated at the end of the weekly Permanent National Bureau meeting in which the Social-Democrats presented the review of their three years in government.
Public Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici explained on Sunday on ProTV that some water industry operators are considering raising tariffs and the lowering of the VAT on water will represent support both from them and for the population that would not feel the price hike in the bills. He pointed out that the lowering of VAT on water is currently analyzed both by the Finance Ministry and the Labour Ministry in order to see how the measure can be implemented.
Sulfina Barbu, PNL Vice President: “Victor Ponta celebrates the officialisation of political corruption”
Victor Ponta has officialised political corruption and has taken it to the level of a virtue, PNL Vice President Sulfina Barbu stated on RFI on Monday, three years after the fall of the Ungureanu Government. Premier Victor Ponta, the President of PSD, invited all MPs that voted in favour of the censure motion against the Ungureanu Government three years ago, which resulted in the coming to power of the USL Government, to attend on Monday, at the Palace of Parliament, an event dedicated to that moment.
“I believe Mr. Victor Ponta is celebrating today the officialisation of unpleasant events and I would say first of all the officialisation of political corruption, because we know that that majority that Mr. Ponta formed was based on political corruption. We are talking about defectors that even received an emergency ordinance to cover their party switching, the majority going to PSD, and I am talking about Ordinance 55, I am talking about the public funds that the Ponta Government is now using precisely in order to bribe mayors, county council chairmen and other representatives, in order to back him in Parliament but also in the elections. Consequently, I believe that Mr. Ponta today in fact officialises political corruption and takes it to the level of a virtue,” Sulfina Barbu stated.