*Liberals’ official position – “private discussions, we do not assume them” – countered by PSD: “We were treated the same too.”
The old Liberals want to obtain total control in the new party created as a result of the merger with the Democrat Liberal Party (PDL). This is what is shown by the motivational speech given by PNL Vice President Teodor Atanasiu in front of some party branch leaders.
PNL Senator and Vice President Teodor Atanasiu is heard in an audio recording saying that the old National Liberal Party (PNL) used PDL, not being able to win the Presidency without the latter. Atanasiu states that PNL will not respect the agreement with PDL in what concerns the Premier and that the PDL leaders will gradually be removed from leadership bodies. According to Atanasiu’s statements, the fact that Catalin Predoiu will be sidelined, the Premier will be a pure Liberal and the Liberals will have as many leadership positions as possible at central and county levels are just some of the goals that people close to PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu support behind closed doors. For the time being both sides downplay the effects of the statements. Nevertheless, Teodor Atanasiu will have to explain them on Monday during the meeting held by the new PNL’s merger commission.
“We agreed on a parity merger in which we gave the party’s name, symbol, presidential candidate and they gave us the headquarters (laughter), the place in which to work. We have 28 counties in which we hold the lead in this parity merger. We couldn’t have obtained more. I am telling you we also gave them the illusion that they will have the Prime Minister. They won’t anymore. I can vow they won’t!” Teodor Atanasiu said. The PNL Vice President added that the new PNL’s vulnerability is given by Co-President Vasile Blaga who does not want a majority out of fear, because he knows many things.
In the presence of important PNL leaders such as Co-chair Alina Gorghiu and General Secretary Marian Petrache, Teodor Atanasiu presented to his colleagues in Bistrita a possible scenario against the new partners from the former PDL.
“We wouldn’t have won the Presidency without PDL. We held our nose and made a compromise. We also gave them the illusion that they will have the Prime Minister. They won’t! So this party will be ours, not theirs. We needed them, now we don’t need them anymore. I told them that if they were to leave tomorrow it would be good. I will still have 45 per cent and nobody will ask me again about Boagiu, Anastase, Boc, this or that. They won’t leave, they’re not stupid. We will live with them. Their leaders will be gone one by one,” PNL First Vice President Teodor Atanasiu stated in front of his PNL Bistrita colleagues.
In her turn, the PNL Co-President asked the old Liberals to get ready for war with Vasile Blaga’s people. “I am mainly interested in having the old PNL strong here. I don’t know if fast… I don’t have to spell it out for you. I hope you understand my message,” Alina Gorghiu pointed out.
Officially both sides are trying to downplay the issue.
“It’s an unfortunate statement, an unusual statement. In politics if you gave your word when you made a deal with someone you have to respect it. I don’t believe this statement will affect the new PNL. I believe with this statement Atanasiu has only managed to isolate himself a bit from the opinions of the other colleagues,” PNL Senator Traian Igas stated.
“We don’t want to comment certain jokes, certain statements taken out of context. Nobody from PNL takes responsibility for those opinions. We have a firm commitment about the designated Premier, there are no question marks. We are talking about Catalin Predoiu. This merger process is far too important to relate to certain personal opinions,” PNL Spokesperson Ionut Stroe stated.
“Don’t ask me about Mr. Atanasiu. I only remembered the first sentence: “We wouldn’t have won the Presidency without PD. The rest only entails some apologies,” former PDL Spokesperson Adriana Saftoiu concluded.
The leadership of the new PNL (which was formed through the merger of PNL and PDL) will ask Teodor Atanasiu for explanations on May 11, during a meeting dedicated among other things to analyzing the stage of the merger between territorial branches and to jointly prepare the future local elections, party sources inform.
PNL’s official position countered by PSD Senator
PNL Spokesperson Ionut Stroe stated on Antena 3 that “these were private talks, I asked, they are private talks. PNL does not take responsibility for the opinions expressed in those recordings. Even though we are talking about Mr. Atanasiu, PNL does not take responsibility for these opinions. I don’t believe one can talk about some being dissatisfied with others.”
PSD Senator Daniel Savu stated: “I believe such statements are liable to push back those you have co-opted. Mr. Atanasiu states exactly what he thinks. The ones you want to attract within the Liberal group will be upset because they might receive the same treatment. We were treated the same too.”
“There is a big difference, those are not private talks. It is not a political transfer. PNL exists, the merger process is in the last stretch, together we had some rules, we won the elections together, we are working on a governing program together, as one party,” Ionut Stroe replied.
“I want to intervene. You won the elections with PSD. Klaus Iohannis won the elections. Those are general elections. I believe Mr. Predoiu is extremely frustrated by those statements according to which he will not be Premier and he too should vow that he will be,” Daniel Savu retorted.