PNL Vice-President Theodor Atanasiu (photo) explained on Monday why he had made, during a meeting with the Bistrita PNL members, the statements that set the party on fire. Atanasiu said he had been the first to propose the PNL-PDL merger and that his assertions that he would like to drop the former Democrat-Liberals starting with Vasile Blaga and Catalin Predoiu had been taken out of context. Moreover, he reassured that Predoiu would be the prime minister if PNL ever came to power.
‘I am sorry that things in Romania do not happen as they do in the rest of Europe, that private conversations do not remain private. You gave fragments of 1-2 minutes of a talk that lasted an hour and a half. I am sorry if the conclusion drawn based on those fragments was that we want to split up the party. I was the first to propose the merger of PNL and PDL. I supported the merger until it happened. It would be absurd for me to want to break up the party. PNL’s opponents are outside the party, not inside it. I am not interested in what certain TV stations say. I admit to the authenticity of the transcripts, but I do not admit to the context. I stand by what I said during that meeting, but it was said in a certain context, I don’t have to give public explanations on the context. I can assure you that, if we have a PNL government, Catalin Predoiu would be the Prime Minister’, Theodor Atanasiu told the journalists.
Asked in what context he had said that, Atanasiu refused to give any specifics, claiming he did not wish to debate on a private conversation.
‘My colleagues know the context in which those things were said. I have talked to them, I have told them what it was all about. I am not going to debate on a private conversation now. I do not have to give public explanations on a private talk. It is my problem what I talk about with my colleagues and friends in private areas’, Theodor Atanasiu noted.
A recording has was published during the weekend where PNL Vice-President Theodor Atanasiu was toughly criticising the ex-PDL wing of the new party, advocating the ousting of the former Democrat-Liberals starting with Vasile Blaga and Catalin Predoiu.
‘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. (…) 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!” Theodor Atanasiu said according to a press article posted on the Stiripesurse.ro on Saturday offering the transcript of a top-level discussion of the old Liberals who were allegedly getting ready for ousting the colleagues coming from the old PDL.
Vasile Blaga: ‘I didn’t like reading the transcripts’
PNL Vice-President Vasile Blaga in turn said that he didn’t like reading the transcripts in the media, but stressed that it was a moment the party would have to overcome. ‘I put a lot of soul in this construction and of course that I didn’t like reading those transcripts, but it is a moment we will have to overcome, something we can learn from’, Blaga said.
PNL First Vice-President Catalin Predoiu said on Monday that the moment after Atanasiu’s statements on the PNL governance and the future premier had been overcome and the party would move on. ‘The moment was overcome during the meeting today’, said the ex-Justice Minister in a statement to Ziare.com.
At the same time, he noted that the Liberals had come out of the crisis generated by Theodor Atanasiu’s statements wiser.
‘The joint project is far too important and has a much too large critical mass to be stopped. Mr. Atanasiu has made it clear today that he backed all the party decisions, including the one regarding the government. We are moving on. A crisis can demolish you or, on the contrary, if tackled correctly, can make you stronger. We have tacked it correctly and I am convinced that we came out of it wiser and stronger. The electorate can count on a strong PNL that would build an effective government’, Catalin Predoiu said.
Later on, after a PNL meeting, the former minister of justice said that he had not urged Atanasiu to resign, explaining that the Liberals’ project was one on which all the members of the party worked on, but also that the right to have an opinion was guaranteed in the party.
Alina Gorghiu: ‘Any statement undermining the merger idea will be sanctioned’
PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu says the protocol with the former PDL would be observed and that Catalin Predoiu would be the party’s choice for Prime-Minister.
‘My very firm message to PNL is that any derailment and any statement that undermines the idea of merger and unity of PNL would be clearly sanctioned, but I can assure you that my relationship to Vasile Blaga, not only politically, but also personally, is very good. PNL has always fulfilled all its commitments and kept its promises. We have a protocol that says it very clearly that Predoiu is our candidate for the post as Prime-Minister’, Alina Gorghiu said after the PNL meeting on Monday.
MEP Traian Ungureanu wrote on Facebook on Monday that, under the new conditions, Atanasiu could not continue in the party.
‘The underlying idea illustrated by Atanasiu in the statements recorded in Bistrita says the following: only fools negotiate honestly and we are no fools! Atanasiu’s contribution does not contradict the doctrine and history of the party. Anyone who sits down at the table with the Liberals needs a giant rear view mirror in order to see in time the holes that are being dug, the projectiles or flying lizards coming from behind. For all that, Theodor Atanasiu should resign’, Ungureanu said on Facebook.
Prime-Minister Victor Ponta had a brief comment on the PNL situation on his Facebook page on Monday: ‘Here is at last an understandable reason why PNL wants to come to power as soon as possible – true Liberalism!’ Ponta states.