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March 22, 2023

Ponta: Collaboration with the President, normal. PNL statements do not equal the President attacking me

Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Monday evening that his relationship with President Klaus Iohannis is a very normal institutional collaboration that does not suffer as a result of the two disagreeing on the Forestry Code.

“The Forestry Code did not affect the relationship, which continues to be of very normal institutional cooperation,” Ponta told Digi 24 private broadcaster.

Asked whether or not he distances himself from a recent press release of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), of which he is national leader, that alleged President Iohannis would be influenced by the lobbying of those “who no longer can steal money from the healthcare or those who exploit forests,” Ponta said: “When press releases are issued by the National Liberal Party [PNL, of which Iohannis was national leader at the time of winning the presidential election] I do not take them as an attack from the president, and the opposite should be valid as well.”

He also voiced agreement with Iohannis’ proposal to have the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) discuss the matter of illegal deforestation, because “such a serious and complex phenomenon, as illegal deforestation is, cannot be fought against by the Police alone, by the Government alone or by the judiciary alone, but it takes a concerted effort.”

Ponta added that interested persons are lobbying various governmental organisations: “There is lobbying conducted by various companies, Schweighofer included, with the Government and Parliament, which I deem vested interests.”

About the Forestry Code, Ponta stated himself clearly in favour of the cap that prevents a company from processing more than 30 per cent of a single type of wood.


Ponta: PNL is head-hunting MPs, but the incumbent majority works


Prime Minister Victor Ponta told Digi TV private broadcaster on Monday that PNL conducted a head-hunt for MPs from other parties that still continues in order to build a new parliamentary majority, but the majority that is supporting the incumbent government works.

“That existed before, and yes it continues to exist. As you could see they argue political defection has to be fought against. I guess they have convinced some 15 colleagues from the Dan Diaconescu – People’s Party (PP-DD) mainly, from the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) and the People’s Movement Party (PMP) – to join their side,’ said Ponta.

Asked whether or not he is affected by the PNL political actions he mentioned, Ponta said the majority that supports the incumbent government works. “The majority works, as you could see in virtually all the vote sessions it worked perfectly well,” said Ponta.

Asked whether he plans to massively coopt the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) in the 2016 elections, he said that UNPR and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the latter of which he is national leader of, already did so in the 2012 elections. “We ran in 2012 together with UNPR. Certainly there were also the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Conservative Party (PC) [and we were] running as the Social Liberal Union (USL), and yes, I have been mandated by the PSD leadership to negotiate, something that was no big secret, I guess everybody knew that we will run together in the local and general elections. Proportions and seats are things that we will discuss with [UNPR national leader] Mr Oprea and his team, and I am convinced we will surely reach an agreement,” said Ponta.

Asked why he needs Gabriel Oprea and UNPR, Ponta said: “Because they have been [PSD’s] loyal partners since May 7, 2012, and also because when I am not in the country Mr Oprea deputises for me, which means I trust him. As you can realise, you will not allow anyone to deputise for you unless there is someone you can trust or judge trustworthy. This, I believe, is the simplest and easiest to understand my answer,” said Ponta, according to Agerpres.


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