On Tuesday, PNL scored an important victory on PSD in Parliament on the subject of the new SIE chief: Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu was appointed Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) director, in Parliament’s plenary sitting with an overwhelming majority by 278 votes to 6.
The joint meeting of the Chambers of Parliament for the vote on President Klaus Iohannis’ proposal for the head of SIE fulfilled the quorum requirement.
According to the sitting president, Valeriu Zgonea, a number of 85 Senators and 205 Deputies were present.
The PSD strategy to boycott the nomination of Mihai Razvan Ungureanu by not attending the meeting did not work. Next to PNL voted UNPR, UDMR, PSRO and the deputies of national minorities other than Hungarian. Some of the PMP MPs were also present in the hall in order to secure the quorum.
Rovana Plumb, the President of the PSD National Council, had recommended after the meeting of the PSD leaders on Monday, that the PSD Mps should not participate in the plenary sitting for the vote on MRU.
Crin Antonescu rejected the nomination of Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, saying he would cast a vote against him. It was possible for several PNL MPs to vote against their former political enemy in the USL time. Once PSD had decided to boycott the vote, the anti-Ungureanu PNL Mps realised they were exposing themselves to party sanctions for no good reason. In order to become the Director of SIE, MRU needed just the simple majority of the present Mps, extremely probably without the PSD MPs that would have voted against his nomination. PSD has 206 MPs, which means that 30-40 votes would have been needed form the Liberals.
As the quorum had been fulfilled, the vote on the appointment of MRU as the head of SIE became a simple formality, as his supporters were in the hall.
After the voting, Ungureanu was sworn in before the Parliament plenary sitting.
Senate Speaker: We are witnessing incumbent President’s moves to reinstate power monopoly
Senate Speaker and Co-Chairman of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Calin Popescu Tariceanu argued on Tuesday, at the plenary sitting of Parliament that is to vote on the appointment of the new head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), that President Klaus Iohannis is “moving to place his trusted men into key positions.”
“We have all seen the grim times when a single political formation and its leader were holding power, and I am talking about the period 2009 – 2012, with Traian Basescu serving as President and PDL at the rule. It’s probably because of this lesson that many Romanians are extremely reluctant to repeating this mistake, and this was evident in the 2014 presidential election. (…) It seems that the power monopoly is meant only for some. We are currently witnessing in Romania the re-creation of the power monopoly by the incumbent President, who wants to place his trusted men into key positions,” said Tariceanu.
He explained that, in his opinion, Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu’s nomination for SIE head is inappropriate and that President Klaus Iohannis did not consult the parliamentary parties on this nomination, the way he did with his pick for the top position with the Romanian Intelligence Service.
“This would have been an approach in the line of basic logic. Therefore, I am asking myself: Why would he refuse to do so? There are many answers to this,” said the Senate Speaker.
Tariceanu added that the head of the state’s proposition for SIE head can create the impression that “the Basescu regime is being slowly pieced together again.”
“Today we are called to pronounce on a proposal that sets many Romanians thinking the Basescu regime is being slowly pieced together again. The highest-profile representatives of the Basescu regime are re-emerging after the greatest part of the voters snubbed them at the 2012 elections. (…) Unfortunately, today in the person of Mr. Ungureanu I only see the comeback of the former President’s men to key positions, and I think this is a regrettable situation the members of the old National Liberal Party should reflect on before they make a decision,” Tariceanu said.
MP Oltean to MP Neacsu: Calling an MP an expired product, unacceptable insult
MP Ioan Oltean of the National Liberal Party (PNL) told a plenary session of Parliament on Tuesday that the statement by floor leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Marian Neascu about PNL’s Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu that Ungureanu is an expired product is offensive and unacceptable.
Marian Neacsu, leader of the PSD deputies: ‘I am surprised to see the method of metamorphosis. I don’t know if it’s a gain or a loss as far as I am concerned. At some stage I saw a young ambitious, intelligent, well-read and balanced politician. I saw a young foreign minister who was beginning to acquire the double language. I have no objections to the period when he headed SIE. However, I could see the most ineffective prime-minister Romania ever had. Now we have a politically expired product’.
Oltean added that he was not speaking on behalf of PNL, but in his parliamentarian capacity, saying he wants to distance himself from such an attack.
“I have attended very many meetings where our colleagues would be appointed to very high-ranking offices. I have always disavowed ad hominem attacks. It is my belief that political battle is fought along principles, ideologies, instead of ad hominem attacks, and I am surprised to see the PSD leader, Marian Neacsu, a very poised and careful man, having veered away today from his attitude to use in the presentation of PSD’s opinion words that insult not just the MP we are voting today but each MP. Calling a Senator of Romania an expired product seems to me unprecedented and unacceptable,” said Oltean.
MP Liliana Minca of the Dan Diaconescu – People’s Party (PP-DD) said in her turn that she will never be Ungureanu’s fan, but the MPs of her group are there because they are responsible and attendance is mandatory.
“Our vote will be for the appointment of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) director, for Mr Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu,” said Minca.
Oprea, on vote for SIE head: UNPR goes and votes for President’s proposal
National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) Chairman Gabriel Oprea told a joint meeting of Parliament on Tuesday that 55 of the 57 MPs of his party – two of them travelling abroad – “are going now to vote, as they gave their word, for Romania’s President’s proposal to the SIE director.”
“UNPR is a consistent party and a serious party that makes good on its promises. On the other hand, we always, but always, respect the ruling coalition, because this is the commonsensical thing to do when you are part of a team. On the other hand, for five years this political project that has brought economic and politic stability to Romania during a tough period is again consistent, because it supports Romania’s President, regardless of his name, now his name is Klaus Iohannis, on defence, public order, national security matters, because he was elected by the Romanian people,” Oprea said, pointing out that “Romanians need now security, stability and seriousness.”
He added that UNPR is a member of a ruling coalition. “As for the rest, we are members in a ruling coalition and it is commonsensical to keep our word. Namely to stay here, in Romania’s Government, a good government that is doing its job to the Romanians,” said Oprea.