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April 11, 2021

PM Victor Ponta has “his resignation on the table”, but on one condition

Victor-Ponta-Prime Minister Victor Ponta stated, on Wednesday evening, at private broadcaster B1TV, answering a question, that he would be willing to resign his post only if President Klaus Iohannis guaranteed, through a written political agreement, that the head of the new executive will be also from the current governing coalition.

“Surely yes. If I am convinced and if there is a political agreement that this governing coalition completes its mandate (…) Such a deal can only be made with the President of Romania, but it is available, since December. I have said this,” said Victor Ponta according to Agerpres.

Asked whether President Iohannis would accept such an agreement, Ponta said: “Mr. Iohannis wants his Government, from the PNL [National Liberal Party], from the PDL in fact, because Mr. Predoiu is from the PDL [Democratic Liberal Party; now merged with PNL].”

The Prime Minister said that he has “his resignation on the table”, but on one condition. “Let’s all be fair. That [idea] that the PNL cannot oust me and I should leave myself, forgive me, is laughable… If you can’t, let’s go to elections. I will say again, this coalition has the majority that we checked and checked again in motions [against the Government] and in everything and has the performances that, what do you know, even Mr. Iohannis is invoking and I thank him for this, you’ve seen, in interviews abroad,” Ponta added.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta also said that he did not expect the criticism that President Klaus Iohannis expressed regarding the new Fiscal Code, document that is now with the President for promulgation, and added that the statements of the head of state may represent the opinions of some analysts abroad that consider Romania is going too well in this moment.

“Honestly, no. And now, going further from personal issues, this is a very important matter. The Fiscal Code, in fact, defines a certain economic and budgetary structure for Romania. It did not appear overnight, it was not adopted the day before yesterday, you know, in order for the President to say something about it yesterday or today. It was discussed for over a year, it was in discussion with the World Bank, experts, another half year we discussed with the Coalition for the Development of Romania (…) it was in Parliament, it was unanimously adopted by the budget-finance committee, the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, it was sent for promulgation, it was presented to the European Commission, to the IMF, everywhere, so we are speaking of an extremely important document that has not appeared overnight,” said the Prime Minister at private broadcaster B1TV.

Asked if through his criticism regarding the effects of applying the new Fiscal Code the head of state represented voices in the National Liberal Party (PNL), Ponta said: “No, the PNL voted for this Fiscal Code. I believe in these criticisms he represents, I don’t know, analysts from abroad that are saying ‘this country, Romania, is going a bit too well, let’s…'”.

Ponta added that the main provisions of the new Fiscal Code are known “not only by specialists in economy or analysts”, but by the citizens as well. “I believe every citizen, if you have a poll, knows: ‘the VAT will be lowered from 24pct to 19pct, the excise on fuel will be removed and there will be lower…’ So yes, I was surprised, because if the President had something to say… At one point he actually said it’s a code of theirs, of the PNL, not mine, he said it was a very Liberal code. So he didn’t find out yesterday of the Fiscal Code. (…) It’s not a matter appearing overnight, it is a clear matter,” the Prime Minister said.

Asked of certain European concerns expressed in regards to the effects of applying the new Fiscal Code, Ponta said: “From Romania there is no concern”. Furthermore, with regards to the fact that the National Bank of Romania Governor spoke on Wednesday “moderately” of the new Fiscal Code, Ponta replied “Mr. Isarescu always speaks moderately, he is a moderate man, it’s normal”.

The Prime Minister said that he agrees with the words of the BNR Governor Mugur Isarescu that the macro-economic stability gained by Romania is also reversible. “I totally agree, but the idea is as follows. In a democratic society as Romania should be, I don’t know if it is, I hope it is, an act of such importance that was debated for a year (…) should be stopped now? It seems impossible to explain, I mean…,” said Ponta.

President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday dismissed the idea that the new Tax Code would revolutionize Romania’s finances, pointing out that the manner whereby taxation is curbed requires attention as well, and not just cutting taxes down.


‘The financial-accounting expertise will show that I have paid until the last nickel all taxes’


Victor Ponta has also stated that his hearing at the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) will be possible only after the financial-accounting expertise is done, the prosecutor informing him that it will be ready on August 11.

“A hearing… only after the expertise is done. In the meantime my position regarding the opinions of the prosecutor were submitted in writing. (…) What can we speak of if we do not have the financial-accounting expertise? I asked for one thing, the expertise be done. The prosecutor told me that on August 11 it will be done, we will look at the conclusions,” said Ponta at private broadcaster B1TV.

The Prime Minister said that this expertise was requested by his lawyers and approved by the prosecutor, thanking him for this fact.

“The financial-accounting expertise, I believe, will show that I have paid until the last nickel all taxes. The prosecutor is saying: ‘Sova didn’t pay some taxes – some 30,000 lei and you helped him not pay!’ But I paid them. That is the purpose of the expertise,” said Ponta.

Asked why he did not contest in court the lien placed by the prosecutors on his goods, the Prime Minister answered: “I do not want that. I learned from the press at 10 AM that at 11 AM a lien will be placed on my assets for this pretty low sum, but I had no money to deposit into my account. I have appeared there with the property contract for my apartment – which is only mine and not my wife’s – that costs more than that sum. (…) I came prepared”.

Ponta denied the information carried by the press that he had used his right to silence in front of the prosecutor and stressed that he had been in the prosecutor’s office only for 5 minutes.

“It took me 20 minutes to walk to the prosecutor’s office, because I was in crutches, I stayed there for 5 minutes and it took me another 20 minutes to return”, he said.

The head of the government also said that he asked the prosecutor regarding the possibility of judiciary control being imposed in his case, the prosecutor saying that it was unnecessary.

“I asked the prosecutor [regarding judiciary control] and he said it’s not the case. I don’t think so, we discussed there, I asked, I told him I am leaving on holiday, where, when…”, the Prime Minister said.


‘There is no kind of way to have snap elections’


Prime Minister Victor Ponta also has stated, on Wednesday evening, that he excludes the idea of snap elections being held, given that the MPs will not accept such an idea.

“I’ll admit and I’ll say it straight, for I have many years, already, in politics. There is no kind of way to have snap elections. Those who speak of them know full well it’s a bluff. If a political figure comes and tells you: ‘we’re gonna have snap elections’, he’s lying”, said the Prime Minister at private broadcaster B1TV, asked if snap elections before 2016 are an option.

Ponta added: “The MPs will not agree, of course”. “We’re 580 [MPs] now, right? There’s going to be 300 something or 400 left, there will probably be new MPs too, not only the old ones. No…”, said the Prime Minister.

First deputy chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL), Ludovic Orban stated, on Saturday, that the PNL wants snap elections, mentioning, however, that constitutionally, this type of elections are hard to organize.

PNL co-chairperson Vasile Blaga claimed, on Tuesday, that PM Ponta would “want snap elections as fast as possible, but with him governing”, adding that the Liberals will vote against any Government they are not a part of.


The construction of a mosque in Bucharest was negotiated by “President Traian Basescu in Ankara in 2011’


In the same interview, PM Ponta said that in a discussion with Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church he learned that the Turkish side will provide a land plot in the Phanar district of Istanbul, for a hostel for Christian Orthodox pilgrims to be built in reciprocity to plans to raise a mosque in Bucharest.

“I spoke with His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel. The land plot has been pinpointed and offered to the Romanian Patriarchate under terms of reciprocity,” the Premier told the B1 TV station, asked what the Romanian side would get in exchange for the land plot the Romanian state is making available to the Muslim community for the construction of a mosque in Bucharest.

At the remark that under Turkish law, the Romanian Patriarchate cannot build a church in Istanbul, Ponta replied: “The Patriarch told me they would build a hostel for pilgrims, complete with a chapel, of course.”

Stressing that international relations require tactful, not elephant-in-china-shop action, Ponta reiterated that the Government Resolution on the construction of a mosque in Bucharest was negotiated by “President Traian Basescu in Ankara in 2011 and, I think, again, in 2014.”

“President Erdogan raised the subject this year too, both in talks with me and with Mr. Iohannis. (…) The deal is that the Romanian state doesn’t spend a dime, but makes the land plot available to the Romanian Muslim community, which was acknowledged, if I’m not mistaken, by King Carol I. (…) This will definitely not be the largest mosque in Europe, it cannot outshine the Blue Mosque or the Hagia Sophia, which are located in Europe, despite some ill-informed persons (…) who depict Turkey as an Arab country. It’s a Muslim country, there’s a difference in that. And this is a matter of reciprocity which was discussed by [then] President of Romania, Basescu,” Ponta explained, adding that the subject is hyped up by the political tug of war.


PNL’s Predoiu: ‘It is an unconstitutional proposal’


The National Liberal Party’s (PNL) senior deputy chairman Catalin Predoiu on Thursday called “unconstitutional” an alternative evoked by Prime Minister Victor Ponta regarding his possible resignation from the position, namely the existence of an agreement under which the President of Romania should designate a head of the executive from the current ruling coalition too.
“From a political standpoint, it shows Premier Victor Ponta hasn’t understood a thing from last year’s vote in the presidential elections and from a legal, constitutional standpoint it fully proves the level of knowledge that Premier Victor Ponta, a jurist in fact, has. Therefore, it is an unconstitutional proposal and I do not think it is worth examining it too much. We are taking Victor Ponta too seriously”, Predoiu said in answering a question on this matter during debates on the National Security Strategy held at the Palace of Parliament.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta stated, on Wednesday evening, at private broadcaster B1TV, answering a question, that he would be willing to resign his post only if President Klaus Iohannis guaranteed, through a written political agreement, that the head of the new executive will be also from the current governing coalition.



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