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October 25, 2021

Will Victor Ponta continue as President of PSD?

Over the last few days when the atmosphere around PSD has been boiling following the self-suspension of Victor Ponta as the leader of the party – after DNA prosecutors had announced the beginning of criminal investigations against him – one very important thing has been ‘forgotten’ or hushed up. No one has said anything on the fact that the PSD Statute does not provide for a position of interim president. This makes the whole situation extremely unclear for Romania’s biggest party and is a derailment from the official act. Therefore, the PSD leaders had to improvise and make al sorts of evasive statements on the subject, preferring to focus on the ‘conflict’ between the two candidates for interim president, Liviu Dragnea and Rovana Plumb, with the matter being only possible to solve by a congress that could not be called and organised yet.

As a matter of fact, Liviu Dragnea himself was saying some days ago that the Statute of the party did not include any such office. ‘The National Executive Committee can discus the temporary allocation of certain duties on a limited term. The president resigning, someone in the party, chosen by the Committee, can take over the duties, but the post as interim president does not exist in the Statute’. Dragnea was saying.

The situation gets even more complicates as Liviu Dragnea had resigned all positions in the party, including the National Standing Bureau, in order for him not to hurt the image of the party because of his issues with justice. Who, by the way, doges the PSD law yet again, as his one year suspended sentence for the fraud with the 2012 referendum was on the brim of violating the Statute of PSD, which says that people convicted of corruption are no longer welcome in the party. Dragnea himself said about the situation that it was a special, temporary solution, and that the Congress would elect a new, fully-fledged leadership.

In fact, the leader of PSD senators and PM Victor Ponta’s father-in-law Ilie Sarbu has raised concerns about the situation of the new interim president. A few days ago, he warned that Liviu Dragnea had no capacity in PSD. ‘Mr. Dragnea is not cited in the Statute, we have no section, nothing clear, he has no position’, he said.

In addition, as if the situation had not been confusing enough, no mention has been made on whether Victor Ponta had genuinely resigned PSD. Not even Ponta said he had resigned his party, he just said he was ‘withdrawing from all positions’ held in the party and continue as a regular member, delegating his duties to Rovana Plumb, the President of the National Council of the party, under the Statute.

So, before the resignation paper of Victor Ponta as head of PSD appears and in the context where the position to which Liviu Dragnea does not actually exist in the Statute, once could consider that Victor Ponta is still the President of PSD and will be until the November Congress. Dragnea holds just a symbolic office and this whole masquerade these past few days was just an opportunity to settle accounts and divide the waters between the local branches and the centre.

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