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December 1, 2022

Will new political crisis start in Romania?

Since last Thursday, when the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) announced filing charges against Prime Minister Victor Ponta in Turceni – Rovinari file, the situation is more and more troubled on the political scene, and one of the possible scenarios is that the way things have escalated in the last few days unavoidably leads to political crisis.
While the interim leader of the main Government party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea, has announced once again his personal support, as well as that of his party, for Victor Ponta, the Opposition is increasingly vocal against the Prime Minister. The leaders of the National Liberal Party announced that they were to submit a motion of censure to the Parliament on Monday, to cast away “this sick person, who is Ponta”.
While attending the elections conference of PSD Prahova leadership in Ploiesti, on Friday, Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea has described the fact that PM Victor Ponta is officially charged as “a terribly tough situation”. “It is a terribly tough situation because there are major consequences for the party, for Government stability and for the country. We do not discuss, therefore, supporting the mayor of a commune or not. I personally continue to support Victor Ponta”, Liviu Dragnea had declared to journalists before the start of the PSD Prahova conference.

PSD’s Dragnea reiterates political support for Ponta

The Social Democrat leader had declared that his party supported the present Government and that PSD will have discussions both internally, in the party, and in the Governing Coalition about the situation caused by the Prime Minister being officially accused.
Dragnea also declared that, in his opinion, the party will continue supporting Victor Ponta and that Ponta’s situation will be discussed in the Executive Committee next week, although it was summoned with a different purpose.
Liviu Dragnea also considered that an eventual motion of censure submitted by PNL has no chance to pass; he declared that “it is not the motion of censure by PNL that can cause Victor Ponta’s replacement or not”.
Dragnea also declared on Friday, in Ploiesti, answering a question by journalists, that it is no news that PNL wants to submit a motion of censure and that, in his opinion, the motion had no chances to be passed by the Parliament.
Under these circumstances, Dragnea added, an eventual replacement of Ponta in the position of Prime Minister cannot be determined by the motion of censure filed by the Opposition.
“It is their constitutional right. (…) It is not the censure motion by PNL that can cause Victor Ponta’s replacement or not. We will discuss it in the party. But I do not think we can afford starting a political adventure. I think that our colleagues in the coalition support our point of view, too”, Liviu Dragnea declared.
He had also outlined that the party was not seeking a Prime Minister, as “PSD already has a Prime Minister and he is named Victor Ponta.”
Also, the Social Democrat leader declared that PSD is a party “with plenty of resources, so it can never get into an unsolvable situation.”

Liberals to file censure motion on Monday

PNL leaders have announced on Friday, at the end of the Managing College, the decision that Liberal members of the Parliament will submit a motion of censure against the Government on Monday and that they will organize a meeting in Bucharest on the same day. Asked whether he would support a Government led by Gabriel Oprea, that would include PNL, Vasile Blaga declared that the party would support a Government led by Catalin Predoiu as the Liberals’ first option was a PNL minority Government.
“We had achieved a political decision on a highly important topic, not just for PNL but for the entire Romanian society. We have a Prime Minister who was tried for corruption and who refuses to perform a gesture of basic hygiene, that of resigning (…) which would represent, I think, what the national interest demands. (…) PNL has decided today to submit a motion of censure on Monday, on the topic of the lack of credibility of the Ponta Government”, PNL President Alina Gorghiu declared at the end of the Managing College, at Poiana Brasov.
PNL will be tabling its motion of censure on Monday that will be read out at a plenary session of Parliament on September 24, with a vote expected on September 28-29 said Gorghiu, adding that the dates may be changed.

The PNL Co-President has stated that this motion of censure would be, in her opinion, the shortest and most efficient motion of censure filed so far since the Revolution.
Gorghiu also declared that Romania seems to be a state that tolerates corruption if it continues to be led by a Prime Minister facing criminal charges.
According to Gorghiu, the representatives of parties in the Government Coalition are “just as guilty as Victor Ponta”, if they continue to support the Prime Minister.
“Just as guilty as Victor Ponta might be those supporting him inside the Coalition holding the Government, because I have demanded them, yesterday, to step aside from Victor Ponta and to take into account the interests of the country by withdrawing the support they have granted to Ponta”, Gorghiu also declared.

PNL’s Gorghiu on motion of censure: Talks on voting are on

Co-chair of the opposition National Liberal Party Alina Gorghiu on Saturday said at Poina Brasov that talks over voting on the motion of censure to be tabled by PNL on Monday started and will continue into the next week, including with the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR), minor at rule.

“Talks on voting on the motion of censure have started and we will continue them into next week. We will hold them including with UNPR national leader Gabriel Oprea. We are going to meet the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) as well and all the others next week. Until the talks we will have with them, I am counting on the poise and prudence of the two national party leaders Gabriel Oprea and Liviu Dragnea who I guess do not want to stick to this sick man that is PM Ponta and risk all that means peace and balance in Romania in the process,” said Gorghiu.
She added that the talks will be conducted with both the party leaders and each MP individually, hopping that this time is luck.
“We believe that the ball is in Mr. Dragnea’s court, Mr Oprea’s court, and we wait and see what they decide. I do not know what we could do more than urging them to place national interest above party interests or their petty interest in staying in power,” added Gorghiu.

Tariceanu warns: We will enter major political crisis

Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu (photo) labeled as a dangerous initiative the possibility that President Klaus Iohannis may suspended Victor Ponta: “If the President plans to take advantage of this, then he may force the Prime Minister’s resignation one way or another, not necessarily through suspension. He may try that too, but in my opinion it’s a very dangerous initiative,” Tariceanu stated on Saturday evening on B1TV.
“First of all, such an accusation, which of course is not new, is very serious. These accusations have to be weighed when we’re talking about the country’s Premier. This can create a major political crisis,” Tariceanu warned.
“It happened before too for insufficient accusations to be dismissed in court. There has to be a lot of professionalism when we are talking about accusations against the Premier, not because he’s above the law, but a political crisis can be created. We will probably enter a political crisis, undoubtedly there is the need for the current ruling coalition to meet and talk about this problem,” the Senate Speaker added.
The Senate Speaker pointed out that President Iohannis has the right “to suspend a member of Government, but not the Prime Minister,” explaining that the Premier has a different status that distinguishes him among members of the Government.
“If the President plans to take advantage of this he may force the Premier’s resignation, not necessarily through suspension, but it’s a dangerous initiative. Or the President is waiting for the Premier’s reaction. We haven’t had precedents of this kind in Romania, it’s not an easy situation,” Tariceanu said.
Tariceanu also stated that in case the Premier will choose to resign or will be suspended, President Iohannis “should respect the result of the 2012 elections, which is based on USD, on the coalition that is currently ruling: PSD, ALDE and UNPR.” “I find it normal that the President, if he wants to respect the constitutional order, has the obligation to respect the result of the 2012 elections, which gave a majority. This majority is based on the coalition formed by PSD, ALDE and UNPR. We were all elected on the lists of USL, which won the elections. (…) The President has two options: to call on the coalition that won the elections, first of all. And, of course, if this overture can’t have a concrete result he has at his disposal the Constitution which clearly describes the mechanisms that have to be used next,” Tariceanu concluded on B1TV.
At the same time, ever increasing pressure on Ponta to resign is coming from outside the country too. European People’s Party President Joseph Daul asked the Romanian Premier on Friday to step down. A similar call came from Gunther Krichbaum, chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee on the Affairs of the European Union, who stated on Friday for Mediafax that in a democracy an official should resign as soon as he comes to the attention of prosecutors.

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