Liviu Dragnea announced on Sunday in Alexandria his candidacy for the position of Social Democrat Party (PSD) President, pointing out that it was not easy for him to take this decision. Having a single contender and enjoying the backing of most local party branches, Liviu Dragnea made the official announcement at the Extraordinary Conference of PSD Teleorman, a party branch he leads. According to the party’s statute, Liviu Dragnea had to obtain the official endorsement of the party branch he is a member of. PSD Teleorman officially offered its endorsement on Sunday.
Dragnea pointed out in the opening of his speech that it was not easy for him to take this decision, for several reasons, adding that this candidacy represents a risk for him, referring to the suspended prison sentence he received in the “Referendum” case. He stated he takes the risk because he wants PSD to become a factor of stability in political life:
“I want to inform you that I’ve decided to run for the presidency of PSD and I hope that at the end of the speech, when the vote will be called, I will have your support. (…) I admit the decision was not easy to take, for several reasons. Some say this decision can be a risk for me. I take this risk because there is the need for PSD to become what I am convinced a lot of Romanians want it to be – a factor of stability in Romanian political life, a factor of progress for Romania,” Dragnea said before the PSD Teleorman branch.
“I don’t know whether they can have the guarantee that their families can live at peace, that they can develop. Children need to learn within a stable education system, not one that changes every time a new minister comes. Each minister believes he has to reform the education system when he comes. I didn’t learn the idea of a left wing from books, I learned it here, in this county. We have all done mistakes. I did too when I held offices within this county. Here I learned how beautiful it can be for a politician to help and how ugly it is for him to see citizens as a mass of maneuver he uses and tricks every four years. Something more important that I learned here is that you cannot lie, in politics you cannot lie hoping it won’t be discovered. Who doesn’t know this is living for naught within this system,” Liviu Dragnea added.
“There are many members I am not pleased with and whom I know, others that the branches know. This happens in all parties, but I would like us to be the first party in which this problem is solved. I didn’t want to have PSD leaders by my side today. There were many who wanted to come, but I asked them not to. I wanted this discussion to be just between me and the branch I respect. At this moment I am backed by 36 county branches. To be more precise, only two branches do not support me, namely the Prahova branch and the Bucharest branch, with the mention that in Bucharest I have the backing of 5 out of the 6 districts,” Dragnea said when leaving the party branch headquarters where he announced his candidacy.
“I hope Victor (Ponta) will vote for me”
PSD Interim President Liviu Dragnea stated on Sunday in Alexandria that he hopes Victor Ponta will vote for him in the party’s internal elections and stated that he has already received assurances that the Premier supports him, a fact that means “a lot” to him.
“I now hope that Victor will vote for me. He told me he supports me and he hopes I will succeed in this project and that he, just as others, will be by my side and I have to admit his position means a lot for me,” Dragnea said. The PSD Interim President pointed out that he accomplished a lot of things alongside Victor Ponta and they stood side by side for many years.
The Extraordinary Conference of the Teleorman County Branch voted to support Liviu Dragnea’s bid for the presidency of PSD, the procedure being a mere formality.
The PSD President will be elected through universal ballots, all PSD members being set to vote on October 11.
Dragnea’s only contender in the October 11 elections is Senator Daniel Savu, after Robert Negoita and Serban Nicolae bowed out of the race.
This is the first time when Social Democrats use this system in order to elect their party leader. Approximately 500,000 party members are expected to cast their ballots. PSD’s local branches will organize voting centers in every village, commune and city in which there are officially registered party members. The voting centers will be located at the party headquarters or within mayoralties and community halls in the localities in which local authorities will allow this. If such arrangements are not possible, the regulations stipulate that the voting centers can be opened in the homes of the heads of local party branches.
This system replaces the traditional system based on which the party president was elected through votes cast at the party congress by the delegates of county branches. Thus, the PSD branches’ decisions to support one candidate or another now have the role of recommendations for PSD members.
After the PSD president is elected, on October 11, a Congress meeting will be organized on October 18, one in which the holders of the rest of the party’s leadership positions, namely the Executive President and Vice Presidents, as well as other positions, such Secretaries, will be elected.
Iliescu on PSD Congress: I do not see how all members could vote. Ceausescu started a system of this kind
The honorary President of the Social Democrat Party (PSD), Ion Iliescu is discontent with the way the party intends to elect their new leadership. He declared on Friday that he does not see how the system of general ballot by all members of the party for electing the new President of the party could be technically applied, and stated that Nicolae Ceausescu had also attempted at one time a “general headcount” to be voted by all Romanians.
“I do not see how all members could vote. The practice of all parties all over the world and throughout our history, and the reason Congresses are held, is because members delegate certain people by appointing them and there, in the Congress, these delegates discuss and decide. This system had been started once by Ceausescu, who had created some kind of a national headcount so that every village and city dweller could vote for Comrade Ceausescu. So, I am unaware how could you do that practically, technically”, Ion Iliescu declared asked why PSD leaders were unhappy about the new ballot system.
The honorary President of PSD also mentioned that he did not have any discussions with party leaders on this topic.
On the other hand, Iliescu says, he is most likely to attend the Congress, due on October 18.
Dragnea dismisses Iliescu’s theory
PSD Interim President Liviu Dragnea stated on Sunday in Alexandria, following Iliescu’s criticism of the way the PSD Congress will be organized, that the party’s system is ultra-democratic.
“I don’t know what Ceausescu wanted because I didn’t know him very well and I can’t say. Apart from what one person or another wants, we have a Statute stipulation that is mandatory, we can organize party elections only based on what the Statute says. Likewise, I noted with great satisfaction in the last three weeks, based on talks with several organizations, that simple party members want to elect their president, want to be the ones to decide. It’s not a communist system, it can’t be, in my opinion it is an ultra-democratic system, I find it to be an exercise of maximum democracy, there is no other to surpass it,” Dragnea stated after announcing his candidacy for the PSD leadership.
Last week the interim president also rejected criticism coming from members such as Robert Negoita and Serban Nicolae, criticism according to which the current statute favors the party’s interim president. “If you or anybody else believes that I built a statute that would favor me, a person that has no chance within the party, honestly you determine me to go out on Facebook and make a very interesting statement,” Dragnea added the other days.
One of the Social-Democrats that had announced the intention to run for president in the party, PSD Senator Serban Nicolae, gave up his candidacy and sent a critical letter to PSD leadership, accusing them that the organization of the Congress was “deeply viced” and demanding that the whole procedure would be stopped.
Serban Nicolae sent a letter to PSD management claiming that the new regulation establishing the election of the party president is not transparent and fails to provide candidates a chance to present their vision concerning the party. Under these circumstances, there is no chance for genuine competition, Serban Nicolae accused, according to Social-Democrat sources. Moreover, the Senator claimed that the entire procedure for organizing the Congress was “deeply viced” and, out of this reason, he had to drop his candidacy. He demanded the party to cease procedure based on present regulations and to return to the previous manner of electing party leaders.