Over 4,000 delegates of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) met on Sunday in an extraordinary Congress to elect its new Permanent National Bureau and also to validate Liviu Dragnea as party chairman, following his overwhelming victory with 97 percent of the votes in the party’s nationwide internal ballot a week before.
The election on Sunday happened a week after Liviu Dragnea had been elected without any thrills as president of his party, with very ambitious plans to reform PSD, determined to generate premiere changes for all parties in Romania. One of Dragnea’s plans is to unstuck from PSD its label of party controlled by barons and corrupt leaders. This is the reason why PSD is already taking important steps towards a rationalized access to top positions.
‘A vice-president may no longer head a county organization, which restricts a lot the operation space for the so-called
All parties in Romania are somewhat captive to local barons and Dragnea, deemed until not long ago, the
The delegates to the congress had to make their choice from the 15 candidates running for the 10 positions of vice-chair reserved to men, and to put their checkmark on four of the six female candidates in the race for the positions reserved to women. The male contenders list was as follows: Andrei Dolineaschi, Mihai Tudose, Victor Negrescu, Georgian Pop, Mihai Fifor, Gabriel Vlase, Ioan Vulpescu, Gheorghe Simon, Mihai Chirica, Viorel Stefan, Nicolae Banicioiu, Mihai Sturzu, Constantin Nita, Marian Catalin Radulescu, Marius Adrian Dobre.
The female candidates were Gabriela Firea, Doina Pana, Aurelia Fedorca, Lia Olguta Vasilescu, Gabriela Cretu, Ecaterina Andronescu.
Chamber of Deputies Speaker Valeriu Zgonea and former Economy minister Constantin Nita competed for the executive chairmanship, but freshly elected party chairman Liviu Dragnea announced on several occasions that he will support Zgonea for this position.
The election of Liviu Dragnea as president of the party as a result of the suffrage on 11 October was validated at the beginning of the congress.
Liviu Dragnea, validated in unanimity by congress as PSD president
The report on the validation of the internal PSD lection last week was read out and approved in unanimity by the delegates to the Social-Democrats’ congress, making Dragnea fully-fledged president of his party.
The report was read out by PSD mp Florin Iordache, Chairman of the Central Electoral Committee of the party.
After the approval of the validation report, Dragnea officially became the President of PSD.
Dragnea: Social-Democrats are reliable and honest people, they are not barons, corrupt or communists
Determined to change the image of the party systematically labelled over the last years as ‘a party of the corrupt’, Liviu Dragnea insisted on saying in the speech given after his validation as president of the party that the Social-Democrats are reliable and honest people and that they are not barons, corrupt or communist.
‘Our party members are reliable honest and responsible people, people who work hard and are respected in their communities.
They are people who care about the party and who fought for it when things were difficult for the party and they are fed up with being told in their face always the same things: barons, corrupt and communist. They are not barons, corrupt or communist and PSD is first of all their party. The vote of the 450,000 members who went to the polls on Sunday meant more than the election of a president, it meant a choice of a new way. To me, the vote on Sunday is a zero moment from where we start rebuilding a new spirit in PSD, an authentic left-wing party, a party that will always put people first. It is time we clearly stated who we are, for whom and for what we do politics’, said Dragnea.
Dragnea to Ponta: All decisions we have made together. Some wishes we could not fulfil
Liviu Dragnea sent Victor Ponta a signal of support on Sunday, denying all latest rumours that he would reshuffle him after the congress. He stressed that, indeed, all the decisions they had made together after 2010, sometimes the objectives had been fulfilled, such as bringing PSD to governance, while other ‘wishes’ could not be fulfilled, but he wants to go until the end.
‘We brought PSD to power. Yes, we are able to initiate a successful no-confidence vote. With you as the prime-minister, we have managed to do a lot of good to Romania. But, Victor, you know that there are some objectives and wishes we had that we have not fulfilled, for now. But you should know that I want to carry on and I want you to be by my side, as I was by your side. I want to thank you for the manner in which you head the Government of Romania (…).
The new leadership of PSD will support with the same strength PSD in the government. (..) With Victor Ponta, of course. But he should want to stay… after that, looking at Victor Ponta, he warned him: ‘You are not to do anything you should not do. We are going to cut you off from Facebook!’ Dragnea said.
The PSD President Liviu Dragnea also said to Victor Ponta, in the beginning of his speech during the PSD congress, that he should remember a night of February 2010 when they talked and set their objectives.
Dragnea said that, ‘indeed, all decisions we have made together’ and most of the objectives set on that February night had been fulfilled. ‘We brought PSD to power. Yes, we are able to initiate a successful no-confidence vote. With you as the prime-minister, we have managed to do a lot of good to Romania. But, Victor, you know that there are some objectives and wishes we could not fulfil’, he told Ponta.
Dragnea also said he wanted to carry on those objectives and invited Ponta to be on his side.
Ponta to Dragnea: All the good decisions we made together. And the bad decisions
Prime-Minister Victor Ponta presented a report on his activity as the president of PSD from 2013 to 2015.
Ponta said on Sunday, at the beginning of the PSD congress, that he would support the new PSD team and thanked Liviu Dragnea for his ‘loyal partnership’ in the previous five years, but told him that they had made all decisions, good and bad, together.
Victor Ponta said it was ‘the biggest honour and joy to me to be the president of PSD’ and that his biggest defeat was the referendum for the dismissal of the president of the country in 2012. The premier said that he would support ‘with all his strength’ the new leadership of the party and thanked Liviu Dragnea for his five-year ‘loyal partnership’.
‘All the good decisions we have made together. And all the bad decisions we have also made together, Liviu’, he said to the PSD president.
Ponta also thanked Ion Iliescu who was in the audience, but also Adrian Nastase, saying he hoped he was watching the TV and that he had never imagined he would ever compete with Nastase for the best government.
Ponta: Dragnea has my prime-minister mandate on the table. Only PSD is able to adopt a no-confidence vote
The PM’s mandate is on Liviu Dragnea’s table and only PSD is able to adopt a no-confidence vote, said Premier Victor Ponta. At the same time, he asked to be let know ‘when it is time’ and noted that he had the strength to be reborn of ashes, like the Phoenix bird.
‘Liviu knows very well since day one that he has my mandate as prime-minister on the table. I am convinced I will use it for all of our sake. For now we are doing well, we have a good government and we can also do so many good things in 2016, too, to show that only PSD-UNPR-ALDE can have a good governance in Romania. This is what I want to do and I hope I have your support’, Ponta told the participants in the PSD congress.
He pointed out that only PSD could adopt a no-confidence vote in Parliament and asked to be told when it is the time.
‘Only PSD can adopt a no-confidence vote, no one else, so please tell me when it is time. Tell me to be ready if that is the case. We can adopt a no-confidence vote, but I am absolutely convinced that, in this formula, the government will perform well’, said the PM.
Although he had previously said he would not run for any position in the party, Victor Ponta suggested he did not exclude such thing in the future.
‘In 2010, I said PSD was like the Phoenix bird. When everybody thinks it’s ashes, it is always reborn. I am a part of PSD. I, too, have the power to be reborn, but only next to you’, Ponta also told the audience.
Dragnea thanks Oprea, ‘a benchmark’ of correctness: With UNPR we can achieve a powerful Left
The PSD President, Liviu Dragnea, thanked Gabriel Oprea on Sunday for his support on the coalition and Government, saying that the UNPR leader was ‘a benchmark’ of correctness and a factor of stability, and PSD and UNPR could be together a powerful left in the new election.
‘I want to thank our partners (…), Gabriel Oprea, a man of his word, a benchmark of correctness and keeping his word, and a factor of stability for any government he is in. Thank you, Gabi’, said Dragnea.
The PSD leader said that the Social-Democrats together with UNPR ‘could form a powerful Left who can participate in election with its head up in front of the Romanians’.
Dragnea also thanked the co-presidents of ALDE, Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Daniel Constantin, ‘for the civilised and collegial manner’ in which they had ruled together. ‘The merits are jointly deserved by all’, said Dragnea.
Oprea: I am happy that UNPR belongs o this government. I congratulate my friend Dragnea
The leader of UNPR, Gabriel Oprea, said during the PSD congress on Sunday that he was ‘proud’ that UNPR belonged to the Ponta Government that had demonstrated its ability to bring economic growth and also congratulated his ‘friend’, Liviu Dragnea, on his election as the leader of the Social-Democrats.
Gabriel Oprea said the Victor Ponta Government had proved ‘responsibility and efficiency’ and that he was happy that UNPR belonged to the team.
In his message to the Social-Democrats participating in the congress, Oprea congratulated Liviu Dragnea on his election as president of PSD, calling him his ‘friend’ and stressing that the fact that he had been elected by all the members of PSD was ‘an extraordinary example’.
Ambassadors of China, Czech Republic and Greece present for PSD congress
Several foreign ambassadors accredited in Bucharest, including the ambassadors of the People’s Republic of China, Czech republic and Greece were present during the PSD congress on Sunday, as well as the leader of the European Socialists and representatives of the European Commission and foreign chancelleries such as the US, Russia, Germany and Great Britain.
The PSD Secretary General, Andrei Dolineaschi, presented, at the beginning of the PSD congress, the list of foreign guests to the Social-Democrats’ event, including three ambassadors: of China, Czech Republic and Greece. Other countries sent representatives of their diplomatic body – the USA, China, Russia, Germany, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece and the Republic of Moldova.
Moreover, according to Mediafax, leaders of the Social-Democratic parties from Europe were invited: the President of the European Socialist Party, Serghei Stanişev, the President of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Mihail Mikov, the President of the Democratic Party from R. Moldova, Marian Lupu, and Dumitru Diacov, the honorary President of the Democratic Party of the Republic of Moldova, Jan Hamacek, Vice-President of the Social-Democratic Party of the Czech republic, Carina Ohlsson, President of the Women’s Organisation of the Social-Democratic Party of Sweden and Kostas Triantafyllos, International Secretary of the PASOK Socialist Party of Greece.
Zgonea defeats Nita, becomes executive chairman
The Chamber of Deputies’ Speaker has won the competition with PSD Brasov chair Constantin Nita for executive chairman office
Out of a total of 4, 050 votes, Valeriu Zgonea received 2,600 votes , Nita only 1,150 votes , while the remaining were annulled.
“By defeating the demons of the past we will be able to choose a new path. Only this way we can get rid of labels that have suffocated for a very long time the life of our party and kept us captive. (…) I am very many times hurt to hear these labels. We are here over 4,000 delegates and I can say it loud and clear: we are tired of these clichés, we are tired of being unjustly called communists. (…) After 25 years, indeed, we have nothing to do with this label. It is only an attack against social democracy, against the only party fighting for social justice, not only for economic growth, an attack of our right-wing opponents,” said Zgonea before the vote.