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March 31, 2023

Troubled waters in the Social Democratic Party: Dragnea convenes PSD’s Executive Committee, says unlikely for him to remain at party helm after local elections

PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Monday, ahead of PSD’s National Standing Bureau meeting, that possible sanctions or party membership revocations will be discussed on Wednesday when the party’s National Executive Committee will be convened.

“All these will be discussed on Wednesday,” Liviu Dragnea stated at the PSD headquarters when asked by journalists whether the Social Democrats will discuss on Monday possible sanctions or party membership revocations.


Dragnea retorts upon dissenters


After he was asked to resign, both from within and without the Social Democrat Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea retorted upon the dissenters at a talk show on Antena 3 channel on Sunday evening. The head of the Social Democrats accused PSD Executive President Valeriu Zgonea of hypocrisy. Zgonea had stated that Dragnea risks compromising the party’s chances in the elections unless he resigns. Likewise, Liviu Dragnea asked the Head of State, who had recommended him to resign because a person convicted to prison in a final sentence cannot lead a large political party, to stay out of PSD’s internal affairs.

Dragnea stated on Sunday evening on Antena 3 that Valeriu Zgonea is starting to be perceived as having an agenda different from that of the party and that it does not even matter anymore whether the Lower Chamber Speaker will resign from PSD because “he is disqualified.”

Dragnea disappointed Zgonea asked him to resign on Facebook and not in a party meeting

On Sunday evening on Antena 3, Dragnea expressed his disappointment with the fact that Zgonea asked him to resign on Facebook, not at the National Executive Committee meeting on Friday (which followed the announcement of the High Court’s sentence in the Referendum Case).

Referring to the fact that Valeriu Zgonea talked on Facebook about principles, the PSD President emphasised that he did not give up on any of the principles he upholds and “for which the party militates,” fundamental human rights, democracy, the right to vote, the right to [legal] defence being among them.

“He has generated some fairly strong reactions against him, because people have understood, I don’t know whether rightly or wrongly, that he has other plans. And what is worse in my point of view is that Vali Zgonea has started to be perceived as having an agenda not necessarily identical to the party’s agenda. Because I’ve read what he wrote on Facebook. First of all, I never made such gestures – to publicly express a point of view about a colleague. I had talks, I had opinions, I expressed them within the National Standing Bureau,” Dragnea stated on Antena 3.

Likewise, the PSD President claimed he was “honestly” surprised by Zgonea’s stance and called on his colleagues to refrain and not respond on Facebook because such issues should be discussed within the party.

“Now, these days, on Friday and the days that followed, when someone, regardless of who he is in the party, has such a reaction, it doesn’t even matter anymore whether he will go through with what he said, that he will resign or not, he is already disqualified for the whole party, or so I suspect, ,” he underscored.

Asked whether the Lower Chamber Speaker will remain member of the party, the Social Democrat leader stated: “We will see.”

“Had I known, had I seen, had I felt on Friday that my departure would have kept the party just as united, just as determined for the campaign, – PSD has the top shot in the elections, this is visible everywhere, considering the confusion the Liberals are in, they are not able to find a candidate –, I would have done it. After the local elections, we will have a discussion in what concerns the advisability of remaining in office. Had I resigned on Friday, PSD would have dropped to 20 percent,” Dragnea argued.


Zgonea, challenged within the party


Two days after the announcement that he is considering resigning from the PSD leadership, Valeriu Zgonea came up with a message for party president Liviu Dragnea: “In PSD (…) a leader is responsible for the political destiny of over half a million souls. On whom he has to impart confidence and hope. Certainly not to burden them with his own problems.”

Zgonea’s Facebook posting on Sunday quickly drew hundreds of comments, some of them from PSD members. Consequently, the Lower Chamber Speaker pointed out: “I do not want the party’s top office. PSD has many capable people that can successfully represent us.”

The PSD First Vice President’s insinuation that Liviu Dragnea should give up his position within the party does not have, for the time being, a great deal of supporters within the party. The PSD Olt and PSD Diaspora branches want to see Valeriu Zgonea kicked out of the party and forced to vacate the office of Lower Chamber Speaker too.

Catalin Radulescu, PSD Diaspora President: “We don’t want to have in our midst persons who are not sympathetic with those who are leading this party. Mr. Zgonea has proved within the Lower Chamber too – by blocking all draft laws on amending the Criminal Code, the incompatibilities, the conflict of interests – that he is not sympathetic to any PSD leader. He was sympathetic with SRI or DNA.”


Zgonea ahead of BPN meeting: I won’t resign


PSD Executive President Valeriu Zgonea stated on Monday, ahead of the National Standing Bureau (BPN) meeting that he will not resign and criticized PSD President Liviu Dragnea again, pointing out that the party needs an upstanding leader.

Valeriu Zgonea added that “the emperor is naked” and the party is heading toward the precipice.

“Today the emperor is naked. PSD is quickly and blindly heading toward the precipice. It is my duty to call a spade a spade. This office, which my colleagues offered to me at a congress meeting, obliges me to stop the party from dying under the burden of some leaders’ problems. It is my duty to say what I believe and feel. Nobody can force me, prevent me from having this belief. For the more than 20 years since I’m in the party,” Valeriu Zgonea stated ahead of the BPN meeting.

He added that he does not plan to resign from the offices held and he leaves his colleagues to decide whether to withdraw their political support for him or not. “I didn’t elect myself executive president or Lower Chamber Speaker. I was elected at a congress meeting and then within the Lower Chamber plenum. My principles and values corresponded back then with the principles and values of PSD. If today they no longer do, it is my colleagues’ duty to take a decision. That is why I will respect their decision, so that they could decide what they have to do and who has to be executive president or Lower Chamber Speaker,” the PSD Executive President added.

Zgonea insisted that Liviu Dragnea’s problems could affect PSD’s local elections candidates and added that there are plenty of honest and fair party members who can hold leadership ad interim. “We mustn’t leave those who are running for office today under the burden of their leaders’ problems. It is our duty, as a modern Social Democrat party, unless we want to remain a party with a single voice – praise the beloved leader.”

Zgonea avoided giving a clear answer as to whether he intends to take over the party’s leadership.

“I know my limits very well. I believe there are plenty of honest and fair people who can modernise this party and who can ensure its leadership ad interim. We will win the local elections, but PSD has to be led by upstanding, decent and responsible people. This is what being a leader means. When you have 500,000 people on whom you have to impart hope and confidence, (…) you have a certain responsibility. You cannot transfer your responsibility on the shoulders of the others,” the Social Democrat leader concluded.


Dragnea: “I find it odd for the President of Romania to ask a party leader to resign”


National leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea says President Klaus Iohannis called him on Friday around 19:00hrs to ask him to resign as president of PSD.

“He called me; it is not the first time he called me, we have certainly communicated over the past months. We communicated, we met, which is no crime. He called me on Friday, around 19:00hrs as I was driving, but to avoid any other problem when he called, I told him to wait, I stopped the car, I got out and talked to avoid talking on the phone while driving. What he told me is that he is personally sorry but I should resign so as not the affect Romania’s image. I believe that, unknowingly, he got into an almost unconstitutional area because, whether we like it or not, the truth is a party is an organisation where several people, beyond public policies and a common vision they share, beyond doctrine and values, pursues political interests that are very much legitimate. All parties have the right to decide on their own leadership, which is natural. I find it odd for the President of Romania to ask a party leader to resign. I have not asked Mr President Iohannis to resign,” Dragnea told Antena 3 private broadcaster on Sunday evening.

Asked whether he considers suspending President Iohannis, Dragnea answered in the negative.

Dragnea also said he could see no more reason why he would cooperate with the President, adding that he did not expect the head of state to do what he did.


Dragnea invokes the leader’s loneliness, says he cannot harm the party


PSD President Liviu Dragnea said on Monday that it is “highly unlikely” for him to remain the leader of the party after the June 5 local elections, stating that the party’s modernisation and winning the elections are the objectives that “are still” keeping him in office.

At a press conference, Liviu Dragnea was asked whether he will remain the party’s leader after the local elections.

“Highly unlikely! Highly unlikely, but there are several objectives I have and I am interested to see taking place, namely the modernisation of the party – which is ongoing, but I do not have the style of other politicians who make a media show out of every undertaking – but also preparing a new generation of party leaders that would take over in 2017. Likewise, winning local and parliamentary elections. These two objectives are the ones that are still keeping me in this office,” Liviu Dragnea stated.

He was asked whether he will resign.

“I said it is highly unlikely for me to want to carry on after local elections. You can translate that however you wish. I said highly unlikely and I am very honest,” the Social Democrats’ leader concluded.

Dragnea stated on Sunday evening on Antena 3 that he asked himself to resign after finding out the sentence, but he cannot harm PSD and the country, Mediafax informs.

“I asked myself to resign when hearing the sentence,” Dragnea said.

Invoking “the leader’s loneliness” and the fact that he would have stood to suffer greatly on a personal, political and administrative plane as head of PSD, he claimed that he cannot harm the party and the country.

At the same time, Dragnea emphasised that his resignation would have generated “a huge scandal” over power within the party, which would have lasted a long time and would have meant handing over the elections on a silver platter and Romania no longer being “an oasis of stability.”

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