Ponta avoids pointing out whether he will accept the office or not
PSD’s group within the Lower Chamber unanimously decided on Tuesday to present within the Lower Chamber’s Standing Bureau the request concerning Valeriu Zgonea’s removal from the office of Speaker of the Lower Chamber, Lower Chamber Quaestor Marian Neacsu announced.
He stated that the possible replacement was not an issue discussed by the Social Democrats at their group meeting. “Before discussing about a possible replacement we have to have a political decision within the National Standing Bureau,” Neacsu explained.
Zgonea: Ponta had great results where he was. Anyone can accede to the office of Lower Chamber Speaker
Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea stated on Tuesday, against the backdrop of rumours that presented Victor Ponta as the future nomination for the office, that the ex-Premier led a high-performing Government and has the right to accede to this office, bearing in mind that the presumption of innocence is valid in his case.
“Victor Ponta was PSD President. He was nominated by the President for the office of Prime Minister then elected by the Romanian Parliament for the office of Prime Minister. A high-performing Government, as seen in figures, in national and international statistics, but also in every Romanian’s daily life. He had good results where he was. Apart from that, I cannot comment. It’s the right of every member of the Lower Chamber to accede to this office of Speaker of the Lower Chamber,” Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea stated when asked for his comment on the possibility that Victor Ponta could be nominated Lower Chamber Speaker.
Asked how a person arraigned can hold the state’s third highest office, Valeriu Zgonea emphasised that in the absence of a final court ruling the presumption of innocence operates.
“I explained to President Dragnea and the members of the Executive Committee that in democratic Romania the presumption of innocence is operational for each of us. Before you have a final court ruling any person is considered innocent and defends in court, not in Parliament, not within a political party,” Zgonea added.
Ponta maintains suspense on whether he will accept the office of Lower Chamber Speaker or not
Social Democrat Lower Chamber MP Victor Ponta avoids pointing out whether he will accept the office of Lower Chamber Speaker or not, pointing out only that he talked with PSD President Liviu Dragnea “about everything that is good for PSD.”
“Let’s… Let’s not ruin your surprises today. We will see what other minister resigns today and then we’ll talk about other things too. We will discuss and we will take decisions jointly. Wise decisions. Yes, I’ve talked with Liviu. I’ve talked with Liviu about everything that is good for PSD and for our voters, USL’s voters. I support all the candidates of PSD and ALDE,” Ponta stated at the end of the meeting held by PSD’s group within the Lower Chamber, a meeting in which it was unanimously decided to present the Standing Bureau with the request to have Valeriu Zgonea removed from the office of Lower Chamber Speaker.
Asked whether it would be good for PSD for him to be Lower Chamber Speaker, Ponta pointed out that “this is for PSD to decide.” He launched another attack against President Klaus Iohannis.
“I’m not ‘PSD’ to talk. I’ll go and see what other minister will resign from “My Government” today, until Mr. Iohannis is [the only one] left… Did you see the Jungle Book with King Louie, when everything was collapsing all around and only he was left standing, holding a column? Only Mr. Iohannis will be left with ‘his government,’” the ex-Premier sarcastically stated.
Dragnea: Sentimentally and pragmatically, I would like Ponta to become Lower Chamber Speaker
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Monday evening that “sentimentally and pragmatically” he would like Victor Ponta to become Lower Chamber Speaker and for them to jointly take part in the electioneering, pointing out that he will meet the ex-premier in order to discuss “this and other things too.”
“Sentimentally and pragmatically, I would like Victor Ponta to become Lower Chamber Speaker and for us to jointly take part in the elections campaign, just as we did so many years. (…) I recently agreed with Victor to meet after Easter and to discuss this and other things too, because the Lower Chamber office is not important in itself, we have to discuss several things, about his re-engagement with the party, because we need him, he needs us and Romania needs the re-establishment of the team the two of us form. I will meet Victor and we will talk,” Liviu Dragnea stated on Romania TV.
The PSD President added that this is a larger discussion that concerns maximising the chances in the local and parliamentary elections. “PSD has the top shot, that is also why some things are happening, and we will jointly come up with a fair, honest plan in order for PSD not to lose its chances in these elections,” Liviu Dragnea added.
PSD is yet to convene its National Standing Bureau
Last week, immediately after Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea had his party membership revoked, Liviu Dragnea stated that Zgonea’s successor in the office of Lower Chamber Speaker would be the topic discussed at the first meeting of PSD’s Standing Bureau after Easter, adding that he did not propose Victor Ponta as the replacement despite the fact that he met him before the party’s Executive Committee meeting.
“At the first National Standing Bureau [meeting] we will take a decision concerning the successor at the Lower Chamber, given the fact that it [the office] is being vacated,” Liviu Dragnea said. He added that theoretically and naturally the office of Speaker of the Lower Chamber will be vacated, but there are parliamentary procedures when it comes to revoking Valeriu Zgonea.
Asked whether he has presented Victor Ponta the proposition to become Speaker of the Lower Chamber, Dragnea answered: “I haven’t presented Victor Ponta the proposition to become Speaker of the Lower Chamber.”
The PSD President added that the nomination for Valeriu Zgonea’s replacement at the Lower Chamber was not discussed at the National Executive Committee meeting.
Asked whether Victor Ponta is an option, Dragnea ironically stated: “Mr. Victor Ponta is prepared for very many offices, for all offices. I will express my point of view at the National Standing Bureau. It’s not an easy decision, it has to be weighed very carefully. The opinion of the parliamentary group from the Lower Chamber matters a lot too.”
The PSD leader pointed out that he talked with Victor Ponta on Tuesday, the ex-premier assuring him of his entire support. Victor Ponta did not attend PSD’s Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday, being in Istanbul.
Alina Gorghiu: Situation within PSD, bleaker than the weather outside
It is impossible for the National Liberal Party (PNL) to have institutional relations with the Social Democrat Party (PSD), PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu stated on RFI. She claims that any PNL MP is “far above the nomination PSD will come up with, regardless of what that nomination is,” for the office of Lower Chamber Speaker, an office that Valeriu Zgonea will vacate following the recent revocation of his PSD membership.
“Why does Victor Ponta want Valeriu Zgonea’s place? Because from the position of Lower Chamber Speaker he could more easily control the Parliamentary immunity lifting procedures. Whomever PSD will nominate for this office, in case Zgonea is removed from office, the nominee will have to meet one condition: should have if not a conviction then at least a criminal file or should be a supporter of the anti-judiciary platform. In fact, PSD’s stake related to the Lower Chamber Speaker office is to create a political situation through which it would block the fight against corruption and would help those who are currently investigated get off scot-free,” the PNL Co-President wrote on Facebook.
Alina Gorghiu also stated on RFI that “we are in an unprecedented political context because of the situation within PSD, which is bleaker than the weather outside. The problem is not the revocation of Mr. Zgonea, who is still Lower Chamber Speaker, the problem is the situation within PSD itself. (…) PSD maintains at its helm some persons, a president, a secretary general and many other leaders that will run in the local elections, who either are convicted in final court decisions or have legal problems. Against this backdrop, it’s obvious that the only reform measure they thought necessary to take is to revoke Valeriu Zgonea’s party membership on his first free expression of opinion within the party and consequently to revoke him from the office of Speaker of the Lower Chamber.”
The PNL Co-President stated that her party can no longer have institutional relations with PSD: “At this moment it is impossible to raise the issue of having institutional relations with PSD, as long as this party manages to form anti-judiciary, anti-commonsense, anti-democracy unanimities at both parliamentary level and in absolutely any kind of other settings.”
Asked whether PNL will vote in favour of revoking Valeriu Zgonea and whether the Liberal party will have its own nomination for the office of Lower Chamber Speaker, Alina Gorghiu answered: “We haven’t discussed, within the party, what will happen next, because it’s natural to discuss this the moment the procedure is started. (…) Any one of my lawmaker colleagues is at this moment far above the nomination PSD will come up with, regardless of what that nomination is.”