Social-Democrats are not ruling out forming a parliamentary majority with UDMR. Moreover, PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Sunday that the PNL-UNPR negotiations are meant only to favour UNPR President Valeriu Steriu and another “two or three” party members, while many UNPR MPs are dissatisfied. “There are already many UNPR MPs who are not satisfied with UNPR’s sudden switch to the PNL camp and are not willing to follow this path and they probably want to remain in the left wing area. I don’t know whether they will join us or leave UNPR, but they nevertheless want to continue voting the way they have voted so far, these are people who cannot switch from the Left to the Right overnight. I haven’t made this tally, because it’s not very important, but if it happens it will probably be visible in the following days. There may be a quarter, half, none or very many of them,” the PSD President added.
“I’m saying most of them are very angry except two or three – Mr. Steriu and two or three other persons close to him – for whom the negotiations actually took place, for the others it’s a great trick. And in what concerns the others, the talk within PNL is that they will in fact be tricked, because nobody will give them 18 or 20 places on the party ticket. They will secure two or three places for those for whom they have negotiated and that’s it,” he added, Agerpres informs.
“PSD will eventually continue to struggle on its own in these parliamentary elections. We will no longer offer places on the party ticket because there’s no longer anyone to offer them to,” the PSD President added.
Asked who is he banking on, he said “one hundred percent on ALDE.”
“I’ve lately seen that UDMR has backed the important draft laws too; a great part of the non-affiliated MPs, a great part of the national minority MPs, probably a significant part of UNPR MPs too will vote in favour of the important legislative initiatives. I believe we won’t lose the majority in Parliament,” Dragnea said on Romania TV.
He added that he has talked with UDMR leaders lately. “We have talked, there have been important draft laws and we have found very many points in common,” Dragnea said.
Likewise, when asked whether he could form a majority with UDMR, the PSD leader said: “It’s not ruled out.”
Dragnea emphasised that there are already many UNPR MPs dissatisfied with the negotiations with PNL.
“Many UNPR MPs are already saying that they are not satisfied with UNPR’s sudden switch to PNL’s camp and are not willing to follow this path and they probably want to remain in the left wing area. I don’t know whether they will join us or leave UNPR, but they nevertheless want to continue voting the way they have voted so far, these are people who cannot switch from the Left to the Right overnight. I haven’t made this tally, because it’s not very important, but if it happens it will probably be visible in the following days. There may be a quarter, half, none or very many of them. I’m saying most of them are very angry except two or three – Mr. Steriu and two or three other persons close to him – for whom the negotiations actually took place, for the others it’s a great trick. And in what concerns the others, the talk within PNL is that they will in fact be tricked, because nobody will give them 18 or 20 places on the party ticket. They will secure two or three places for those for whom they have negotiated and that’s it,” the PSD President said.
Dragnea on PNL-UNPR merger: “I don’t understand what their grand plan is”
According to him, after the merger those who are now members of UNPR will become members of PNL and will submit to the rules and decisions of that party, which entails the risk that a party branch could decide that a different candidate should be on the party ticket.
“Honestly, I don’t understand what their grand plan is, I’ve talked to many of them. What platform – to trip PSD? (…) I’ve also heard about talks with PSRO, a “large”, “serious” and “strong” party. From what I have heard, the talks have ended, they are about to officially announce them. Now let’s see who, how many will follow the UNPR leader’s decision to go with PNL. This is their business. I’ve even heard a very interesting expression coming from a so-called political leader: to trip PSD. As a political leader with national-level pretention, you cannot use these expressions. (…) All kinds of rumours have appeared that there are allegedly plans concocted in who knows what palace, in a laboratory. We are allying with people. If this is a plan from Cotroceni, I’m fairly disappointed, it’s a silly plan, a children’s plan. How do you destroy PSD by allying with Geoana’s PSRO and UNPR?” the PSD President added.
What happens to integrity criteria?
Liberals saw the alliance with UNPR as a necessity in view of the parliamentary elections, however the merger’s big problem consists of the Liberal integrity criteria that the party’s leadership wants to use to get rid of UNPR members with legal problems, such as Gabriel Oprea, Neculai Ontanu and Serban Mihailescu.
However, the instrument with which the Liberals have tried to mend their image, damaged by the DNA, has boomeranged in their negotiations with UNPR, since UNPR has many MPs and local officials that do not meet the criteria so much invoked by the Liberals and who are already feeling excluded from the big game. Some of them have already told Steriu and those close to him that they will not sign in favour of the merger with PNL and that they would rather turn toward PSD, either by joining that party or by collaborating with PSD’s local representatives in order not to lose the terms they have won in the recent local elections, Stiripesurse.ro shows.
In these conditions, Steriu cannot offer the Liberals guarantees that the whole party will follow him, least of all the small number of local officials that the Liberals are counting on in order to form majorities in some county councils such as those in Caras Severin, Maramures and Timis counties. Former UNPR President Gabriel Oprea is among those who are opposing the merger and are encouraging UNPR members to switch parties, according to party sources quoted by the aforementioned source. 12 UNPR MPs have recently been recruited by Dragnea’s people, a worrisome development for the Liberals. Steriu now only has 42-43 MPs and Dragnea is showing no signs of putting an end to this recruitment policy.
Victor Ponta: I am worried about PSD
Ex-Premier Victor Ponta, currently PSD Lower Chamber lawmaker, wrote on Facebook on Monday that he does not understand who benefits from the “marriage” between PNL and UNPR but that it is useful for “anti-establishment movements.”
“I am unable to understand who benefits from the “marriage” between PNL and UNPR and why. At most, it serves anti-establishment movements who thus receive a new argument to use against all parties and all politicians and will raise the general distrust in the current system,” Ponta wrote.
Likewise, the Social Democrat pointed out he is happy for PNL – which he called “a party in dissolution because of a suicidal leadership that lacks honour, principles, ideology and vision” – for its merger with UNPR, a party which he called “a left-wing party with red banners and former PSD members as leaders.” The move, according to the ex-premier, “will aggravate the disgust and disappointment of its own voters and will consolidate the electoral disaster foreshadowed for next autumn.”
Moreover, Ponta also wrote that he feels sorry for UNPR because it has “lots of valuable people” who “will now rapidly disappear within a loser PNL.”
Ponta also wrote that he is worried about PSD and happy for ALDE, the latter having showed “consistency and patience” and having become “an indispensable actor both for the Liberal electorate (disappointed with PNL) as well as for PSD (which no longer has another compatible and credible ally apart from ALDE).”
Catalin Predoiu: “We have to know what our electorate wants, especially the disappointed voters”
PNL’s Catalin Predoiu stated that PNL’s possible merger with UNPR is “technically complicated and costly from a PR standpoint.” The PNL First Vice President added that in this situation PNL’s integrity criteria, platforms and doctrines cannot be eluded.
“At first glance I find it technically complicated and costly from a PR standpoint. PNL cannot give up on the integrity criteria. Meaning we cannot be actors in the “Florea leaves so Ontanu can come” or “Scripcaru leaves so Oprea can come” dramas. If there is a possibility for PNL to become stronger, it has to be carefully assessed. There is also the problem of platforms and doctrines,” the PNL Vice President stated on Monday for Mediafax. Predoiu also made an analogy with business mergers, where a SWOT analysis is necessary when companies “mull” resorting to this kind of operation.
“We have to know what our electorate wants, especially the disappointed voters. I wouldn’t draw hasty conclusions. The Co-Presidents have a mandate to negotiate, let’s respect it. They will come at the BPN [the party’s National Political Bureau] and we will discuss, analyse, eventually decide,” PNL First Vice President Catalin Predoiu added.