*Presidential Administration: Obviously the President does not get involved in negotiations between parties
PSD leaders met on Thursday in Targoviste at the party’s National Executive Committee (CExN) meeting at Valahia University’s Conference Centre. The meeting focused on a review of the first semester. The meeting took place right on the day when county council majorities were established and the Social Democrats based their calculations on the results obtained.
Obviously, another topic intensely debated was the more than tense relationship with UNPR, considering that the Social Democrats accused them of betrayal after UNPR negotiated an alliance with PNL despite having a collaboration protocol with PSD. On this occasion, PSD President Liviu Dragnea (photo) stated that an UNPR lawmaker told him that UNPR’s Gabriel Oprea and Valeriu Steriu went to the Presidential Palace in order to discuss with President Iohannis the PNL-UNPR merger.
“Immediately after the elections, Mr. Steriu and, from what I understand, Mr. Oprea too had a meeting with PNL without telling us that they would like to join PNL and before hearing our counter-offer. A Senator who has joined our party – he said he did not want to join PNL – has told us that Mr. Oprea told them that he talked about this with Mr. Iohannis too. If this information turns out to be true, I find it to be very grave. I believe Mr. Oprea and Mr. Steriu and Mr. Iohannis should clarify whether they had talks on this topic, because this would be the President’s unconstitutional involvement in the party’s life,” Dragnea said.
Asked whether he will ask for the impeachment of the President in this context, Dragnea said this could be only a joke or a lie.
“But it’s a rumour and it has to be clarified. PSD remains open to a merger with UNPR. (…) If Mr. Oprea did not tell the truth, he has to come out and say so; if he told the truth, he, Mr. Steriu and Mr. Iohannis have to take responsibility. We are not recruiting [lawmakers], we simply have an open door policy. The only problem is that we temporised it a bit, in order to have time to draft the paperwork. We are minding our activity; at the National Executive Committee we are setting the summer schedule, we are getting to work and if they ever decide to talk about merger we will talk without any kind of arrogance,” the PSD President stated at the start of PSD’s CExN meeting.
He also stated that PSD “has a very good relationship with ALDE” and “with many other parties.”
“If they haven’t yet signed the paperwork before the notary public, if they come with a proper attitude, PSD remains open to a merger with UNPR. After the merger each party branch will decide who will be its candidates. You don’t start merger talks with any party with a number of seats as a tabled condition. My colleagues agree.”
Following the June 5 local elections, the Social Democrats managed to take the leadership of 30 counties, including the Bucharest municipality. In 14 counties, including Bucharest, they managed to form a majority on their own, while in 16 counties they formed it alongside PMP, ALDE and UDMR. With PMP, a party led by Traian Basescu, PSD formed the majority in no less than 6 county councils (in Constanta, Prahova, Neamt, Caras Severin, Timis and Maramures counties). With ALDE, Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s party, the Social Democrats formed majorities in 7 county councils (in Bacau, Braila, Galati, Gorj, Iasi, Tulcea and Valcea counties) and in Bucharest. In 3 other counties, PSD formed the majority alongside UDMR (Bihor, Mures and Salaj), ceding the county council chairman positions to UDMR in two of them in order for UDMR not to form a majority with PNL.
The PSD-UNPR relationship entered a rough patch after Valeriu Steriu’s party started negotiating an alliance or merger with PNL. The Social-Democrats left UNPR in off-side in 3 counties where they had almost formed majorities (Caras Severin, Maramures and Timis), PSD choosing instead to form alliances with Traian Basescu’s PMP.
Likewise, Liviu Dragnea’s party has recruited no fewer than 15 UNPR lawmakers in just two days’ time: 10 Senators, 4 Lower Chamber MPs and 1 MEP.
Another topic on the agenda of the meeting in Targoviste was the relationship with the Ciolos Government, according to Stiripesurse.ro. The aforementioned source points out that the Social Democrats have lately been very critical of the Government, starting by threatening to topple it with a censure motion, continuing by adopting a simple motion against the Agriculture Minister, by limiting the Government’s prerogatives during the Parliamentary recess and culminating with Liviu Dragnea’s demand for Dacian Ciolos to sack the Justice Minister and the Agriculture Minister.
At noon, before the meeting, PSD leaders attended the inauguration of the Targoviste Swimming Centre, a project that started in 2012 and was finalised this year. The construction cost EUR 19.5 M. Of that, the local council covered EUR 7.2 M while EUR 7.2 M came from European grants.
UNPR President Valeriu Steriu: “Allegations about my presence at Cotroceni are like Radio Yerevan jokes”
Soon after Liviu Dragnea’s statements, UNPR President Valeriu Steriu denied that the negotiations with PNL were allegedly concluded at a meeting with President Iohannis.
“The allegations about my presence at Cotroceni are like the Radio Yerevan jokes. Truth is I was at Cotroceni, but not to negotiate. Truth is I was not alone at Cotroceni; however, I was not accompanied by Gabriel Oprea but by Liviu Dragnea, Vasile Blaga and Alina Gorghiu, when all political party presidents took part in the [President’s] consultations with political parties on the Brexit topic,” Valeriu Steriu wrote on Facebook.
Series of resignations
Ovidiu Portariuc, acting president of PSD’s Botosani county branch, filed his resignation at the party’s Executive Committee meeting in Targoviste, according to Botosaneanul.ro. At the meeting, PSD President Liviu Dragnea analysed the cases of local party branches that lost to PNL. That was the case of the Botosani City Hall, the only city hall that the Social Democrats lost. PSD won the county council chairman position and has a majority within the local council and county council, but lost the county seat’s city hall. Thus, Portariuc resigned after failing to attain the party’s local elections targets. He will remain president of the Botosani municipal branch. Senator Doina Federovici will take over as president of PSD’s Botosani county branch. Six other party branch leaders resigned, including the leader of PSD Suceava, the aforementioned source added.
Presidency: Such an overture is below the President’s level
The presidency reacted on Thursday to the statements made by PSD President, pointing out that “it is below the President’s level.” “Obviously the President does not get involved in negotiations between parties. Such an overture is below the President’s level!” the Presidency pointed out, stiripesurse.ro informs.
PNL: Blatant lie
The Liberals reacted to Dragnea’s statements too.
“The statements made by Liviu Dragnea, PSD’s convicted president, regarding a discussion of a so-called merger between PNL and UNPR, a discussion that allegedly took place at the Cotroceni Palace, are tendentious and based on false information and the purpose of PSD’s convicted president’s public dissemination of this so-called information is to generate moral confusion, tabloidization and deliberate degradation of values in Romanian society,” reads a communique issued by the Liberals who considered that they had to react to “his blatant lie.”