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January 28, 2022

PMP’s takeover of UNPR sends ripples on Romanian political scene

After Popular Movement Party (PMP) President Traian Basescu and National Union for the Progress of Romania (UNPR) President Valeriu Steriu announced on Tuesday evening that PMP and UNPR will merge, with the former basically absorbing the latter, reactions from the main political actors were not late in coming.

One of the reactions came from former Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea, the founder of UNPR. He stated that he played no role in the merger and that it does not reflect his opinion, adding that he is sorry “that UNPR is vanishing.”

The former UNPR President also claims that he regrets that the party’s new leadership has taken this decision.

“I am sorry that my and many of my colleagues’ work is becoming the dowry of a contextual merger. I would have liked UNPR to walk on its own feet. I know it was difficult, but success never comes through easy solutions,” he stated. Moreover, Gabriel Oprea rejects “the idea of a privileged relationship with Traian Basescu,” an idea launched by PNL.

PNL ironised the PMP-UNPR merger, saying that it does not come as “a surprise” and is simply making official “an informal marriage” between Traian Basescu and Gabriel Oprea, being “a desperate survival gesture” made by the leaders of the two parties.


Alina Gorghiu, PNL: “Basescu no longer keeps parties afloat, he scuttles them”


PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu states that the merger between PMP and UNPR is not a surprise and considers that the two parties will not attain their objective of entering Parliament.

“At this moment, Basescu no longer keeps parties afloat, he scuttles them. It’s natural that, after so many electoral victories he has had throughout his political career, this stage would come too,” Alina Gorghiu stated on RFI.

Regarding a possible post-elections alliance with PMP, the PNL Co-President said that she cannot rule out an option she does not see as being feasible. “I believe that this party will not reach the electoral threshold of 5 percent in order to enter Parliament,” Alina Gorghiu added.

PNL First Vice-President Catalin Predoiu stated he does not condemn the merger between PMP and UNPR but that PNL will analyse within its leadership bodies whether the protocol reached at national level with UNPR remains in force.

Referring to the agreements that PNL reached with UNPR at national level, in order to form majorities within county councils, Catalin Predoiu stated that there will be a discussion within the party in order to analyse whether the Liberals have become Traian Basescu’s allies following the PMP-UNPR merger.

“The moment when PNL’s Co-Presidents negotiated this protocol, having a mandate from the party, the UNPR-PMP merger was not known. (…) Things have to be taken as they are. There will probably be discussions; based on my colleagues’ reactions, they are not very pleased,” Predoiu added.


Codrin Stefanescu, PSD: “Our doors remain open to those who feel they are left-wingers”


PSD’s reaction was somewhat more reserved, however the party maintains its doors open to those UNPR members who feel and think like left-wingers, according to PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu, who considers that Traian Basescu has politically reinvented himself through this move and his next move will be to take PNL by assault, Agerpres informs.

“It’s a very smart move on Traian Basescu’s part. Without doing anything he has won plenty of things – [PMP] has become parliamentary party, has won party headquarters in all counties, party branches, and has taken a first step toward its big merger with PNL. Meaning the next move is to take over the new PNL, with Gorghiu and Blaga and everything. The big loser is Mr. Steriu, who has made a move that is if not bad then at least extremely uninspired and has given Traian Basescu the possibility to re-enter the political game because with a measly 4 percent in local elections Traian Basescu had almost committed political suicide,” Codrin Stefanescu stated according to the aforementioned source.

“For us, the members of PSD, this move is absolutely incomprehensible. We had in UNPR a loyal partner, a partner who was loyal in Parliament and in government, and it remains a mystery how Mr. Steriu introduced them in this totally unfavourable equation. I want to take this opportunity to announce our former UNPR colleagues, who are dissatisfied with this absolutely stupid decision, that our doors remain open to those who feel they are left-wingers, who think like left-wingers and who do not want to make a mockery out of the votes cast by Romanians in 2012 and in the local elections of 2016,” PSD’s Deputy Secretary General said.


Victor Ponta: “Basescu will have an office in the courtyard of the PSD headquarters”


PSD’s ex-premier Victor Ponta commented on Facebook the situation generated by the merger between PMP and UNPR, pointing out that it creates some “extremely amusing” situations since Traian Basescu will have an office in the courtyard of the PSD headquarters in Kiseleff.

“The dance of political offices in Bucharest. Following the latest moves on the political scene, some extremely amusing situations have appeared: by merging with UNPR, Traian Basescu will from now on have an office in the courtyard of the PSD headquarters in Kiseleff,” Vicot Ponta wrote on his Facebook page.


Robert Turcescu: “We are witnessing the birth of a third political pole in Romania”


PMP Vice President Robert Turcescu, who was the party’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall, considers that this political move will lead to the birth of the third political pole in the parliamentary elections, which will play an essential role in forming the government.

“I would say that with today’s move we are witnessing the birth of a third political pole in Romania, a pole that will be more important than we can realise now. Today’s merger first of all offers the chance for the future government to be a right-wing government, especially if we consider that right-wing people do not want experiments and political inventions such as Nicusor Dan’s USR, because this is what it [USR] is, a political invention,” Robert Turcescu stated for stiripesurse.ro.


PMP Buzau President resigns


Ion Marin, acting president of PMP Buzau, announced his resignation on Wednesday, but pointed out he will remain a member of the party.

“My resignation was forwarded to the party’s leadership last week and has nothing to do with the merger between PMP and UNPR,” Ion Marin stated according to Agerpres.

A retired chief police commissioner, Ion Marin was appointed acting president on June 9 and is a municipal councillor.

PMP Buzau won 2.48 percent of the votes in the local elections in June.

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