The Social Democrats met in a luxury Danube Delta resort on Wednesday evening in order to settle several hot topics and decisions concerning the elections campaign. One of them consisted of adopting a waiver from the party’s Ethics Code in order for ex-Premier Victor Ponta to be able to run for a new seat in Parliament.
According to some sources, the members of PSD’s Executive Committee were expected to also tackle the issue of the Senate’s vote that allowed Gabriel Oprea to avoid an indictment for involuntary manslaughter.
Officially, PSD’s local and central leaders who convened in the conference room of the Puflene Resort in Murghiol had on their agenda topics related to the way the elections campaign is organised, the governing platform and the lists of candidates for the December 11 elections.
An important point on the National Executive Committee’s agenda was the debate surrounding Victor Ponta’s candidacy. Ponta should receive a waiver from PSD’s Ethics Code in order to be able to enter the electoral race. According to PSD’s Integrity Code, persons “who are under pre-trial arrest, house arrest, conditional bail for any kind of crime” cannot benefit from the party’s support to occupy any political or administrative office, whether elected or appointed. The ex-Premier is still under conditional bail, after the High Court only partially admitted Victor Ponta’s requests on September 10 (he is allowed to leave the country and to make statements about the case, but the rest of the bail conditions were upheld).
Apparently, the issue of the candidacy seems to have been clarified by Victor Ponta and Liviu Dragnea, PSD’s current President announcing that the ex-Premier will get involved in outlining the party’s governing platform, his task being to handle “the Romanians’ money.” “He is working within PSD, he is a member of PSD, he will be on our lists,” Dragnea stated on September 12. Nevertheless, a formal decision will have to be taken within the Executive Committee too, as the PSD President announced several weeks ago (“In what concerns the Integrity Code stipulation, we will discuss within the Executive Committee, because Victor Ponta is a special case.”)
Moreover, there are several party branches where the process of establishing the lists of candidates have sparked heated discussions, especially since the party’s central leadership outlined several conditions: newer, younger candidates; more women; people who excelled, etc. Moreover, several days ago Dragnea also announced that PSD’s lists will also include persons with disabilities, in order to “correct” an injustice and “to solve a big issue of representatives” in Romania.
Last but not least, the Social Democrats expected the Executive Committee meeting to also tackle the Senate’s vote in Gabriel Oprea’s case, considering that Liviu Dragnea expressed significant anger with the PR damage incurred by the party following Monday’s vote.
The day before, referring to Gabriel Oprea’s case, the PSD President wrote on his Facebook page: “I supported and support the fight against corruption!”
Dragnea: Let it be clear for everyone, Oprea will not be on PSD’s lists in the parliamentary elections
On Wednesday evening, against the backdrop of ever growing public reactions condemning the vote cast by the Senate on Monday, Dragnea reiterated on his Facebook page that he supports the fight against corruption, also pointing out that former UNPR President Gabriel Oprea will not be on PSD’s lists for the parliamentary elections.
“1. I supported and I support the fight against corruption! 2. Let it be clear: Gabriel Oprea will NOT be on PSD’s lists in the December 11 elections!” Dragnea wrote on Facebook.
In fact, the PSD President stated on Tuesday that he would have voted in favour of the DNA’s request to criminally prosecute Gabriel Oprea had he been in the Senate, because he considers that “everybody should benefit from the lack of immunity.”
“I would have voted in favour of DNA’s request; but it’s not for me to judge, I don’t take the liberty to judge, I refrain my desire to criticise or judge because those people nevertheless were voted in office. Had I been in the Senate, I would have voted in favour, because I believe everyone should benefit from the lack of immunity. What is happening within the judiciary is another discussion, it’s something else entirely, but we all have to be equal. I did not benefit from immunity nor do I want to, ever,” Dragnea stated.
He reaffirmed that he is in favour of there being no immunity, not even for the country’s president.
Gabriela Firea, PSD Vice President: Liviu Dragnea best suited for Prime Minister’s office
Before the party’s National Executive Committee meeting in Murighiol, PSD Vice President Gabriela Firea stated that PSD President Liviu Dragnea would be best suited to become Prime Minister after the parliamentary elections.
“PSD President Liviu Dragnea is the person best suited to take over this important office of Prime Minister. This is my point of view, we are yet to hold a debate on this topic within one of the party’s higher bodies, but I believe I can afford to have an opinion,” Firea stated. Lower Chamber Speaker Florin Iordache recently expressed a similar opinion.
In what concerns the future ruling coalition, Firea said she would like PSD to form a majority alongside ALDE and UDMR. “In other words, in my opinion Romanians have seen we are serious people, we are doing serious, stable, good and fair things, and the Government will be formed by PSD-ALDE and if UDMR will want to join us too we will certainly hold talks in this sense, in my opinion it wouldn’t be bad to show this openness,” the Bucharest Mayor stated.
Liviu Dragnea has so far avoided saying whether he wants to hold the Prime Minister’s office in case PSD ends up forming the Government after the parliamentary elections this winter. The PSD President was sentenced to two years in jail, suspended sentence, for committing electoral fraud during the 2012 presidential impeachment referendum. The sentence was final.
PSD leadership discusses “Premier Dragnea” issue. Dragnea: Talk about names, only after elections
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Thursday that the “Premier Dragnea” issue was also tackled by PSD’s Executive Committee, mentioning “the possible members of Government” too, but he pointed out that the Social Democrats will name names only after December 11, provided the party wins the elections.
“I talked with no one about any position within the Government, with absolutely no one. I told no one that I see them as Minister or Secretary of State. Absolutely no one. Secondly: before the elections we won’t be talking about the Prime Minister’s office either, because I’m interested in the discussion and debates focusing on what we want to do for Romanians, not on persons. And I’m not giving up on this,” Liviu Dragnea stated.
“Victor Ponta is running on PSD lists, there was no need for a vote”
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Thursday that Victor Ponta will run on PSD’s lists, despite the fact that he is remanded on conditional bail and the party’s Ethics Code would not allow him to do so, adding that the decision was adopted through discussions, without there being the need for a vote.
“Victor Ponta is running on PSD’s lists,” Liviu Dragnea stated at the end of the National Executive Committee meeting. Asked whether the decision was adopted by vote, Dragnea said: “There was no need for one. We talked, there was no longer a need for us to raise hands.”
Dragnea also stated that “there are all chances” he would personally run in the elections. “If the Teleorman party branch proposes me, I’m seriously considering approving myself,” he said, pointing out however that he would not run for a Senate seat, “particularly after the recent vote.”
Dragnea also outlined the timetable party branch leaders have to respect when presenting their lists of candidates: half of the party’s county branches, “in alphabetical order,” will have to present the lists by the end of next week; the remainder will have to do so by the end of the following week. “If they fail to do so by the end of next month, I’ll take it as a signal to draft them myself. I believe they will all come,” Dragnea said, adding that county council chairmen and mayors are not banned from running in the parliamentary elections.