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April 11, 2021

Social Democrats maintain secrecy over future PM nominee but “leak” more clues as to his identity

Halfway through last week, ex-Premier Victor Ponta came up with clues as to the identity of the person that the Social Democratic Party (PSD) will nominate for the Prime Minister’s office, bearing in mind that the party so far did not want to reveal that person’s name out of reasons related to fears that the nominee would be arrested.

Thus, according to Ponta, the nominee will be a member of the Government he led, giving Dragnea, Plumb or Teodorovici as examples.

“PSD will nominate for the Premier’s office someone with results in the Government I led. A minister, a former minister who also learned what governance means. There are [such people] in PSD’s leadership, starting with Liviu Dragnea, Rovana Plumb, Eugen Teodorovici and all the others who were ministers and had results when governing. A man that would manage the most difficult office in Romania,” ex-Premier Victor Ponta stated on Friday.

While the name of the potential Social Democrat Premier is kept secret, the argument for doing so being that the person would allegedly be “arrested” according to Ponta, Codrin Stefanescu also offered several names of party members who could hold the Premier’s office.

Eight persons “who know very well the governance platform” are involved in PSD’s internal competition for the future Premier’s office, Codrin Stefanescu revealed, pointing out that the names are: Victor Ponta, Liviu Dragnea, Doina Pana, Orlando Teodorovici, Nicolae Banicioiu, Rovana Plumb.

Another detail that the Social Democrat revealed was that the person “has been hounded by the system, from Basescu’s time until now. (…) He is hounded by the system in general, not necessarily by the DNA,” PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu stated on Thurdady on Antena 3.

After he was told that President Klaus Iohannis does not want a Premier with legal problems, Codrin Stefanescu looked completely disinterested.

Asked whether Ponta is being considered, the Social Democrat responded:

“Ponta was a very good Prime Minister. There were some disappointments within the party, but he was a good Premier,” Stefanescu pointed out.

He also offered more clues about PSD’s nominee for the future Premier’s office: “Take the party’s leadership, those who were ministers.”

Likewise, when asked whether Calin Popescu Tariceanu is among the names being considered, the Social Democrat answered negatively and explained why.

“PSD will nominate the Prime Minister. Tariceanu and ALDE will be our ruling coalition partners.”

“I talked with Liviu Dragnea, I understood the strategy of announcing the Premier after the elections; had we been a normal country it would have been all right, but in Romania the game is played with dirty weapons,” Ponta said.

In his turn, PSD President Liviu Dragnea recently stated in a talk-show that the PSD Premier “will be a good-looking gentleman.”

Asked on Romania TV whom will PSD nominate after the December 11th parliamentary elections, Dragnea answered: “Whom people decide.”

Asked whether PSD has the nominee ready, Liviu Dragnea answered affirmatively.

“He’s ready. He’s a gentleman. A good-looking gentleman,” he added.


Liviu Dragnea not ruling himself out


On the first day of the elections campaign, Liviu Dragnea came up with more clarifications and said that the first condition that PSD’s nominee must meet is to have a party membership card.

“PSD will not nominate and will not vote for a Prime Minister who is not a PSD member. We can discuss the reasons: he must be an experienced politician, a person who takes responsibility, who knows what responsibility means. We are talking about developing Romania. We cannot support a person whose capacity to take responsibility, political vision, force and authority we are not trusting 100 percent. We cannot play around,” the PSD President said in Turnu Magurele.

Apart from a party membership card, he also must meet a mandatory condition: to have worked on the governance platform.

Consequently, the list is down to several names.

“Victor Ponta, Banicioiu, Teodorovici, Rovana Plumb, Marius Nica, Mihai Fifor, several colleagues and I worked on it. [Except for Ionut Vulpescu] I don’t believe there is any ministers who were members of the Victor Ponta Governments who did not contribute, more or less, to the ideas of this platform. It’s not an auto-pilot platform. Any governance platform can be implemented by a good Prime Minister, well prepared and who knows this governance platform, who worked on it and who understood it, and by a Government team made up of people who worked on this platform,” Liviu Dragnea emphasised.

With his latest statements, the PSD President seems to disregard the integrity criteria that President Klaus Iohannis talked about when asked about the future Premier.

The President has repeatedly stated that he will not nominate for the Premier’s office a person who is criminally prosecuted or criminally convicted. Liviu Dragnea was sentenced to two years in prison, final sentence. At this moment, he is also indicted in a new case in which he is charged with malfeasance in office.

“The criteria can only belong to Romanians. The moment Romanians cast their ballots, it means they have expressed their confidence in some people, in some candidates, in some parties they want to see governing. Could someone within or without the country say that Romanians’ votes don’t matter? Of course, they could. But there will be some trouble,” the PSD leader said.

Liviu Dragnea stated PSD will have only one nominee for the Premier’s office and the nomination will not be changed even if President Iohannis rejects it.

“I don’t see why the Romanian President should not respect a legitimate vote, an honest vote, a universal vote. I don’t see why we should discuss this hypothesis,” Dragnea said.

The PSD leader explained how he changed his image from that of party leader to that of Premier.

“I first wanted to change the party’s profile and it’s a change ever more difficult to deny. Automatically, the [party] president’s profile changes too, he must be president of a party that is not only political, he is a president that must understand what the economy means, the social aspects of his country, because when he tables, he supports bills, he must understand their effects and whether they are possible. I believe that this is how a party president should be,” Dragnea said at Turnu Magurele.

The first PSD leader to public speak about Liviu Dragnea as a potential nominee was Ion Iliescu, the day after the Social Democrats won the local elections, doing so although PSD’s President had repeatedly denied being interested in the office of Premier.


Gorghiu:  Their only nominee for Prime Minister is Liviu Dragnea, Liviu Dragnea or Liviu Dragnea


At this point, their only nominee for Prime Minister is Liviu Dragnea, Liviu Dragnea or Liviu Dragnea. That means their choice is limited, even reduced to one, which is unfortunate for Romania. Why are they avoiding naming the name? I do not know why they do not dare think about any option other than Liviu Dragnea. I think not coming up with a name that is not corrupted, a name that would give the appearance that PSD is a changed party and not a party of local barons, is an enormous strategy mistake for PSD. You know how it is: I pay for my own strategy mistakes, PSD will pay for its own mistakes if, bottom line, after the election, PNL forms the government,” PNL President Alina Gorghiu stated for Agerpres on Friday.

On Sunday, the Liberal leader said in an interview for News.ro that she guarantees to the voters that Liviu Dragnea will not be appointed by President Klaus Iohannis as Prime Minister, since the mandate cannot go to “someone compromised”, to a “wasted person.”

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