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April 16, 2021

Traian Basescu: Dragnea will give up game with Iohannis, Calin Popescu Tariceanu could take over PNL leadership

Ex-president Traian Basescu stated on Wednesday evening on Romania TV that Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the current co-president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), could return at the helm of the National Liberal Party. Likewise, the former head of state believes that Liviu Dragnea will give up on the idea of becoming head of government.

Traian Basescu dismissed the rumours that he could take over the leadership of PNL, but emphasised that PNL could be led by Calin Popescu Tariceanu. “I don’t have this goal, to become PNL President. Categorically not! Tariceanu can be president at PNL. He has high approval rating. No leader there has his approval rating,” Traian Basescu told Romania TV.


Revelations about Cotroceni consultations


“The value of these exploratory talks is low when the party with the highest number of votes doesn’t take part in them. I experienced this and I always have a feeling of revolt. I used to invite parties to consultations and their only manliness was to show they are rude – ‘we won’t come, we won’t talk.’ The President won as many votes as all these parties combined won in these elections,” the former head of state pointed out.

Traian Basescu considers that President Iohannis has attained his goal.

“If I were him I would see it like this: there is one party that won most votes, PSD, so they will want to govern… what is the other parties’ option?

“I only said I’m the best Premier, but alliance options were discussed today. We are incompatible with PSD, I cannot see an option with a Government of PSD’s ilk, with which Romania would no longer maintain its chances to join the Euro Area. What has been happening lately with the PSD Government, in recent months, I’m not saying salary hikes weren’t necessary but you should look whether you remain within the Euro Area accession parameters. Romania has ratified the fiscal treaty, it allows a deficit of 1 percent, not 3 percent, and with the outlook of moving on to positive budgets. We all saw that the terrible debt crisis is due to the old states’ high level of indebtedness.

“Nothing the President said in the press statement is by chance, there can be random things in the answers to questions, but the message given through the statement is very well prepared,” Traian Basescu said.


“Even if he wanted to, Iohannis couldn’t appoint Dragnea Premier”


“Two have met here, one is president and the other is party president but he’s really slick and didn’t say he will nominate himself, he asked Ms. Firea, he asked someone else to say “Premier Dragnea.” Even if Iohannis wanted to, he couldn’t appoint him, he would break the law. Article 115, Paragraph 1, lists some incompatibilities and Paragraph 2 says “other incompatibilities will be established by law,” and the law established them. I would look to a different solution, PNL is in such a big crisis, I’m not ruling out the possibility for PNL to negotiate with ALDE and bring Tariceanu president at PNL after a merger. I’m not ruling out this possibility, Tariceanu has an approval rating of 40 percent. I no longer see myself minister, but that’s how it is in an alliance. Apart from PDL, there is no political party with which I had a friendly relation,” the ex-president stated.

Traian Basescu considers that presidents will no longer be the targets of impeachment procedure in Romania except in exceptional situations.

“The law protected me at the second suspension. I don’t believe other presidents will be suspended.

“If the voter turnover was 39 percent now, what would it be at an impeachment [referendum]. Those who have voted represent 18 percent of the Romanian people. In fact, the majority didn’t vote, a strong majority of 60 percent didn’t vote, you can’t know how it will react to an impeachment, it could say ‘no, leave him, he has a 5-year term.’ In Romania, it’s difficult for Parliament to impeach the president again.”


“President can’t force snap elections”


On the other hand, the PMP President does not believe the plan to dissolve Parliament and trigger snap elections is viable either.

Traian Basescu revealed that he learned that one cannot dissolve Parliament. “In the Constitution, the idea of snap elections is a possibility, but I saw what happened when I wanted to force it. I appointed Negoita, Croitoru, and Parliament no longer voted on the latter. It has no deadline on which to give its vote.”

“Iohannis has all the aces up his sleeve and PSD is staring at what he is playing. When you want to form the Government, you have to stare at what the president is playing.

“I’m talking not as one of Iohannis’s allies but as a former president. Iohannis remains the Premier from Grivco. When my brother had that trouble… he [Iohannis] was in the Opposition, getting ready for the elections, but he was incriminating me too, so we don’t have a history that would make us trust each other too much, but for a consolidation of the right wing I cannot evade this, otherwise everyone would be pushing me to PSD,” Traian Basescu pointed out.


“Dragnea places populism above national interest”


At this moment, the ex-president sees the Social Democrat leader placing populism above the national interest.

“The interest was for us to be a consolidated country, to end up having the guarantee that we are not decoupling ourselves from the Euro Area and bear in mind that the Baltic states adopted these policies and joined the Eurozone. I know Dragnea, he will take measures to preserve his power within the party and will give up. I believe Dragnea will give up. I have no idea, but he realises he cannot grab the President’s hand and sign the decree. At this moment circling around him is the risk that PSD would not govern and I’m convinced he is cunningly thinking ‘what should I do to remain strong, to dominate the Government too but without compromising PSD.’”

In the view of the most experienced politician in post-1989 Romania, Dacian Ciolos will no longer be a solution for the Premier’s office if a right-wing Government is formed. “Everyone stalled on these 2 options, the right wing or PSD, but I’m not ruling out the possibility of a PSD-PNL Government. In politics things are reconsidered many times.”


Attack on the advertiser who propelled him at Bucharest City Hall


“The great Felix Tataru is very good if someone gives him ideas, he then lays them out graphically, he makes them very beautiful. But they also put him as their campaign strategist, it was madness, and I can tell you that the funniest ads Tataru worked with during the campaign for the Bucharest City Hall were made by some architecture students.

“When he used his own mind, the great Felix Tataru came up with the video clip showing little Alina stealing Dragnea’s sandwich. Felix Tataru needs someone to give him ideas.

“I doubted the Popular Movement Party (PMP) would enter Parliament. When you have weak [party] structures you never win what the polls are showing, only when you have powerful [party] structures you confirm the polls. Thank God the party entered [Parliament], we are moving on to a party branch construction process, so there’s a lot of work to do, I wouldn’t throw this party away,” Traian Basescu told Romania TV.

The politician who launched the idea of active president considers that Iohannis is trying to be one.

The ex-president considers that, at the start of his term in office, Klaus Iohannis tried out a different tactical option but “he saw it’s a losing one.”

“I believe he is trying to get involved and channel the political flow toward his chance of attaining his objectives. Iohannis is at his first term in office. It rarely happens in democracies… Only weak presidents do not run for a second term,” Basescu added.


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