*Daniel Constantin: Decision is non-statutory
Amid tensions between the camp of the old Liberal Reformist Party (PLR) supported by Calin Popescu Tariceanu, and the former Conservative Party (PC), on whose support relies Daniel Constantin, the Central Political Bureau (BPC) of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) has decided on Sunday by an 86 to 12 vote to withdraw political support for ALDE’s co-chair Daniel Constantin, who is also deputy prime minister and environment minister.
At the same time, Minister for Parliament Gratiela Gavrilescu would take over the office of Environment Minister, while leader of the ALDE senatorial group Viorel Ilie would become Minister for Parliament.
After the meeting, ALDE Co-chair Calin Popescu Tariceanu announced that Gratiela Gavrilescu, currently Minister for Parliament, would be nominated as Environment Minister, while Viorel Ilie will be nominated as Minister for Parliament.
Tariceanu stated he personally abstained from voting at the meeting.
“Last week, over 30 party branches held standing delegation meetings in which they asked for an extraordinary party conference. Today there are 37 branches and it’s inconceivable for a co-president to oppose an overwhelming majority of county branches in what concerns the holding of the party conference,” Tariceanu stated.
The Co-chair of ALDE added that Daniel Constantin’s political discourse and agenda have lately been completely divergent to those of ALDE. “As a Liberal party, ALDE was the loudest voice that backed and defended the citizens’ rights and liberties and condemned the serious errors that repressive three-letter agencies committed. We’ve criticised what has happened lately, while our colleague became an overt supporter of the establishment. Our paths separated politically in this way, and our colleagues did not accept for the party to be represented in the Government by such a minister, who claims to be a technocrat,” Tariceanu added.
Constantin: Ball is in Dragnea’s and Grindeanu’s court, if they accept a non-statutory decision
Present at the meeting, Daniel Constantin stated that the decision adopted by ALDE’s BPC, to withdraw political support for him, is not statutory and at this moment the “ball” is in the court of PSD President Liviu Dragnea and Premier Sorin Grindeanu, who must decide whether they will accept a non-statutory decision.
Daniel Constantin claimed that the decision is not statutory because the withdrawal of political support for a co-president can only be done at the party congress.
“Today’s decision has nothing to do with legality. No chair or co-chair of the party can be punished except by the Congress. But these are things that have already been trampled under for years, not just now. What happened today, unfortunately for Mr Tariceanu, has nothing to do with Liberalism. Liberalism does not mean only fighting for citizens’ rights and freedoms; it also means free and fair elections and many other things,” Constantin said at the end of a convention of ALDE’s Central Political Bureau.
Asked whether he will discuss the matter with Prime Minister Grindeanu, Constantin said that both Grindeanu and PSD national leader Dragnea will have to decide whether or not they heed to a decision that runs contrary to the statutes.
“Today’s illegal decision will probably be reported to Mr Chairman Dragnea and, consequently, to Mr Prime Minister Grindeanu. The ball is now in their court. It is up to them to decide if they accept a decision that has nothing to do with the statutes. I do not want to put pressure on them. I regret nothing; should I be faced with the same situation, I would choose the same, I would choose the people. I was asked to betray people, to cast them over board just so I feel good. I cannot do that; they have attempted to blackmail me by threatening to strip me of deputy prime-ministership; I have proved I do not care about the office,” said Constantin.
He added that the proposal to strip him of political support was made at the convention of the ALDE Central Political Bureau by Dian Popescu.
Tariceanu before ALDE Central Political Bureau convention: I will abstain from vote to strip Constantin of political support
Co-chair of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said Sunday he will abstain if the convention of the ALDE Central Political Bureau on Sunday suggests putting up for a vote withdrawing the political support for ALDE’s other co-chair Daniel Constantin.
Asked about how he voted on such proposal, Tariceanu said, “There was such a proposal coming from a colleague. I cannot tell you the prevailing feeling now. We will have a larger discussion at the meeting of a statutory body. (…) I would recuse myself from such a matter, because my interest has always been in ALDE being a strong, solid construction, but at the same time I cannot turn a blind eye to certain slippages (…) I cannot but notice, regretfully, that there are certain statements befuddling,” adding that Constantin’s late positions show the latter as a representative of the establishment.
Tariceanu added that in his opinion “politics is not for people to gain positions inside the government or other bodies.” “Politics is done by people sharing a belief in values and principles,” he added.
He also said that there is a rumour that a group of dissatisfied ALDE members gathered around Constantin and a group of dissatisfied members of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) gathered around former PSD national leader Victor Ponta plan to create a nationalist party that would act inside the ruling coalition like the disbanded National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) did when Ponta was prime minister. Tariceanu added that back then UNPR used to resort to blackmail politics, something he cannot agree with.
Last Sunday, the ALDE Co-President Daniel Constantin left the meeting of the Delegation convened in order to decide the date of the Congress, about which he said that it doesn’t respect the provisions of the Statute and that he will contest in front of the court.
“The ALDE statute provides that the permanent Delegation convenes the Congress in two cases: at the request of the Central Executive Bureau, or at the request of half plus one of the permanent territorial delegations. The permanent territorial delegations are not statutory. In the merger protocol concluded by PC with PLR is very clearly written that until the Congress will be organized, the leading bodies at the county level are the Executive bureau and the Territorial Bureau, not the Permanent Delegation. These territorial decisions have been challenged in front of the court, and on Wednesday, if I am not wrong, there will be a first hearing in one of the counties. The court will decide what will happen, as in the case of a possible convocation of today’s Congress” stated the ALDE Co-President Daniel Constantin.
Daniel Constantin stated later, at the Parliament, that some of his colleagues have notified the ALDE Ethics Committee, and they contested the decision and the composition of the Permanent Delegation in front of the court.
The ALDE Co-President Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated that Daniel Constantin tries to block the decisions inside the party, and that if he will start to submit complaints to the court against the party, he will “seriously” ask himself if “there’s any point” to politically support Constantin anymore.
“Yesterday’s delegation was perfectly valid, as I also mentioned yesterday, we convened together the permanent Delegation, this is the best proof that the Delegation was valid, since Mr. Constantin agreed to convene it. Besides, the permanent Delegation, as a statutory body, has also approved the lists for our colleagues’ nomination as the members of the Government. He benefits from the statutory attributes provided by the permanent Delegation to be a Government’ member. How can he contest it? Don’t you see it doesn’t make any sense?” Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated.
The party has split, and the ALDE leaders in the territory have asked the withdrawal of Daniel Constantin’s support, while others said that it’s “unnatural” to discuss such a thing.
The ALDE Vice President Andrei Gerea said that Daniel Constantin “has purchased only one-way ticket by all he did, by the messages he gave together with those who are close to him these days”, stating that “the top of ALDE firstly means Calin Popescu Tariceanu”.
In his turn, the ALDE Vice President Mircea Banias stated that it’s a delicate moment, but it is “unnatural” to discuss about the withdrawal of Daniel Constantin’s political support two months after starting to govern, given that the reasons for which this sanction is requested are not “very clear” to him.
Las week, the two ALDE Co-Presidents had separate discussions with the PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, in his office at the Deputies’ Chamber.
PSD’s Liviu Dragnea also intervened in the scandal from inside ALDE, expressing his hope that the tensed situation in the party will be solved. The Social Democrat leader said that he waits a statutory decision from the party’s leaders by the end of the week, since it’s difficult for the Social Democrats to have separate discussions with the two Co-Presidents.
“I expressed my hope that they will agree each other. I cannot afford to tell one or other what to do, but I asked them to try to find a solution or a proposal in a statutory body of the party by the end of the week, of which we will also know, to understand what is the way to follow inside ALDE, or what are their intentions” Liviu Dragnea also said.
Asked if there is any way of reconciliation for Daniel Constantin and Calin Popescu Tariceanu, given that their last meetings with Liviu Dragnea at the parliament took place separately, the PSD leader said that he “hopes so”, because “the interest is much higher”.
“I wasn’t very comfortable to have separate discussions, but I am not a marriage counselor” added the PSD President.