Embattled national chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea said on Monday evening that “the heavy artillery has been pulled out” as the previous court case concerning the referendum had not reached its goal – that of propelling to the leadership of the party most likely a “good-humoured” team for the local and parliamentary elections.
“This is not a prank file, it is clear that it is a very difficult matter. (…) Virtually what appeared in the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) press statement is what was brought to my attention as information. (…) It was not an easy day. (…) I tried to read carefully the statement and other documents, I read as much as I could, I did not have much time today, I had a lot of activities. I understood that practically the case was opened in 2016, or in 2001, or in 2014… Let us remember what happened in 2016, when, after being convicted in the referendum case, where I was supposed to give in, and probably there was a team ready to take over the party and stay good-humoured in that electoral year; yet we decided together in the party, we soldiered on toward a great victory in the local elections, a crushing victory in the general election, “Dragnea told Romania TV private broadcaster.
According to him, after the parliamentary election, “what really scared the most was the content of the government programme, a very well done on and not easy to implement,” a programme that does not leave “room for maneuver” to those parties that could endorse President Klaus Iohannis in the 2019 presidential election.
“Fortunately, we have all the answers for those who have lied in recent months that we cannot implement the programme, but this programme of the government, our desire to reform what is spoiled in some systems scares. At a political level, the programme leaves but an almost inexistent wiggle room for the opposition, that is to say, the parties that might – some of them – endorse President Iohannis in the 2019 presidential election. And, on the other hand, there are institutions and heads of institutions and heads thereof that begin to wonder whether or not things absurdly start working in this country, as they do in the other countries of Europe where there is a consolidated democracy. (…) And surely there are serious struggles (…). The struggle is terrible. The artillery was pulled out in spring, suddenly; the referendum thing did not work, so they pulled out the heavy artillery and began to talk about Brazil, Belina, Tel Drum, in order to increase the level of [my] demonisation in such a way that the public perception appears naturally that a new DNA case file has to be opened; we are going to create a framework of it and go there so that I might give up,” said Dragnea.
He considers that his giving up would introduce reservations and fears inside the parliamentary groups, where there is a clear big question mark over the determination to carry through what has begun, as well as inside the Government.
Dragnea denounced what he called “a parallel, illegitimate power system that has been operating in Romania for years.”
“Gov’t must be secured to continue governing programme; definitely, the PM shouldn’t have come to DNA”
Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea stated that the Government, which is facing “a high pressure,” must be “secured,” in order to be able to continue with the implementation of the governing programme, and also that the Prime Minister shouldn’t have come to the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) headquarters to support him, considering that he is the head of the Executive.
“We haven’t spoken today, but we spoke the past day. Someone else was asking me today if he should have been there. Definitely no, because he is still the head of the Government,” the PSD leader told Romania TV private television channel, when asked whether he discussed on Monday with Prime Minister Mihai Tudose.
When he was told that the Prime Minister wasn’t happy with the fact that some members of the Executive came to the DNA to support Liviu Dragnea, the latter explained: “I don’t know this and we have enough enemies, about whom we spoke until now, for some time, so that I don’t want to invent some artificial ones from inside as well.”
When asked whether PM Mihai Tudose contacted him on Monday, in the context in which the PM’s honorific adviser, Gheorghe Pipierea, resigned after asking Liviu Dragnea to do the same gesture, the PSD leader said: “Yesterday we talked at the Social Democrat Youth Congress and after the Congress (…) and then we came together close to where I live.”
“We came together, he brought me in his car, we stepped down of the car, we discussed for 20 more minutes, we smoke a few cigarettes together, we discussed a lot,” said Dragnea.
With respect to the fact that Mihai Tudose’s stand when ministers Sevil Shhaideh and Rovana Plumb were facing criminal charges was to have them removed from the Victoria Palace, the Social Democratic leader said: “We discussed about these thing at that point and there are is this huge pressure facing the Government, which is, after all, the Government that we endorse and that must try to accomplish everything that people approved by vote and it’s better to be as “secured” as possible.”
“I said this before and I will say it again: I preferred to become a lightning rod and to be the one who is demonized,” stated Dragnea.
When asked whether the Prime Minister and the members of the Government will resist the pressure he mentioned, the Social Democrat leader said: “The Government must continue the government programme.”
“We, as a party, were first of all interested that the measures be implemented, that they start to produce effects, and many of those who were lying and continue to lie start to eat their tongues and they are going to do exactly so by the end of the year and next year. This is what the Government should be (…) In respect to the party, I saw how the members supported me, and not for they liked my moustache, but out of solidarity, frustration and revolt, while having to do with this abuses that can not be covered anymore. Even today I received messages from people who were not PSD members and they said that this is beyond what is acceptable, this escalation of abuses and this revelations over revelations scare them,” Dragnea also said.
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