Social Democratic Party (PSD) chairman Liviu Dragnea convened some of the leaders of party branches at an informal meeting at the party headquarters on Sunday. During the meeting, it was decided to hold public rallies in Bucharest and in the country. The rallies will most likely take place on Saturday, December 9. The conflict between Premier Mihai Tudose and Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea was also tackled.
Florin Iordache, Paul Stanescu, Ionel Arsene and Codrin Stefanescu also took part in the discussions.
Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea stated on Saturday that Premier Mihai Tudose found an incorrect manner – “unbecoming of a colleague” – to publicly admonish her for scheduling a Christmas Fair in Victory Square, pointing out that she would have expected the Premier to tell her this on the phone or in a meeting.
“The Prime Minister found, I believe, an incorrect manner – unbecoming of a colleague – to publicly admonish me for a decision adopted by the institutions subordinated to the City Hall. If he had something to communicate, and an opinion, I would have expected… it would have been colleague-like to phone me or to ask me for a meeting. I hope that from this moment on the Prime Minister would understand the fact that a colleague-like and fair manner of communication with us, his colleagues – still his colleagues –, must be direct, not with hints, innuendos, and ironies via the press,” Firea said.
Her statement came after Premier Mihai Tudose had stated on Thursday that organising a Christmas Fair in Victory Square would not be “the most inspired decision,” adding that Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea will also understand that.
“The Christmas Fair, now that you mention it, I don’t think a Fair in the middle [of the square] is the most inspired decision. I too found out about it today. Firstly, tell me how does one get there, because there aren’t many crosswalks. It’s complicated. I believe she [Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea] will realise it’s not the most inspired choice. Moreover, it’s open to interpretation too. From what I understand a fair is being held so that someone would no longer show up there. No, let them show up!” Premier Mihai Tudose stated.
The Bucharest City Hall (PMB) had announced that on December 5-17 it was going to organise a holiday fair in Victory Square, against the backdrop in which the law on public meetings does not allow two events taking place in the same location. The protesters announced they would not leave Victory Square and would not give up on their protest.
On Saturday, several persons protested against the PMB decision, complaining that Firea wants to close off Victory Square to public rallies.
Anti-PSD protesters blocked the works on the Christmas Fair site located in front of the Government building, which prompted Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea to change the event’s location. The incidents in Victory Square prompted PSD’s riposte, its answer taking the form of public rallies scheduled at the end of the week.
PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu stated on Sunday evening on RomaniaTV private broadcaster that the party will organise public rallies in Bucharest and throughout the country, following the events that occurred on Saturday in Victory Square.
PSD’s Stefanescu: It’s been decided we’ll stage public rally against deep, illegitimate state
The Social Democratic Party (PSD, main ruling party, ed. n.) will stage a public rally against the deep, illegitimate state, the party’s Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu announced on Sunday evening, at the end of an informal meeting of the party’s leadership.
The PSD rallies are to take place both in Bucharest and throughout the country, their date and hour to be set on Monday.
Stefanescu denied that Sunday’s meeting was called to sack their own Government or their Prime Minister and asserted the information in the media as pure speculations, “mere foolishness” and “aberrations”.
“There is but one group in the PSD. We have gathered today because the presidents of county branches have asked for this meeting with (party president, ed. n.) Liviu Dragnea and the party’s leadership. Tomorrow we’ll have a meeting with the rest of the county branch presidents. It is set today that we too shall stage a public rally, a protest meeting. Our rally is not meant to back the Government, to back Dragnea, or the coalition, or the governing programme, because they have all been voted last year by Romanians. It will be a rally against the deep and illegitimate state, against the abuses, against the phone tapping, against the violation of civil rights and freedoms, a rally against those who believe that from the positions that they fill without being elected they can violate the Constitution and the country’s rules and make themselves an organised group through which they can decide what and how. It is a rally that shows the real majority in Romania, it is a rally the Romanians have asked for – this is the message of the county branch presidents who have come here,” said Stefanescu, at the PSD’s seat.
The PSD’ Deputy Secretary General said that the decision to organise a public rally was made following Saturday’s events, when “200 protesters assumed not even by the #rezist organisations have managed to disturb a Christmas fair.”
“Meaning that 155 Romanian small companies, family associations who were selling this month of December their handmade, culinary products, and tens of Bucharesters who would have enjoyed this fair couldn’t do so because roughly 200 protesters abused their right to stage a demonstration. And they simply ruined what is called the City Hall’s property. And that created maximum nervousness and a tense situation all over the country, meaning the people who voted us have put pressure on the mayors, the mayors on the area leaders, the area leaders on the county [branch] heads and the county [branch] heads have summoned this meeting with Liviu Dragnea this very night,” explained Stefanescu.
“Carmen Dan should consider making some changes at the MAI, including at the Gendarmerie”
PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu stated on Sunday evening that Interior Minister Carmen Dan should carry out some changes within the Interior Ministry (MAI), including at the Gendarmerie, pointing out that the law should have been “simply enforced” on Saturday.
“In my opinion, Ms Carmen Dan should consider very seriously whether it may be necessary for her to generate some changes at the ministry she leads, and maybe she would consider that in what concerns the gendarmes too. I, at least for one, personally know many Romanian Gendarmerie officers, deputies of Mr Cucos, who were very intransigent with us when we protested against Boc or Basescu. Meaning they knew the limit of our democratic right, won by my generation with blood on the barricades of December ’89… Nevertheless, I believe the law should be simply enforced. I mean the law is the same for all,” Codrin Stefanescu stated.
Tariceanu on PSD’s planned rallies: I don’t think rallies of support are needed at this moment
ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated on Monday, at the Palace of Parliament, that in his opinion there is no need for public rallies of support as planned by the PSD in the following days.
“I don’t know who is organising protests, I haven’t been informed yet, but people are free to protest. It’s been happening for so long. Lately there is a certain tendency to shift the political disputes, the political fighting, from Parliament – which is the democratic forum – to the street,” Calin Popescu Tariceanu said when asked about ALDE’s position and whether the party will take part in PSD’s rallies.
“I don’t know, I believe that at this moment there is no need for rallies of support,” the ALDE leader added.
He also said that a ruling coalition meeting will take place in the following days and he will discuss the topic there.
PSD House member on planned party rallies: Some also advised Ceausescu to hold a public rally
PSD House member Adrian Solomon stated on Monday he will not take part in any rally that the party plans to hold at the end of this week, stating he has better things to do and warning that “some also advised Ceausescu to hold a public rally.”
“I’m not going out on Saturday. (…) Whoever must hold a rally should hold a rally. I won’t take to the streets on Saturday because I have other, more important things to do. Some also advised Ceausescu to hold a public rally,” Adrian Solomon stated on Monday.
Ponta: Maybe PSD’s “hotheads” will heed at least Tariceanu’s rational opinion and will stop this hysterical stupidity of public rallies of “solidarity with the Boss”
Ex-Premier Victor Ponta states that “the ‘hotheads’ from PSD’s current leadership will maybe heed at least Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s rational opinion and will stop this hysterical stupidity of public rallies of ‘solidarity with the Boss.’”
“People voted for you and gave you the Power to govern well and to legally change what does not work well – public rallies are held by the Opposition or by a group of people who are fighting the Ruling Power! When you have a parliamentary majority and you control the Government, you use the Power conferred by the people’s vote and you adopt laws, Government ordinances or decisions that would change what is working poorly in the country – you don’t hold hysterical and useless rallies with people who are busy at their workplaces or at home and who show up only out of fear you would sack them or out of fear that the ‘Boss’ might get upset!” Ponta wrote on his Facebook page.
He is asking the Social Democrats, leaving aside the “grotesque ridiculousness” of a protest meeting gloriously led by the Chairman of the SRI Oversight Committee and by the Labour Minister – one that “even the late Hugo Chavez would consider comical” –, to cut the nonsense and do what people are expecting from them.
Catalin Ivan: We are witnessing the PRM-isation of PSD; it’s as if it is led by Vadim Tudor
“PSD is starting to look increasingly like the Great Romania Party [PRM],” MEP Catalin Ivan, affiliated to the Socialist group in the European Parliament, stated for RFI on Monday. He deplores the radical messages issued by the ruling party, which wants to hold a public rally in Craiova on December 9, against “the deep state.”
Catalin Ivan believes PSD’s rally was not necessary: “Craiova is the city where Olguta Vasilescu was mayor, there is the Dolj party branch that went through very many problems, many important leaders of the branch being side-lined, removed from the party, based on Liviu Dragnea’s model, so that Manda and Olguta Vasilescu would have total tranquillity and would control everything in an authoritarian manner. I believe they can hold this rally. The question is what for, what is the purpose of the rally? (…) What is the message of a ruling party, a party that has a governing programme, that very many Romanians invested with confidence in 2016, and that should theoretically govern instead of holding rallies?”
“Serious down-to-earth people who built this party, who have been members of the Social Democratic Party for 10-15-20 years, are looking on with sadness at the PRM-isation of the party. These radical messages typical of Tricolorul [daily]… it’s as if we are led by Vadim Tudor, God rest his soul! Nobody no longer recognises the direction the party is taking, the party’s messages,” the MEP states.
Claudiu Manda: We expect around 30,000 persons at the PSD rally in Craiova
PSD Dolj President and Senate member Claudiu Manda stated that around 30,000 people will take part in the rally on December 9, stating that USR and PNL only managed to bring together 700 protesters, and adding that people will be able to state who represents them.
“From what I’ve understood, there are very many county branches that will hold [rallies on December 9]. I can’t tell you, because I don’t have such a list. I can clearly tell you that we, in Dolj, had initially scheduled it for 5 p.m.; we settled for 3 p.m. so as to synchronise with other county branches. In Dolj we expect probably around 30,000 people,” PSD Dolj President Claudiu Manda stated.
He pointed out that “seven or eight party branch presidents” took part in Sunday evening’s meeting at the PSD headquarters.
“There, everybody said they intend to organise rallies and we somehow settled on 3 p.m. We have already taken care of the advertisement side. On one hand, to see whether there are people who support us too – I want to say that USR and PNL mobilised around 700 persons in the square in Craiova –, now we want to see whether there are people in Craiova and in the entire Dolj County who consider that those who are in the square represent their point of view or not. Moreover, there are fairly many abuses against which our colleagues will protest. We believe it’s time for people to say: enough, we’ve understood, we’ve seen what they keep shouting in the square. We nevertheless believe that this country should be a normal country in which Parliament legislates, Government governs, and each does his/her duty,” Manda added.
He added that the county branches are not forced to hold rallies.
“No decision was taken to force someone to hold a rally. There was a discussion somewhat provoked by the county branch presidents with the intention to hold such a rally. He [Liviu Dragnea] did not oppose it. There were colleagues who said they want to hold [rallies]. There were discussions whether to hold them on Saturday or Sunday, and we chose Saturday,” Claudiu Manda added.
Asked about Premier Mihai Tudose’s stance on holding rallies on December 9, he said: “I can’t anticipate the Premier’s stance. I don’t think he’ll oppose it. I’ve seen the statement about the rally in Dolj. It was a way of not answering the question, but I believe there is the possibility of there being a rally in Braila too.”
Claudiu Manda refused to explain what “deep state” means, limiting himself to saying: “I believe you can look in the public space and see.”
Rovana Plumb criticises PM Mihai Tudose’s attitude and sides with Gabriela Firea in PSD’s internal conflict
On Monday, former European Grants Minister Rovana Plumb criticised Prime Minister Mihai Tudose for the statements he made, which “often do not coincide with the stances that his colleagues adopt,” stating that the party will decide whether the incumbent Premier will share ex-PM Sorin Grindeanu’s fate.
“To be honest, I don’t find it normal for the Premier to make a whole series of statements that often do not coincide with the stances adopted by our colleagues,” Rovana Plumb stated.
Asked whether Mihai Tudose risks sharing Sorin Grindeanu’s fate due to his public statements, Rovana answered: “This will be decided within the party. I can’t say at this moment what will happen.”
“The important thing is that Romanians need stability, tranquillity. I believe the period of scandals must end and I disagree with any kind of violent behaviour. What happened the other days, I find it abnormal in a democratic society. Things have degenerated, I don’t find it normal for legal provisions to be disregarded when a public authority decides to organise an event and has all legal permits,” Rovana Plumb added.
Catalin Radulescu: Premier and Interior Minister should give me an example of a place in the world where someone occupies a public square for months on end. If they can’t, it means they didn’t do their duty
PSD House member Catalin Radulescu stated on Monday, at the Palace of Parliament, that he wants Premier Mihai Tudose and Interior Minister Carmen Dan to give him at least one example of a country in which someone occupies a square for months on end, their failure to do so meaning they failed to do their duty. He added he will demand the resignation of the head of the Gendarmerie.
Radulescu told journalists he has a “very ugly” opinion on the scandal within PSD.
Asked who is in the wrong, Firea or Tudose, he answered: “The moment state authority can no longer be exercised in a democratic country, this means there is anarchy in that country. In no other country in Europe… Maybe the Prime Minister will give me an example, I’m very curious to see in what country in Europe someone takes the liberty – with the exception of authorised rallies – to occupy a public space for days, months, years on end. If I’m not given an example, that means the Prime Minister and the Interior Minister didn’t do their duty and we must see what is happening.”
He added he will demand the resignation of the head of the Gendarmerie.
“A punk, a man who beats up an elderly person, was talking in a very friendly manner with people from the Gendarmerie. I didn’t understand what kind of friendship there is between the gendarmes and this punk,” the PSD MP added.
Asked whether there are serious problems within PSD, Catalin Radulescu answered: “I hate these demonstrations. The problem is that these things that should have been discussed within the party are becoming public and they’re not normal, they should only be discussed within the party. If a certain decision is taken within the party, one must obey it. If you don’t like it, irrespective of whether you’re the Premier, you resign and leave, if you don’t want to do like the party decides. You are appointed in office.”
Asked whether he believes the Premier should resign, the PSD MP replied: “I don’t believe he should resign. I believe he is flagrantly erring lately. Everybody should understand that these unfortunate statements they are making while arguing with each other are hurting PSD’s image very much. I recall that, back when I damaged the party’s image, I was suspended. Well, then we should suspend several people. This time I believe Gabi Firea was right. I don’t believe it’s the prerogative of a minister or Prime Minister to decide if something gets done or not.”