POLITICS

Decisive day for PSD: Tense party meeting features calls for Tudose’s resignation, but also calls for unity. Prime Minister Tudose loses political support from party; will resign tonight or tomorrow

Awaited with great interest, as a moment of clarifications following the latest dispute that has generated tensions within the party, the Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) Executive Committee (ExCom) met on Monday afternoon at the party’s central headquarters in Kiseleff, to clarify the situation of Premier Mihai Tudose, party leaders being set to decide whether to withdraw their political support for him.

In fact, before the meeting started, it was leaked to the press that 30 party branches – more than half of which are led by acting party branch presidents – had signed at noon, in Liviu Dragnea’s office, a request for the withdrawal of political support for Premier Mihai Tudose. Allegedly, Dragnea imperatively asked the 30 party branch presidents to sign the declaration. Other party sources told HowNews.ro that Tudose has decided to resign if PSD withdraws its political endorsement during Monday’s Executive Committee meeting.

 

“A meeting stormier than usual, we’ll stay up all night if need be”

 

Among the first to arrive at the ExCom meeting, PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu stated that the Social Democrats must take “a final decision,” even if that means staying up all night.

“I don’t believe we’ll talk about dismissals. We’ll have a meeting stormier than ever. We’re all nervous wrecks. (…) Regardless of how long this meeting lasts, we’ll come out with a solution. Recent days have been terrible. All kinds of news have been leaked to the media, my colleagues have made all kinds of statements. It rained letters and declarations. Today, it is mandatory we find the final solution. I’m going in with the hope that we must recall the days when we were united,” Codrin Stefanescu stated.

“I assure you that the same team you saw in the 2016 campaign will leave the PSD headquarters today, united, without great schisms,” he said.

“If need be, we’ll stay up all night until we solve this. (…) My proposal is that we should calm down and should not forget that millions of Romanians are watching us. (…) It’s mandatory we find the final solution and we recall the days when we were united,” PSD’s Deputy Secretary General stated.

He added that any decision adopted by the ExCom will be accepted by all, according to News.ro.

He also claimed that “for some time, the deep state has been testing PSD.”

 

Marian Oprisan: PSD is going through a trial today, I believe Gov’t led by Mihai Tudose must remain in office

 

PSD Vrancea President Marian Oprisan stated on Monday, when arriving at the PSD headquarters, that the Government led by Mihai Tudose “must remain in office.”

“I haven’t slept in 48 hours,” Oprisan told the journalists present at the party headquarters at 10 Kiseleff Boulevard, claiming that the important thing for him is “the stability of the political scene, of the country, and of PSD.”

In his opinion, “PSD is going through a trial today.”

“Citizens have put their confidence in us and we have great responsibility toward them,” Marian Oprisan argued, adding: “I believe the Romanian Government led by Mihai Tudose should remain in office.”

“I strongly believe there is the need for balance and responsibility. In this story about the three Governments, PSD has done almost nothing wrong,” Oprisan added. Before going to the PSD headquarters, Oprisan met Mihai Tudose at the Government, in a meeting also attended by Niculae Badalau and Adrian Tutuianu.

 

Dragnea: “I’ve read letters, I’ve watched public statements, I’ll talk after ExCom”

 

Asked what the solution will be – the resignation of the Premier or that of Minister Carmen Dan –, PSD President Liviu Dragnea said when arriving at the PSD headquarters, before the start of the meeting: “I found out from Codrin what we will do.”

“I will vote, as usual, for the party,” Dragnea added.

 

Carmen Dan before PSD ExCom, when asked about resignation: If the party asks me to, I’ll do it

 

When arriving at the PSD headquarters, Interior Minister Carmen Dan said she will resign if the party asks her to do so.

“If the party asks me to, I’ll do it,” Carmen Dan said when asked by journalists if she will resign.

 

Niculae Badalau hopes Mihai Tudose will remain Premier: Those who will force the Premier’s resignation must have solutions too

 

On Monday, PSD Executive President Niculae Badalau expressed his hope that Premier Mihai Tudose will remain in office, because he does not see “another solution,” warning that those who want to “force” the resignation of the Prime Minister “must have solutions too.”

“This Government will be called and will remain the PSD Government,” Badalau said. When journalists asked him who will lead the Government, he answered: “Mihai Tudose, I hope, because I see no other solution.”

In what concerns Interior Minister Carmen Dan potentially leaving the Government, “this is less important for me,” Niculae Badalau said.

However, he warned that “those who will force the dismissal of the Premier must have solutions too,” because “people sent us [in Government] to make their lives better, not for us to argue among ourselves.”

“We’re not talking about persons, in a simplistic manner. We’re talking about Romania’s fate. PSD and the colleagues from ALDE have Romania’s fate in their hands,” Badalau added.

 

Niculae Badalau, PSD Executive President: “Someone must leave: Tudose or Dan!”

 

On Sunday, in a talk-show focusing on the scandal within PSD, Niculae Badalau claimed that on Monday it must be decided who leaves: Premier Mihai Tudose or Interior Minister Carmen Dan.

Niculae Badalau believes that there will be calm within PSD only if one of them leaves.

“There is a party dispute that was augmented by the media. There is always a debate. The NatExCom should have been convened earlier because of the scandal within the Interior Ministry.

“We’ll see the result of the investigation. Their reports should have been discussed within the party; what happened is grave, it could lead to lack of confidence in a very important state body, it shows that there is an octopus within this institution and drastic measures must be taken. There is no doubt.

“From the standpoint of the Premier, he too erred. I’m being subjective, the madam is a Senate colleague, but it’s the Premier who assesses her in her capacity as minister. It must be discussed within the Government. Things have evolved differently. Tudose can no longer work with Dan, as he himself has said. We’re talking about the Premier, he has the decision. He must communicate it to the NatExCom and we must adopt the decision within the party. One of them must leave!” PSD Executive President Niculae Badalau said.

 

Pop: I haven’t seen any conflict between Dragnea and Tudose. ExCom meeting will clarify this topic

 

Education Minister Liviu Marian Pop stated that he has not seen “any conflict” between PSD President Liviu Dragnea and Premier Mihai Tudose, and that the meeting of PSD’s Executive Committee “will clarify this topic.”

“Personally, I haven’t seen any conflict between Liviu Dragnea and Mihai Tudose; I’m not an ExCom member but, surely, this day (Monday – editor’s note) will bring about the clarification of this topic and we will focus more on the governance programme because, nowadays, any measure we take through the governance programme, a good measure, is fuelled by certain conflicts and alleged conflicts.

“I believe all decisions are taken within the ExCom, not without it. Because we are a large organisation, we have very many leaders, within this decision-making forum we must express our opinions. Even if certain decisions adopted by the forum are not on our liking, we are not allowed to dispute them,” Liviu Marian Pop said.

 

Robert Negoita: It’s profoundly wrong, unprincipled, if signatures for Mihai Tudose’s dismissal have been collected. Why must we take a decision today?

 

Before entering the party’s headquarters, Robert Negoita, President of PSD’s Bucharest District 3 branch, stated that if the information according to which 30 party branch presidents signed – inside Liviu Dragnea’s office – a request for the withdrawal of political support for Premier Mihai Tudose is confirmed, this would “be profoundly wrong” and “unprincipled.”

“I’ve heard that signatures of the presidents of county branches have been collected at the Lower House Speaker’s office. If that happened, it’s profoundly wrong, unprincipled,” Negoita said. Negoita arrived at the PSD headquarters alongside Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea.

“We must promote normality and principled issues. To summon [party branch] presidents one by one and to ask them to sign, that’s profoundly unprincipled,” he commented.

Robert Negoita wondered “why must we take a decision today, so quickly.” “What’s the rush?” he added.

Asked whether he knows anything about the endeavour to collect signatures, PSD Executive President Niculae Badalau answered: “I don’t know, but this is not statutory.”

 

PM Mihai Tudose: First day at Victoria Palace is the first of the last days

 

When arriving at the ExCom meeting, Premier Mihai Tudose did not make statements on his conflict with Liviu Dragnea, stating only that “the first day at the Victoria Palace is the first of the last days.”

Prime Minister Mihai Tudose stated having conveyed very clearly to his colleagues in the Social Democratic Party that the first day holding the office at the Victoria Palace is one of the last days [as government members],” when asked by the press what will he do in case the PSD’s National Executive Committee (CExN) withdraws the political support.

“Each day we go home, right? I told my colleagues very clearly, the first day at Victoria Palace is the first day of the last days,” Mihai Tudose stated, when asked by the press if he is ready to “go home” in case the party withdraws its political support.

 

Tudose backed by at least 10 party branches in case of no-confidence motion

 

Political calculations before the start of PSD’s NatExCom meeting showed that Premier Mihai Tudose enjoys the support of the MPs of at least 10 party branches, according to Social Democratic sources quoted by Mediafax, including the branches from Vrancea, Constanta, Buzau and Dambovita, so that a potential no-confidence motion tabled at Liviu Dragnea’s request would have no chances of success.

“Without the 10 branches that back Tudose – including Iasi, Constanta, Buzau, Dambovita, Giurgiu, Caras, Timis, which have many MPs – they lack the majority to topple the Government,” PSD sources told Mediafax.

According to the sources, Mihai Tudose enjoys the support of the branches that won most seats in Parliament in the 2016 elections.

“Basically, Liviu Dragnea’s people have no chance to form another Government, because the no-confidence motion won’t pass. This isn’t a situation like that in which the Grindeanu Government fell,” the sources added.

In fact, in October 2017, back when European Grants Minister Rovana Plumb, Development Minister Sevil Shhaideh, and Transport Minister Razvan Cuc were reshuffled, President Klaus Iohannis warned PSD that the scenario of losing the Government cannot be ruled out entirely – “If this Government (led by Mihai Tudose – editor’s note) were to fall too, then I would have to wonder, extremely seriously, whether the PSD still has the capacity to govern.”

 

Gabriela Firea asks for “precautionary measures” in order that the current situation will not repeat in a few months: We are in PSD, we are not in any one’s clique 

 

Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea came to PSD on Monday, together with the district mayors of Bucharest, asking for “precautionary measures” in order for the current will not repeat in a few months, and announcing that she is not part of “any one’s clique”.

Bucharest Mayor advocated for “returning to the vote granted by Romanians” and for the “respect for them”.

“We wish a united party, a team to work with the engines to the fullest, we would like ourselves to focus on projects, and less on internal fights” she said, being flanked by the PSD district mayors.

In her opinion, it is important that “PSD will not lose anything, being divided, decimated” after the Monday meeting.

“We, all the colleagues in the districts, strongly wish to see what’s next” and “not to risk to have the same situation again in a few months” Firea stated, adding that “precautionary measures” are needed “in order for such moments not to repeat in a few months”.

Gabriela Firea said that she “is not glad at all that PSD is mentioned by using terms like clique, group, areas of interest”.

“We are in PSD, we are not in any one’s clique, in any one’s group” she stated.

 

 Ionut Vulpescu: Let’s solve the moment of crisis, otherwise we turn the governance and the party into a “manea”

 

The former Culture Minister Ionut Vupescu called for solving the crisis within PSD before the CEx meeting, since otherwise there is a risk to turn the governance and the party into a “manea”  (oriental-like song– editor’s note).

“It is a moment of crisis that we have to solve, otherwise we will turn the governance and the party into a ‘manea’ and…” the PSD Vice Chair Vulpescu stated.

As for turning PSD into a “manea”, Vulpescu didn’t mention who did this, but he only stated that “this risk exists”.

 

Petre Daea, before the CEx meeting of PSD, being asked if PM should resign: “What a beautiful snow! There is snow on crops!”

 

Agriculture Minister Petre Daea referred to the snow and to the “snow on crops” when coming to PSD in order to attend the CEx meeting. “Look, what a beautiful snow, there is snow on crops!” he said to the journalists.

Asked if PM Mihai Tudose should resign, Daea continued: “There is snow on crops! It’s alright!”

 

Teodorovici attacks Tudose and ministers who back PM

 

Eugen Teodorovici, Chairman of the Senate’s Budget Committee, has intervened in the conflict and has attacked Premier Mihai Tudose and the Transport, European Grants and Tourism ministers who have expressed their support for the Premier, stating that “those who lead the party must show wisdom and pragmatism,” so that the decisions that will be adopted at the National Executive Committee on Monday “would ensure that this country is governed in an efficient and commonsensical way.”

“I watched carefully what happened in 2017 and early this year, and yet I still hope… (…) Politicians who, being incapable of proving their efficiency in the offices in which they were appointed, seek to make a name for themselves today by talking about ‘the seriousness with which the democratisation of the decision-making power in the party must be discussed,’ about how ‘the Premier bears the responsibility of governmental decisions that should be adopted within the Government’ and other such things. The amount of political and especially professional immaturity that results from fawning upon the Premier by exclusively crediting this Government with the success of designating the management authorities or of receiving the European grants from the 2014-2020 financial framework. It’s not even worth the trouble to remind the incumbent Minister Delegate for European Grants that that certainly does not represent success, the accreditation being done belatedly and at any rate not during this mandate, and most of the European grants that Romania received – and that he managed – were related to the projects phased during the previous financial framework. Still, it would be interesting for the main person responsible for the disastrous situation concerning European grants to point out which is the absorption target he plans for this year and the next, considering that last year’s target was missed,” the PSD Senator states in a message posted on Facebook, referring to European Grants Minister Marius Nica.

Teodorovici continues his attack, this time against Transport Minister Felix Stroe, who had also declared his support for Mihai Tudose by stating that “the Premier has the responsibility for the act of governance, but he should also have the [power of] decision.”

“Just as aloof from reality is the promise made by the Transport Minister, who wants to make us dream that the subway line to the Otopeni Airport will be operational by mid-2020. Not even his employees believe this promise that is disrespectful toward us all, just like one of the secretaries of state sought to explain by stating, in November 2017, that CFR stipulated for 2018 the money needed for the 2 km of railway line that would ensure the link with the Otopeni Airport,” the former PSD minister wrote.

He also criticises Tourism Minister Mircea Titus Dobre, saying that “statements the likes of ‘I expect that in the next NatExCom [meeting] we would discuss more about the ways this Government would function even better than it has done so far’ should be replaced with professional, applied discussions centred on concrete measures and targets.”

The Finance Minister was the next minister criticised by Teodorovici: “What signal of stability and predictability of fiscal measures, of professionalism in the fiscal-budgetary field, can be issued by a Finance Minister who ended up in the embarrassing situation of bursting into tears the moment he was talking about the measures adopted by the Government, thus trying to cover up his inability to substantiate them. Why was replacing this minister – who was unable to adopt even one measure meant to encourage and stimulate the business sector, who was unable to prevent the situation generated by the Premier’s message instigating hatred between citizens and multinational companies, between citizens and the banking system, between state-owned and private companies – refused? What are Premier Tudose’s arguments in favour of keeping this Finance Minister in office?”

Teodorovici claims that another proof from the long list of the incumbent Premier’s erroneous ways of tackling current problems consists of the situation at the Interior Affairs Ministry, where Tudose should have clarified as urgently as possible who were those who had backed the policeman accused of paedophilia, whether his superiors knew about it, whether the Chief of Police provided him with all the information, who tried to protect him and in what way.

“For those who still wonder on whose side I am, my stance is very clear, just as it was during the no-confidence motion against the “Grindeanu Government”: I’m on the party’s side! Now maybe more than ever, those leading the party must show wisdom, pragmatism, vision and, last but not least, must understand and prove the fact that PSD, the largest and the most important party in Romania, represents the only real solution for this country’s huge potential to be put to good use for the benefit of all Romanians, wherever they may live. I hope that the decision that will be adopted would ensure that this country is governed in an efficient, modern, predictable and commonsensical way, as all those who put their confidence in this party are expecting,” the former Finance Minister adds. Over the years, he was criticised or ironized by PSD leader Liviu Dragnea and was even threatened with dismissal from the helm of the Budget Committee after he filed an amendment to the Government ordinance on the split VAT, an amendment that would have made the measure mandatory solely for companies who have public contracts.

 

PSD House lawmaker: Predictability, coherence and continuity are the essential attributes of governance

 

Social Democratic lawmaker Danut Pale, representing Buzau County in the Lower House, expressed his support for the Tudose Government on Monday and stated that “predictability, coherence and continuity are the essential attributes of governance.” According to the lawmaker, the Tudose Government has proven that it can implement the governance programme “in an efficient and balanced way.”

“Unity and dialogue in a party are the most prized possessions such an organisation has in a democratic society. Predictability, coherence, and continuity are the essential attributes of governance. All of this taken together, when we are talking about a ruling party, results in projects that are beneficial for citizens. I believe we have the responsibility – as a party elected with the majority of Romanians’ votes – to offer them a stable political, economic and social framework, not to hinder ourselves when something is going well, to admit that the citizen’s interest must stand above anything else. And at the current moment, the citizen’s interest consists of constructive dialogue between decision-making factors and, most importantly, the continued implementation of the governance programme, something that the current Government has proven it can do in an efficient and balanced way,” Danut Pale wrote on Facebook.

In Buzau, most of the Social Democrats holding offices within the party branch have publicly expressed their support for Mihai Tudose. Mihai Tudose’s team includes PSD Buzau President Marcel Ciolacu, who is close to the Premier.

 

ForMin Teodor Melescanu: I don’t plan to resign

 

Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu stated on Monday that he does not intend to resign, even though “any member of Government can be reshuffled.”

Asked on Monday, during a press conference occasioned by the launch of Bulgaria’s EU Council presidency, whether he believes his portfolio is among those that could be reshuffled against the backdrop of Government reshuffle talks, Melescanu said that “any member of Government can be reshuffled” and that he does not intend to resign.

“Concerning those that could be reshuffled, any member of Government can be reshuffled. You asked me whether it involves me. From this standpoint, however, I cannot give you an answer, because I’m not the one reshuffling myself. I assure you I certainly don’t intend to resign, so we’re talking about a decision that the Prime Minister will propose and that will be accepted, approved, by the leaders of the PSD-ALDE ruling coalition,” the minister said.

“From the standpoint of its impact, it has no influence on foreign policy, which is a national policy, it’s not a party policy or an ideological policy. It’s a policy able to reflect the promotion of Romania’s national interest, and we’re doing this, and some of us really know how to continue doing it, regardless of the conditions in which we carry out our activity,” Melescanu added.

 

Prime Minister Tudose loses political support from party; will resign tonight or tomorrow

 

Prime Minister Mihai Tudose has announced, on Monday evening, at the end of the meeting of the National Executive Committee (CExN) of the Social Democrat Party (PSD), that he has lost the support of the party and will resign as Prime Minister.

“I am leaving with my head held high”, Tudose said.

He mentioned that he will not be assuming the role of caretaker Prime Minister.

When asked if he will resign following the loss of support from the party, the Prime Minister replied that he will do so “tonight, maybe tomorrow”.

 

 

 

 

 

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