A potential party congress could be convened by the National Liberal Party’s (PNL) National Council this summer, according to political sources, after several Liberals have expressed their discontent with party leader Ludovic Orban and want him replaced. The PNL leader denies the information.
According to PNL sources, the discussions started several weeks ago. Several Liberals expressed their discontent with the party’s current leader because he did not consult the party when taking important decisions. Filing a criminal complaint against Viorica Dancila and accepting MEP Siegfried Muresan in the party were among those decisions.
The same party sources claim that Orban is being reproached for the fact that PNL had no nomination for the Premier’s office at the consultations on the forming of a new Government, which took place early this year. At the same time, last week’s no-confidence motion was a failure for the Liberals, and Orban is identified as the main person to blame, for not negotiating with the UDMR so that the Union’s lawmakers would have voted for the motion.
The PNL President is blamed for the Administrative Code too, because he allegedly promised one thing to Liberal mayors and asked the party’s lawmakers to vote against.
Moreover, some do not consider Ludovic Orban suitable to lead the party because he disputes the USR but “behaves like a member of the USR. He does nothing of substance,” one PNL member said.
According to the aforementioned sources, on Monday the Executive Bureau might convene a National Council meeting in which the holding of a party congress meant to replace the current leadership would be tabled.
Two names are allegedly in the books for PNL’s leadership: Iulian Dumitrescu and Marian Petrache. Asked whether he is interested in taking over the party, Petrache has stated only that this is not the right time for such a discussion.
“If you look at my resume, you see I’ve been a member since 2000 and the only thing that has interested me has been the well-being of this party. I can’t talk about this based on suppositions. When we get to that point I’m sure the party will find the best option. I’m not discussing hypotheticals. I’ve held offices within the party, it wouldn’t be okay for me to express all kinds of options at this moment,” Marian Petrache told Mediafax.
The information that President Klaus Iohannis has discussed the PNL’s situation with several Liberals has appeared. However, Marian Petrache denies such a scenario.
“All kinds of games and interests that are natural after all. I don’t believe there were meetings at Klaus Iohannis’s. That some could have visited Klaus… it’s possible, but in this manner, organised, I really don’t believe. And the President, because I know him better than others, he is not the kind of man who would enter this kind of games. I believe someone did this out of interest, and we’ll see it in the following period. It’s a game. But I believe this option is possible, that someone was interested in seeing what the reactions are and did this. People want to test how this or that person position themselves,” Marian Petrache added for Mediafax.
The Mediafax news agency has sent an official address to the Presidency, asking it for details on the alleged talks.
On Friday, when asked whether he has information that his ousting is being attempted, Orban labelled the question a joke.
“It’s a joke. You will see it for yourself in fact, because for a month now PNL has been under informational bombardment made up of fake news that have absolutely no grounds, which in fact are not based on real overtures. The National Liberal Party is united, the National Liberal Party is strong, and the leadership elected at the party congress is acting in line with the mandate entrusted to it at the party conference,” Ludovic Orban said on Friday.
He admits that the National Council will be convened this month, but only to establish the criteria for the European Parliament elections.
“It is said very clearly when the procedure to convene an extraordinary party conference is scheduled, but so far nobody has asked for an extraordinary party conference, at least I don’t know of any such voice in the party. I’ve answered this question. The fake news factory with which PNL is being attacked in an attempt to present it as being in a state of turmoil stems, in fact, from the laboratories of our PSD-ALDE political adversaries and has absolutely no kind of basis in the political reality of the PNL. (…) It will be convened on July 15-30 and we will probably decide during Monday’s Executive Bureau,” Orban added.
Viorel Catarama announces bid for PNL leadership: My message is a clear, Liberal, right-wing message
PNL District 2 First Vice President Viorel Catarama stated on Friday, for Mediafax, that he will file his bid in case of an extraordinary party congress, and reproached party leader Ludovic Orban for taking several measures that have negatively affected the party.
“At present, from among all, I’m the only leader whom the public opinion and the press perceive as being an authentic Liberal leader. My message is a clear, Liberal, right-wing message. I have the capacity to negotiate and I’ve proven this in the past. I have an experience that allows me to take the party to 40 percent in the future parliamentary elections. I’m a businessman, I come from the private sector and I know the problems that Romania is facing, and I have clear solutions,” Viorel Catarama told Mediafax.
In recent days he has also stated that the incumbent PNL President must be removed from the helm of the party through statutory means. Asked what his reproaches for the current Liberal leader are, Catarama stated that he had the wrong attitude at the time the Government was formed, and also at the time of the no-confidence motion against the Dancila Government.
“I consider that any party member is more qualified to lead the party than Mr Orban is. I would list the main mistakes that have led to the current situation: the deficient way of acting when the Tudose Government resigned, when, by not nominating a candidate, the PNL did not give the President the possibility of tasking the Opposition with forming a new Government. Then the inadequate discourse toward the PSD, without proposing any alternative measures, any alternative programme. The third issue is the pro-judiciary attitude that the public opinion sometimes perceives as being hysterical and dishonest as a result of Ludovic Orban’s personal situation,” Viorel Catarama added.
At the same time, the leader of PNL’s Bucharest District 2 branch reproaches Orban for “the way he managed the latest no-confidence motion, when all parliamentary political forces that could form an alternative to the PSD stated in sync that Orban is a not a person of good appearance and a parliamentary coalition is not possible as long as he leads the party.”
Nicolae Robu: I feel that PNL’s discourse is parallel with the citizen and this can no longer continue. For the time being replacing Orban at the helm of the party is not advisable
Timisoara Mayor Nicolae Robu (PNL) has stated that PNL’s discourse is parallel with the citizen and the party must change this, must define its doctrine, and must exhibit its own identity. He pointed out that replacing Ludovic Orban at the helm of the PNL is not advisable for the time being.
“I said precisely this at the party conference too, that it’s time we should manifest an identity of our own. If we lost it, then we should redefine it. There is indeed disunity. Orban was elected with more than 80 percent of the votes. I wasn’t among his voters. Now I consider that we have other things to do rather than hold a party conference to replace Orban. It hasn’t been brought up yet, but there are voices in this sense. I believe we must clarify a lot of aspects, I gave you the example of the Administrative Code, we must define what we propose to the electorate, because the European Parliament elections are coming up shortly. Replacing Orban won’t change anything. Supporting him as president must continue, because if he was elected with more than 80 percent of the votes that means he was liked, however he mustn’t listen to a small group that guided him wrongly, in my opinion. I feel that PNL’s discourse is parallel with the citizen and this can no longer continue,” Timisoara Mayor Nicolae Robu stated in a phone interview with Antena3 on Saturday.
Asked whether he heard that talks between some Liberals and President Klaus Iohannis allegedly took place last week, over the potential replacement of PNL leader Ludovic Orban, Mayor Nicolae Robu said: “I know absolutely nothing. I’ve focused more on administration. In Timis we have excellent collaboration, regardless of the PNL-PDL roots of our members. We’ve had small tensions with some colleagues, but now we have PDL colleagues that I’m close to.”
On Friday, in a Facebook posting, Timisoara Mayor Nicolae Robu (PNL) encouraged Liberals to be united, against the backdrop of recent internal scandals, and recommended that the PNL President should allow parliamentarians to vote in favour of the Administrative Code, reproaching the party’s leadership for not consulting the mayors on this topic.