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August 17, 2022
POLITICS

Citugate: The scandal of Prime Minister Citu’s conviction in the United States 20 years ago is amplifying

The leftist opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD)  on Friday asked President Klaus Iohannis to confirm or deny whether he knew of Florin Citu’s criminal record when he signed him in for the position of Prime Minister of Romania. According to revelations made by media,  Prime Minister Florin Citu was charged for drunk driving in the United States 20 years ago. According to the records of the Iowa Court, Florin Citu was sentenced to spend 2 days in jail. He was also fined 1,000 USD for this serious misdemeanor.

 

PSD requests President Iohannis to confirm or deny whether he knew of Florin Citu’s criminal record

 

“The Social Democratic Party (PSD) is asking President Klaus Iohannis to confirm or deny whether he was aware of Florin Vasile Citu’s criminal conviction when he appointed him for the position of Prime Minister of Romania. This clarification to the public opinion is absolutely necessary, given that President Klaus Iohannis has personally endorsed Florin Citu for Prime Minister although the party that proposed him had lost last year’s elections,” PSD wrote in a press release.

The Social Democrats argue that if the President was in the know about Florin Citu’s this criminal conviction, he is obliged to explain to the public “why he has violated the personally assumed principle of not appointing a criminally convicted person as Prime Minister, regardless of where the nomination came from.”

“If, on the contrary, at the time of Citu’s appointment, Iohannis was not aware of his criminal conviction, it is mandatory for the President to publicly announce who he will hold accountable for this major national security breach which allowed a person with such a major vulnerability to accede to the helm of the Romanian Government. As for the propaganda of Citu’s supporters who are doing their utmost to suggest that it was a mere traffic fine, PSD underlines that the deeds for which Florin Citu was imprisoned are criminal offenses including the Romanian legislation. The criminal character of the sanction derives exactly from the prison sentence received by the current Prime Minister of Romania,” the release states.

 

Romanian PM admits drunk-driving offense in U.S. 20 years ago

 

Currently caught in a tough  electoral struggle for the leadership of the National Liberal Party (PNL) which is to be decided at a party congress next month, Romania’s Prime Minister Florin Citu on Wednesday has admitted a drunk-driving offense in the United States 20 years ago, for which he served two days in jail.

After reports of the incident surfaced in the media,  Citu called it “interesting” that this information had become public at a time when a power struggle is taking place within his ruling National Liberal Party (PNL).

Citu was given two days in jail and a $1,000 fine for driving under the influence of alcohol in Iowa in March 2001.

Aged 49, Romania’s Prime Minister  studied economics at the Grinnell College in Iowa. After graduation, he continued with a master’s program and a doctoral program at Iowa State University.

“I made a mistake 20 years ago…. It concerned driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) ,” Citu told journalists on August 11. It is interesting that during four election campaigns against the Social Democrats this information did not appear and it now appears during the internal competition in PNL”.

“It was a mistake for which I paid so much. I had to sell my car and I walked for a year. It’s not something to be proud of,” Citu added. However, he didn’t mention to the press that he went in jail.

“It is a contravention. I also paid traffic fines in Romania,” Florin Citu also said when asked by journalists if he informed the president Klaus Iohannis and the PNL chair,  Ludovic Orban about this situation, when he was appointed Prime Minister.

The information was published by Flux24 news platform. The timing of the eruption of this scandal which brings to the limelight this stain from the PM’s past is seen as an attempt to weaken Citu’s popularity before the internal elections within the National Liberal Party which are to take place on September 25.

Florin Citu’s main contender in the electoral struggle is Ludovic Orban, the former PM and the current leader of the Liberal Party.

Since the emergence of this scandal, Florin Citu avoided any public appearance. Ludovic Orban and his supporters denied any involvement.

Three days after the revelation appearing in the public space about the episode regarding Prime Minister Florin Citu’s conviction in the USA in 2000 for a DUI, President Iohannis, a vivid defender and promoter of the idea “without criminals in public offices”, has made no statement yet.

It is interesting to see what attitude the leaders of the other parties in the governing coalition will take towards this criminal conviction of Prime Minister Citu, which many blame not so much for the deed itself, but for the fact that he lied.

 

PNL’s Orban: We are affected by this episode regarding Citu’s conviction, I am profoundly hurt

 

The chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL), Ludovic Orban, stated on Thursday that this criminal episode from Florin Citu’s past  affects the image of the party.

“It’s normal that it affects us. We should have fly masks to pretend it doesn’t affect us. I am profoundly hurt. I am the chairman of the PNL, everything I did, all my work, all my efforts, all the efforts of the PNL team were to grow the PNL, to win elections, to bring the party to government. This is what I desire now as well. As a candidate for the chairmanship of the PNL I want to lead a strong PNL, which enjoys the confidence of people and such episodes affect the trust of citizens in the PNL, because it’s not a simple member, but it’s about the Prime Minister who is supported by the PNL,” stated Ludovic Orban at private broadcaster B1TV.

He mentioned that he did not have information regarding said episode in Florin Citu’s past.

“I was not told in interpersonal discussions this episode of his life, although, normally, we have had discussions. I supported Florin Citu as economic deputy chair of the party, group leader in the Senate, I supported him as Minister of Finance, I supported him as Prime Minister. In no discussion did he tell me about this episode in his life,” said the PNL chair, according to Agerpres.

In his opinion, Florin Citu should have made the information public before it appeared in the public space, as the probability it becomes known was very high.

The PNL leader also mentioned he has no involvement in the revelation regarding the PM’s past, in this context saying he was miffed by the attitude of some party colleagues.

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