By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
Romanian PM Victor Ponta sent President Traian Basescu an open letter in which he denounced a political cohabitation agreement the two arch-rivals had signed in December 2012 to put an end to dissentions and attacks that were threatening to spark a new political crisis and to create Romania a bad image among foreign partners, only six months after the worst political turmoil in post-communist Romania.
Ponta’s reaction comes after Basescu turned down two proposals Ponta had made for filling two jobs in the government, minister of Culture and Budget, which the head of state deemed inappropriate. He argued Rosalia Biro, a Magyar ethnic and a nominee for the Culture position, doesn’t speak Romanian properly while Claudiu Manda is too inexperienced to take up the Budget challenge.
The PM also reporached the President the latter would have said he used the cohabitation pact to „deceive” Ponta who was backed by a 70 per cent majority in the Romanian Parliament. But Basescu denied he had used the word „deceive”, saying the word was instead pronounced by a journalist who was interviewing the head of state.
„I still remain convinced that, in any political situation and beyond any personal dispute, the President and the PM have to cllaborate for the public good. Unfortunately, you have repeatedly proven you are not interested in this”Ponta told Basescu in the letter. He accused the President that he had digned the document in ill faith, without really assuming its principles. „Consequently, I am informing you that, under these circumstances, I can no longer consider the Institutional Cohabitation Pact signed in December 2012 as valid”, Ponta concluded.
In return, Basescu asked Ponta to reconsider his choice and released the transcript of the talk show in which he was referring to the cohabitation pact. Ï was with my back against the wall, with a 70 per cent majority that couldn’t talk to me. Thanks God, based on Ponta’s lack of experience, I succeeded in signing the famos Pact…”Basescu said during the talk show. „Do you mean you deceived him?”asked the anchor. „Yes, yes, he was a weaker politician than me”Basescu confirmed.
The pact had been signed in December 2012, only half a year after Ponta-led coalition tried to oust President Basescu, sparking the worst political crisis in post-communist Romania and drawing the ire of the West who condemned the prime-minister and his allies for attacking democratic institutions to reach his political goals. The end of the political agreement between the two first political men in the country means the beginning of the electoral battle in earnest, after Basescu said some candidates in the presidential elections this fall have some hidden things in their resumes and he warned he would dislose them. With Ponta being the frontrunner in these elections, according to current polls, he may become a target of choice for Basescu who has repeatedly warned Ponta is not fir for the top job in the country. Basescu alluded he may endorse Klaus Iohannis, German ethnic mayor of Sibiu, a city in central Romania, if he gets to the second round against Ponta.