Tag Archives: Victor Ponta

Romania’s Prime Minister Resigns. But on the streets the protests go on !

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced the resignation of his government Wednesday following huge protests in the wake of a nightclub fire that killed more than 30 people.

Romanians fill the Calea Victoriei, a main avenue of the Romanian capital, during a large protest in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. More than 10,000 marched down the city's main boulevards and then massed outside the government offices Tuesday evening calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea and the mayor of the district where the Colectiv nightclub, the venue of a deadly fire last week, was located.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Romanians fill the Calea Victoriei, a main avenue of the Romanian capital, during a large protest in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. More than 10,000 marched down the city’s main boulevards and then massed outside the government offices Tuesday evening calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea and the mayor of the district where the Colectiv nightclub, the venue of a deadly fire last week, was located.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

“I’m handing in my mandate, I’m resigning, and implicitly my government too” Ponta said in a statement. He said the government would stay on until a new one is in place. “I am obliged to take note of the legitimate grievances which exist in society” said Ponta.

Although former Prime Minister said: “I hope handing in my and my government’s mandate will satisfy the demands of protesters”, the protests continue in Romania’s capital and the main cities. People ask about the Parliament resign and early elections. Romania is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in December 2016, but some are now predicting that they could be held as early as the spring, with an interim cabinet in place until then.

About 20,000 people took to the streets of Bucharest on Tuesday evening in a spontaneous protest calling for the resignation of Ponta, the interior minister, Gabriel Oprea, and the mayor of the district where the Colectiv nightclub was located.

UPDATE:  As protests in Romania continue, despite the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, it has become clear that Cioloș will take over as prime minister until elections are held in December 2016, said Euroactiv.com.

”Having the former Commissioner in charge seems like a good idea. Not only will it be seen well in Brussels, but Cioloș is one of the rare public figures in Romania who is not perceived as corrupt. Indeed, Cioloș didn’t spend much time in public office in Romania. Before becoming Commissioner in 2009, he worked for the European Commission’s delegation to Romania, and before that, as a scholar on internships in France. His wife Valérie is French.”

Ionel Nitu: “The electoral campaign attacks ad have been under the limit of decency”

Mr Ionel Nitu is a top Intelligence analyst, Executive Director of Intergraph Computer Services, the Romanian partner of the American corporation, Intergraph.  For over 16 years, Ionel Niţu worked at the Romanian Intelligence Service – SRI, where he held various middle and top management positions. He was for many years, the Head of the SRI Analysis Division.


– According to the opinion polls given to the press, it seems clearly that there will be two ballots and the candidates for the final round are also known. Mr Nitu, what chances might be to exist some surprises?

Ionel Nitu: – As I have said in an interview published in April 2014, the two finalists are called Victor Ponta and Klaus Johannis. I do mention that by that time, none of them were official candidates for the Presidency. There will be no surprises that will change this reality.

– How do you foresee that the vote options will be distributed in the second ballot?


Ionel Nitu

I.N.: – Both candidates will have cca. 70% of the votes. None of the others will pass 10%. Some will not even get the votes from the ones that signed for their nomination (min. 200.000 votes, which means 2% if there will be 10 million voters).

But, there is a competition for reaching some psychological threshold in the first ballot: 40, 30, 10 and 5 %. I suppose are known the candidates names. If Victor Ponta gets more than 40%, and Klaus Johannis under 30% (even if the difference between the numbers are extremely low), the voters of the second candidate could be demobilized. If both will have results that begin with 3 (for example 31% and 39%), it will be, psychologically speaking, a greater hope for a possible victory for the one from the second place.

The others are fighting for their own electoral pool confirmation for the notoriety and, eventually, for negotiations between the ballots with the finalists. Only one has the hope of a future Prime-Minister position.

Regarding to the second ballot, there are many other hypothesizes. We don’t know if there will be more or less voters than in the first ballot. To be certain, not all the voters from the first ballot will come to the second one too.

Maybe for sure those that will come in the second one will come for the negative vote.

– What do you think that the main component are fundamental on the option of Romanians to choose a candidate or another: the person, the ideology that he/she claims, the party discipline, the electoral program (I just joking!)?

I.N.: – The vote at Romanians is more emotional, not rational. Moreover, this campaign – that unofficial began in 2012 – has been so complex and had so many turnovers, that it has been no place for debates on TV programs. In the first ballot, it will matter the mobility of the parties. In the second one it will also count the analysis, as a comparison, between the two finalists.

What main errors have you noticed in the campaign strategies, errors that you deem to have had a bad impact regarding to the ranking in voters preferences?

I.N.: – There have been plenty of them and I prefer not to talk about them. I would remark that some have not been used with efficiency by the competitors.

Mainly, there were errors diverted from the absence of coherent strategies, but also errors because of some conjunctures. Some conjunctures have been deliberately caused.

– Given that in the last month we assisted to a ”reality show” in which – between two exposures about endemic corruption of the political class and the examination/restraint of some well-known names from the political picture of Romania – were implied the same as commercials, some news/declarations/advertising from the electoral campaign, do you believe that a serious electoral program and a proper strategy could have permeated and persuaded the electorate?

I.N.: – As already I have said in other articles, in this campaign President Basescu and the force institutions of state will make the difference.

There is more to discuss about this justice revived at maximum speed in full electoral campaign, but what I can’t correctly estimate is the effect over the electorate. It will be or not motivated to go and vote? It will punish in a way or another the corrupt politician? It will determine a pro or contra behavior of electorate ?

Regarding to the political programs, the messages seem that have not came to the electorate. It has been rather used by the candidate’s campaign teams for the attacks. It was a mudslinging campaign. But this is not the big bad. Actually, these attacks ad from this campaign have been under the limit of decency.

RomPres1– You will vote for sure. I have also noticed that you are a fervent “activist” in combating absenteeism. I will not ask with whom you are going to vote. But in exchange, I will ask you for an advice. What should the ones that have not been persuaded by any of the candidates do? (I too am one of these 🙂 ) How could we manifest our civic sense?

I.N.: – Personally, I have not voted for a long time. But this time, I will go. I am going because I know with whom I’ll vote. Because I have identified among the candidates one that is my model as a President. I have identified the person that, by his behavior and thinking mode, resembles my expectations regarding to this high position in state. I advise my all close ones to go no matter whom they are choosing to vote. Go and vote if you see in one of the candidates the salvation of this country!  This country must be taken out from the morass of history.

If you are not identifying a model in none of these 14, at least go  and vote the ”minor evil”. Not least, go and vote so you can limit the likelihood of electoral fraud.

I think that the action of voting should be treated more seriously. Because it is about our future, our children’s future, the future of all of us for the next 5 or even 10 years. The vote is the purest manifestation of democracy ! The absenteeism could be considered a reprimand to the improper political class, but I do not see in this attitude a plus for democracy – yet poor-developed/strengthened – in Romania.

– Does the restoration of civic spirit of the Romanians represent the key of a future and mature reformation of the actual political class? Where do you believe that the rebuilding of social cohesion and of a normal report between the government and the political leaders of this country must begin?

I.N.: – The reformation and modernization of the state must begin with the reformation and modernization of the political class. The rebuilding of social cohesion must begin from the value system.

There are extremely important things to be discussed here. I can tell you that many of my ideas have found their place where it belongs. I won’t resume them here because I don’t want you to know with whom I will vote. I am neither a trainer nor a distorting reviewer.

I am just an analyst. I give advices and ideas to any who can take and implement them. Not the ideas are the ones that matter; after all we are all connected to the same thinking currents. The sobriety and the leader’s determinations to put them into practice is what matters in fact! It also matters their effect on medium and long term on the citizen, on the society. This is all. The rest are just stories.

interview made by Gabriela Ionita

translation by Iolanda von Wunderstein

Romania – China strategic partnership: from an agenda of good intentions to concrete results ?

At the beginning of midsummer agenda of Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta included an Asian tour, during which he had several bilateral meetings among the most significant being the counterpart Chinese Li Keqiang, the head of government in Hong Kong Leung Chun-ying and even the new president of China, Xi Jinping.

And after returning to the motherland, a european country in official document but “balkan” in behavior and attitude within its essential institutional cell, media agenda divided between presidential &government team – with a multitude of accusations, without apology but with more emphasis and explanations that went down to the proletarian propaganda (a sign that to the government level, communication remained somewhere in the century past). Much, less ? With warrant or without warrant from the Cotroceni Palace ? With or without businessmen delegation ? With or without a detailed plan previously established by the diplomatic steps? The truth, as usual, seems to be somewhere in the middle. And the answers to these questions do not alter the existing reality.

We havea partnership.How will manage it?

From all these issues surface about which nobody will remember after five or ten years, we have one thing certain, and positive: the opening (or re-opening) a diplomatic landing, systematically neglected the last twenty years – Asia, with overlooking to the main global player in the Asia-Pacific and the second in the world economy (even if in serious crisis and creaking from its all joints): China. Romania, through its fleeting executive leader, has achieved a very important goal for Romania, which is the first in East-European area that won a meeting with Chinese President and Prime Minister, quickly after they took their office“, and now has an affirmative agenda with the economic giant that seems to make the rules of the geopolitical games of the XXI century. Is thissomethingto be condemned ?

Rather I think we should see how we can to materialize all these statements of good intent. How many of the investments of the Secretariat China Eastern Europe (program initiated by former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, in which Romania has become one of the countries that aimed at access resources from the $ 10 billion budget provided by the Chinese side) will focus on Romania and how many will also bear fruit? Do we have laws that provide a business climate if not attractive at least normal? How do we solve institutionalized corruption that makes to the most stoic investor to run out? But the frauds of fiscal field? How many of the current ministers are actually able to manage the country’s interest in such projects? There are some questions to which the Prime Minister should think a little more than to the superficial discord generated by oversized egos (his own and of the President, of course).

We have strengths. How will use them?

Moreover, we have a well thought and strategic plan, rooted in economic reality of the country concerning targeted partnerships? Or will usually accept any crumb that they offer, because we are unable to use our own strengths? Latter option seems unfortunately very likely.

And to convince me that I’m wrong, the Ponta cabinet ministers (headed even with him) should explain to the public what kind of approach strategy they have. The fact that we have projects and opportunities is important and nothing. We are not only ones who have. Right, we are now outside the euro zone turmoil. But to claim thatwe will open the gates of Europe for China” is a PM`s teenage arrogance“, as funny as that of jumping over the linein diplomatic meetings. And it’s not enough a partnership, even beautifully packaged and labeled “strategic.” Romania has also other strategic partnerships with leading global players. But concrete results of these partnerships are still awaited, for a long time.

China CNOOCIn the book “China’s Choice” Hugh White reiterates the main economic partnership XXI century relationship between the U.S. and China, suggesting the need for a new vision and approach and arguing with figures why is necessary to waive the existing status quo practiced by the United States and to avoid strategic rivalry could prove harmful to United States interests, and by extension to the entire world economy. Regarding Romania, there is no question of rivalry, but that of necessity. Not just ours (as was the case with U.S. partnership, which combined with the incompetence of our government gave a logical result – we are rather “with losses” than with significant gains! I remember about because it are clamed intensive the infrastructure projects led by Minister Sova).  And if we talk about investments in energy, I suppose that the Minister Nita`s experts fully understand that the growth pattern of China’s planned investments aimed strictly needs to compensate their shortcomings. Specifically, Chinese energy companies are obliged to seek profits overseas to compensate their lamentable businesses at home.

Recently, in an analysis, published by Quartz, expert Steve LeVine noted that “China is nowhere near self-sufficient in energy, so companies like PetroChina and Sinopec must import much of the country’s oil. They’re also highly vulnerable to fluctuations in world energy prices, unable to pass on increases to consumers because of government price caps, as such losses will be transferred elsewhere”. Meanwhile, energy companies from China also want to gain financially by the sale of oil and gas (that they produce abroad) on world markets, competing with giants like BP, Chevron or ExxonMobil. I think we should know where Romania stand in this amalgam of giant interests. And what are the practical and pragmatic criteria by which we choose our partners, apart from the traditional “bribecharged by various politicians?

When also a strategic partnership with Romania?

And there’s something else to think about: will have someday the wisdom to not bury every viable projects of predecessors just because they belong to the opposite camp? Because that’s exactly what all governments have done in the last two decades with a fervor  worthy of a better cause.

We will learn to be flexible and open-minded, more attached to the fund and not the form, if the fund aims to benefit others – more to the detriment of unique and personal interest? I watch to the Romanian political scene and if tomorrow someone should replace the Prime Minister Ponta, I’m unable to nominate someone who fulfills those criteria. Basic criteria.

I think before to fight on statements about who and how many strategic partnerships (which, I reiterate, it’s not a bad thing!) have signed with world heavyweights, Romania’s top politicians, with direct reference to the prime minister and president, would be good to think a strategic partnership with their country. Because, although it’s not a monument of intelligence in its entirety, Romanian people understand that the huge wealth of politicians, is not collected of wages paid by the Romanian taxpayer, but from the other “benefits” of their statute that would not had access without its vote. As such is entitled to priority as a strategic partner.

Published by Cadran Politic, July 2013. Romanian version here.