Ponta: We must have new Gov't by March 8; I urge PNL to keep USL rule

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Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Monday, on behalf of the Social Democratic Union (USD) - an electoral alliance for the elections to the European Parliament, made up of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), the National Union for Romania's Progress (UNPR) and the Conservative Party (PC) - urged the Liberals to keep the Social Liberal Union (USL) ruling formula, pointing out that, in case the Liberals withdrew their ministers from the Government, a new governmental structure would be presented to Parliament by March 8, when the interim period at the Interior Ministry concluded.

'We are making this appeal and we are voicing our hope that wisdom will prevail and our colleagues of the National Liberal Party [PNL, USL member] will remain by our side in the governance act. In case PNL decides to withdraw from the Government the PNL ministers, I shall nominate Cabinet members to replace them and we shall try, as long as the constitutional time limits allow us, to find a political solution for the governance to continue under the USL formula. When the time limits expire, if there is no solution to continue ruling together with PNL, I shall go to Parliament with a government structure allowing the fulfilment of the measures promised to the population and I shall announce that, from USD's point of view, the invitation to PNL to join us both in the central structures, parliamentary and governmental, and in the local ones, remains valid and that the medium and long-term solution for Romania is this one,' Ponta said at the end of the PSD Standing Bureau meeting, also attended by UNPR and PC leaders, Gabriel Oprea and Daniel Constantin, respectively.

Victor Ponta added that since the interim period at the Interior Ministry expired on March 8, the other interim ministers would have a shorter mandate than the legal 45-day period.

'The interim period at the Interior Ministry expires on March 8, therefore by that date we must have a new government. The ones to come [after PNL steps down from the government] will not stay 45 days, because, after the expiration of the 45 days, we cannot appoint a new ad-interim minister at the Interior Ministry. The time limit is March 8. It is the time limit when the 45 days expire and we cannot go any further or have a government without an interior minister,' Ponta underscored.

When asked if the working option of convening Parliament for a government reshuffle was still standing, Ponta replied that the answer was a positive one only if PNL accepted the idea of reshuffling the government, in the manner agreed by all four parties.

Moreover, Victor Ponta pointed out he had a mandate from USD to carry out talks for shaping up a majority supporting his Cabinet.

'I shall initiate, and I have the mandate to do it, talks to make up a majority supporting the Government. However, any discussions we might have will start from the idea that the invitation extended to the Liberal colleagues remains valid and, most certainly, anyone supporting this government must know this open offer we shall have for PNL, that sooner or later we can continue together the USL project, which supposes a joint ruling and a common candidate in the presidential elections. (...) On behalf of the parties organised in USD, we are making an appeal to our colleagues of the ruling coalition, to PNL, to keep the governance under the USL formula, to have nominations for the portfolios belonging to PNL, according to Parliament's political vote, and, obviously, an appeal to governmental and political solidarity in meeting the objectives that laid the foundation of the USL,' the Prime Minister also said. AGERPRES

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