Antonescu announces resignation from Senate President post

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The National Liberal Party (PNL) leader Crin Antonescu has tendered resignation from Senate President at a plenary sitting of Parliament on Tuesday.

Photo credit: (c) Liviu Sova / AGERPRES FOTO

Antonescu, addressing the legislature earlier, had called on Prime Minister Victor Ponta to tender resignation together so as to show the Social Liberal Union (USL) no longer exists.

'This was to be proved, Mr Prime Minister. Honourable colleagues, I resign from the position of Senate President', Antonescu said, afterwards asking to address the sitting again.

He left as chairman of the meeting in which a vote of confidence in the Victor Ponta No. 3 Cabinet is to be taken and sat down by the side of his party fellows in the hall.AGERPRES

The Liberal leader's resignation from Senate President was the result of a prolonged verbal dispute with Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

Ponta had initially stated that USL was still in place 'in various forms', in his opinion 'the most visible' being the fact that the presidents of the Deputies' Chamber and Senate are elected by the USL majority.

In reply, Antonescu asked Ponta to tender resignation together.

'Mr. Victor Ponta, you see in my position as Senate Speaker the sign that USL is still in place. I won't say that USL no longer exists. Do you have the courage to tender resignation together from the positions we held as USL? We are here in the plenum of Parliament, everybody is, your advisers, the journalists, I resign from the position of senate president USL has given me, you resign from the position of prime minister USL has given you. I already know the answer. We are not doing this. You don't have the courage, for a very simple reason, not because you have to go before the President, this is not a problem, it would not be the first time, but because, I'm sorry Mr. Prime Minister, but it's true, I remain the same if I'm no longer the president of the Senate, my hands are not at all tied, on the other hand you are nothing, if resigning from prime minister.'

In reply to the request of Crin Antonescu, Victor Ponta said he has no intention of resigning, making reference to a former statement of President Basescu: 'As far as I am concerned, we have a President who announced that he would tender his resignation in five minutes, he is still in office. We have a president of the Senate who announced that if the referendum is not passed, he resigns, he is still in office. I want to quote from Mr. Basescu. He said: What a curse to this country: after a president who said he is willing to resign, but he changed his mind, another president says the same thing and then changes his mind. I am not saying I resign, don't worry.'

Right after the Premier's speech, Antonescu announced his resignation and was replaced at the rostrum by the Social Democrat senator Cristian Dumitrescu. AGERPRES

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