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Bucharest, June 5 /Agerpres/ - Co-chairs of the Opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) Alina Gorghiu and Vasile Blaga have argued that Prime Minister Victor Ponta stepping down is mandatory, urging Ponta to do so in order to avert a political crisis.

'Victor Ponta must resign immediately, because the accusations levelled at him are incompatible with holding the office of the prime minister. The situation in which Ponta finds himself now makes office resignation mandatory. Such action cannot wait. Any delay is able to put Romania in an ingrate position vis-a-vis its international partners. This is not political theme we are talking about, as Victor Ponta tries to picture it, but highly severe accusations which, pending their clarification, seriously affect the Government's domestic and external credibility making the continuation of governance under efficient and good representation conditions highly difficult,' Gorghiu and Blaga said in a joint news statement released on Friday.

The two national leaders of PNL are urging Ponta to step down as prime minister and calling on Ponta's Social Democratic Party (PSD) to advise Ponta accordingly.

'We are urging Victor Ponta to place Romania's interests and picture above his wish to stay in power, to respect the function and organisations of the Romanian state and consequently to step down to avoid [Romania] getting into a political crisis. There is no haggling over public offices. We are also calling on the Social Democrats with a modicum of lucidity to advise Ponta to resign his governmental office. If the incumbent prime minister clings to his office and PSD leaders continue to ignore the accusations of the judiciary against Ponta, then Ponta and PSD will have to take responsibility for the political crisis,' says Gorghiu and Blaga.

They conclude by saying that given the context, a motion of censure by PNL is the only democratic parliamentary demarche 'that can penalise the impudent attitude toward Romanians, justice and democratic rules by getting rid of Victor Ponta.'

Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation against Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) announced on Friday.

"According to the legal and constitutional provisions," the DNA opened the procedure of notification of the Chamber of Deputies. The release of the DNA to AGERPRES mentions that the charge against Ponta was conflict of interests in his capacity of Prime Minister. The lower chamber of the Parliament has to approve the criminal investigation, as Ponta is also a deputy.

DNA mentions that the prosecutors ordered the investigation on forgery, continued complicity to tax evasion and money laundering in a corruption case involving the legal counselling for the energy companies of Turceni and Rovinari, allegedly perpetrated by Victor Ponta when he was a lawyer. The prosecutors later found that the investigation should be extended to include three counts of conflict of interests after he became Prime Minister. AGERPRES

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