Florin Cîțu announced his resignation from the National Liberal Party (PNL) leadership on Saturday, just six months after being installed as party president. The party leaders who had endorsed him back then have now demanded his replacement and the rapid organization of a new congress to elect a new leadership.
Citu made the announcement at the PNL headquarters, where he had convened a leadership meeting, but boycotted by party leaders.
“I would have liked to resign my colleagues. It was not possible, I just registered it with the party”, the resigning chair said.
“The role of this meeting was to talk to my colleagues with whom I set out to give a PNL breath. I also wanted to talk a little about my actions that were criticized in the public space regarding this compromise with PSD. Yes, it is true, I have never been comfortable with this compromise with PSD. I was right, inflation is rising, interest rates are rising. All of them will have effects and it is a pity because there are measures that help Romanians to increase their pensions and salaries, but these measures must be carried out wisely”, said Florin Cîţu.
Cîțu insisted that for him the PNL coalition – PSD was not a natural thing – it was a “difficult thing to digest”.
“I did not have the chance to talk to my colleagues, unfortunately, they did not want to attend the only statutory meeting, all the others are non – statutory and it is a pity. PNL, a ruling party, shows today that it does not respect the status and goes on with this event. After all, it is the decision of my colleagues. And one last thing: we are a ruling party. There is war near Romania and the economic situation is deteriorating, but the EBRD has shown that the economic dynamics have been reduced from 4 estimates to 2.8 and I think it will be worsened”, Florin Cîţu added. Asked what he blamed on his colleagues, the resigned PNL leader replied: “I want to make sure that we keep our liberal principles and values. I would have liked a serious discussion with my colleagues. They lacked courage.”
Asked if he would resign as president of the Senate, he retorted: “There are other discussions, we will see what happens there.”
At the meeting convened by him for 12.00, only his trusted man, Dan Vîlceanu, came, who also resigned from the position of PNL general secretary and announced he would resign also from the position of the EU Funds minister. Theodor Stolojan and Cristian Băcanu also attended the meeting. Citu claimed that this meeting of the Executive Bureau is the only statutory one convened over the weekend.
On September 25, Prime Minister Florin Cîțu won the race for the leadership of the National Liberal Party with less than 1,000 votes in addition to his opponent, Ludovic Orban. Surrounded and strongly supported by the “winning team”, Cîțu was also strongly supported by the president Klaus Iohannis.
Now, the same team (including Rares Bogdan, Lucian Bode), but also about 50 branch leaders, have planned his disembarkation from the party leadership and a party congress in which to elect Nicolae Ciucă as president.
Two of the Liberal local leaders who initially supported Citu, but now they joined the voices asking for his resignation, Ciprian Ciucu, head of PNL Bucharest, and Alexandru Muraru, leader of PNL Iași, told Digi 24 that Citu’s resignation was asked on the ground that the former chairman attacked the government around a liberal prime minister, did not co-opt PM Nicolae Ciucă in the negotiations for the formation of the government and did not consulted with the local organizations in making some decisions and for the appointments from certain political positions.
The National Council was convened for Sunday, the forum that can trigger an extraordinary PNL congress, according to the party’s Statute. The congress was set for April 10.
Sources from the party said that Nicolae Ciuca, the incumbent Prime Minister, is favorite to take over the chairman position in PNL.