Update: PSD, different positions on organising huge counter-rally in Bucharest to support pardon law. President’s involvement – criticized

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PSD leaders seem to be rather divided in dealing with the protests in Bucharest and throughout the country. Some vow ‘to go all the way’ in supporting the pardon law, others consider such issues should be better presented to the public opinion.

The social-democrats in the country are planning to organise a huge rally in Bucharest to support the ordinance for pardon, PSD’s deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu (photo 1) said Sunday evening for private TV broadcaster Romania TV.

“Our colleagues in the territory tell us they want to organise a huge rally to support the pardon bill, they want to bring 100,000 people to Bucharest. I see that the system does not understand: we will go all the way,” Stefanescu said.

Subsequently, Codrin Stefanescu told Antena 3 TV about the plans to get hundreds of thousands to the streets.

“I have a message for President Iohannis’ supporters: we will not give up! There are pressures on us from our colleagues in the country and from voters to organise counter-rallies. If we give the go-ahead, we can bring 200,000 people in front of Cotroceni Palace,” Stefanescu said, adding that a decision on this issue is expected on Monday.

On the other hand, PSD Deputy Chairman Mihai Chirica (photo 2), the city of Iasi Mayor, says the draft ordinances for pardon and for amending the Criminal Codes “should be presented more extensively and for everybody to understand.” Chirica told RFI he does not believe that street protests in recent days are the beginning of a state coup, as party leader Liviu Dragnea said.

“I think we are not necessarily witnessing a state coup. Firstly, a coup is conducted by those who want to seize the power. At the moment, I see no structure wanting to take the power. Therefore, it’s a wave of emotion.”

PSD deputy chair believes that the presence of President Klaus Iohannis among the demonstrators “was not appropriate, because it can bring an element of discussion between the camps, if we talk about the camps, he rather incited some of the demonstrators, so on this background we cannot reach a real expression of democracy.”

Mihai Chirica stresses that “PSD most certainly will not hold counter-rallies, that’s for sure, I do not think the issue will be discussed. Of course, the central leadership will make a decision in this regard and probably in the coming days it will be made public.”mihai chirica

The PSD Deputy Chairman requires a debate on pardon and on amending the criminal codes: “I believe it should be presented and extensively explained. The elements that can bring endless discussions and can stimulate public opinion in a negative way should be amended accordingly. A rational analysis should be conducted, because it’s not Romania to have invented the amnesty law (…), it should be seen if it is absolutely necessary and whether this solution should be adopted or another solution that would reconcile the spirits.”

Party branches – ready to follow central leadership

PSD Hunedoara leader Laurentiu Nistor says “this country cannot be left like this, for anyone to mock it. I don’t want rallies, the central leadership will decide. The 30,000 in the street cannot dominate the millions that voted for PSD. President Iohannis’ blunder is a big one.”

PSD Suceava chairman, Senator Ioan Stan says local supporters ask him to take stand against those trying to sabotage the government. “They are trying to change the government agenda, to stop the governing programme, a programme in favour of all Romanians,” Stan says.

PSD Prahova leader Bogdan Toader is waiting for a decision in Bucharest. “If they decide on a rally, we will participate.”

PSD Timis Executive chairman Calin Dobra says his branch is ready to take part to counter-rallies. “However, I don’t believe this should be the approach, we can discuss so that everyone understands what the two ordinances stand for,” Dobra says.

PSD Cluj chairman, Horia Nasra avoided saying other protests should be organised, but claimed the presence to the rally on Sunday of PNL and USR members as well as the presence of President Iohannis have politicized the initiative.

Tens of thousands took to the streets in Bucharest on Sunday evening and other thousands in the Romanian big cities, to protest against the Government’s intention to amend the criminal codes and decriminalize the conflict of interests and to table a draft bill on amnesty and pardon. President Klaus Iohannis joined the protest in the Universitatii Square at some point, saying he has come to voice his indignation for “a gang of politicians” who want to amend the legislation and weaken the rule of law

Social-democrat leader Liviu Dragnea, just returned from the US where he attended the US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, posted on Sunday evening a message on Facebook, accusing President Klaus Iohannis of taking part to a “new miners’ riot” and to an “attempted state coup”.

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