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Update: Liviu Dragnea wins fight against Firea’s group: CExN gives him vote of confidence to remain chairman

The chairman of the Social Democrat Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea, has received a majority vote of confidence to remain the party’s leader following Friday’s National Executive Committee (CExN).  Dragnea said that out of the 64 members entitled to vote in the committee, 56 have voted for him and 8 against him.

Previously, his foe, Bucharest mayor Gabriela Firea, who had asked for his resignation in the first place, had said that there had been 39 votes for Dragnea, 10 against and one abstention.

We discussed and I asked my colleagues to suspend all elections in the organisations next week until the referendum of October 7. The colleagues also agreed to discuss the government reshuffle after the referendum. There have been 64 members entitled to vote, 56 voted for me to continue the leadership mandate, eight against and one abstention coming from Gabriel Petrea,” Dragnea  said after the meeting.

He said he could not have taken a plenary vote on a very important request, for this resignation, arguing that was “the stake” of the Friday’s committee.

I cannot accept that PSD should become a tool of this hateful system, I also told that to a meeting with the same colleagues, the next day after my conviction, that, as long as I am still in office, I will do my best to dismantle this odious system“, Dragnea underlined.

The SocDem leader also said thee committee had discussed about amnesty and pardon. “I personally told them I am not interested anymore in the emergency ordinance on amnesty, if they want to issue the ordinance, it’s their problem,” he claimed, referring to the “all misfortune caused by those mixed teams and the secret protocols” and to “the illegally obtained evidence”.

Dragnea explained he had refused to propose the vote on the ousting of Gabriela Firea from the party. “After this meeting everybody should understand that it’s better for us to take care of what we promised during the local and general elections. Maybe it has been the last action I took. I didn’t want things pushed to extremes. I hope things will get back to normal,” Dragnea stated.

He praised Viorica Dancila as “a balanced, loyal and honest women”, whose “concern has been to preserve the parliamentary majority”. “She has my full support and on behalf PSD,” he said.

As for the last picture revealed by Victor Ponta, Dragnea named the former premier a “snitch” and explained he had meetings attended by tens of people of all parties and institutions. “Ponta named Kovesi and we toppled her down. I asked Maior to release all pictures, I understand he is the archivist on duty. Many stood on that couch, where various things were discusses, like at any meetings of this kind,” Dragnea said.

Firea reveals different score of the vote

Before Dragnea’s press statement, Gabriela Firea said that after eight hours of the meeting, only one point of their letter had been put to a vote, and that vote was: 10 votes against Dragnea’s mandate as chairman, 39 said he should stay in office and one abstention.

Firea said she would continue to endorse the PSD government, arguing  they are not the ones who “will bring down the PSD-ALDE government”.

Pros and cons before the CExN

Previously in the morning, information pointed that 20 branches of the Social Democrat Party had voiced their support for chairman Liviu Dragnea before the National Executive Committee, while 13 are asking for his resignation. 15 party organisations were said the be undecided regarding the letter signed by Gabriela Firea, Adrian Tutuianu and Paul Stanescu, who had asked Dragnea to step down from the party helm and from the position of Chamber speaker.

Doina Pană, PSD vice-president for North-West region said that, except for three votes from the Transylvania region, the rest of the party branches in the area are for Dragnea.

It is not easy to work with Liviu Dragnea, but at the same time  (…) PSD has won elections by a smashing score with Dragnea as leader. Can you imagine how many frustrations Dragnea has when he won elections with a programme he coordinated and he cannot be prime minister”, Doina Pana stated.

In his turn, Marian Oprisan, Vrancea PSD leader said before the CExN that what is happening is a serious attack against the party, arguing that, although “he is not crazy about Dragnea either” “you cannot come up with a letter, suddenly, over night”.

The extended leadership of the ruling party has convened for an emergency sitting of the Executive Committee at the Parliament today, at 12:30hr, to debate the letter.

Tensed meeting, potential new CExN ahead

The tensed meeting of the PSD leadership might end up today with no clear outcome. Sources quoted by Digi24 revealed that Liviu Dragnea had been conducting negotiations with his foes until the very last minute, managing to divert some major dissident voices and turn them in his favor. An example is Dumituru Buzatu, the leader of PSD Vaslui, who dubbed Firea’s letter as superficial today, after he was saying yesterday the document is “moderate” and it “only asks for the resignation of the party chair”.

However, there is apparently a draw at the moment, as the two opposite camps are quite balanced in terms of votes. Under these circumstances, there are high chances that the current CExN ends without a clear end, and a new top party sitting might be summoned in the upcoming period.

PM Viorica Dancila announced during the meeting that she would not resign from the PM position, that she endorses Liviu Dragnea and wants to go on with the same team, Digi24 reported.

By the time of the report, Gabriela Firea took the floor, but has not yet asked for Dragnea’s resignation.

The document proposes 19 measures, asking for Dragnea’s resignation from all party and Parliament top positions. The signatories also suggest that PM Viorica Dancila should take the interim helm of the party until early 2019.

PSD deputy chairman, Adrian Tutuianu, one of the initiators of the demarche to oust the current party leader, has claimed Wednesday evening that 50 MPs from very strong organisations have signed the letter addressed to Liviu Dragnea and their number is increasing. Tutuianu said the elections in 2016 were won by the people countrywide. He argued that, after solving the crisis, the party will continue procedures on the laws of justice and the amendments to the criminal codes.

Read more here.

About Alina Grigoras Butu