Romania’s second largest party PNL moves from ALDE to EPP

By bne IntelliNews May 27, 2014

Romania’s second largest party PNL has voted to re-assign its MEPs from the liberal-centrist ALDE group in the European parliament to the centre-right European Popular Party (EPP), HotNews online news services announced.

The move was initiated by party president Crin Antonescu in an attempt to break locally any ties with the ruling leftist PSD of PM Victor Ponta, and at European level to prevent the chance of a socialist candidate to be appointed as the head of the European Commission.

Antonescu has also submitted his resignation as a result of the disappointing score in the European elections – only 15% compared to the 20% target and the 25% estimates. The most likely replacement of Antonescu - Claus Iohannis, has not attended the discussions and rumours indicate he might also resign from the vice-president position.

SLIM CHANCES FOR FURTHER PSD-PNL PARTNERSHIP. In principle, the current circumstances should be favourable to Calin Popescu Tariceanu – a former PNL president that quit the party earlier this year in protest against it breaking ties with the leftist PSD. Tariceanu has meanwhile cooperated with PSD and visibly attempts to take over PNL and bring it again close to the leftist partner. His attempts were so far resisted and Tariceanu attending the top level party meeting after the European elections was firmly denied by virtually all top PNL members. Tariceanu’s sole ally within PNL – Radu Stroe, was expelled from the party.

UNCLEAR OUTLOOK FOR RIGHT-WING BROAD COALITION. The outlook for a broad coalition of the centre-right parties remains vague. Nonetheless, the disappointing results of individual parties opposing leftist PSD should encourage such a coalition. The lower than expected score marked by PSD [below 40%] should also encourage centre-right parties to set a joint candidate to run in the presidential elections this autumn. But it is totally unclear who this joint candidate could be since each of the individual parties insists on having their own nomination. Even worse, none of the candidates revealed so far by the centre-right parties has the profile that would provide him a major advantage in the presidential elections against leftist PSD.

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