Romania's President Traian Basescu announced on Thursday he would no longer support prime minister Victor Ponta because of the head of government's "brutal intervention" into Justice affairs. Basescu said in an interview with B1 TV news channel on Thursday morning that today he would review the cohabitation pact he had with the prime minister following the victory in the 2012 general elections of the coalition led by Victor Ponta.
- Traian Basescu and the coalition of Social Democrats (PSD, led by Victor Ponta) and National Liberals (PNL) have been in a major conflict for several years, peaking with a major crisis sparked by the coalition's failed attempt to remove Basescu from office in a referendum last year. The PSD-PNL coalition, named the Social Liberal Union (USL), won the general elections in a landslide late last year.
- Following the poll, the two rivals Basescu and PM Ponta eventually signed a cohabitation pact aimed at alleviating the political tensions in Romania. Both leaders have been criticised by their respective supporters for the deal, which included provisions such as protecting the independence of the judiciary.
Basescu said on Thursday that he would review the cohabitation pact in the afternoon. He said the most important aspect of the deal, the one regarding the independence of justice, "collapsed with Ponta's blessing". He said this made him lean towards denouncing the pact and inform partners in this regard.
Basescu said the pact was made in the nation's interest and had the support of Romania's partners in the EU and the US. But, he said, Ponta proved to be a "liar" no matter that the stake was an "extremely important political document" which made Ponta an accepted partner of talks at EU level.
Basescu said in the interview that he had to review the pact because otherwise one may have the impression he supported Ponta in his interference with the justice system, referring to the forced change of a prosecutor in charge with the corruption case of a leading PSD politician, Liviu Dragnea. Basescu said he "tolerated" a lot of Ponta's actions, including ones related to foreign policy, to commitments related to health reform and to attempted Constitutional changes.