Romania’s former Prime Minister Victor Ponta has told Euronews he wants to stop the country from turning into a new Hungary.
He launched his political comeback bid this week after resigning three years ago following anti-corruption protests sparked by a deadly nightclub fire.
The 45-year-old, recently thrown out of the ruling social democratic party (PSD), has launched a new pro-European political movement.
It comes weeks after he was cleared of corruption charges, including 17 separate counts of forgery, complicity in tax evasion and money laundering, dating from 2007-2011 while Ponta was working as a lawyer.
In a wide-ranging interview he said:
He wants to put the country back on a pro-European track and stop the current government ‘pursuing policies close to Mr Orban in Hungary’.
He would rule out a future coalition with his former party PSD unless it had a change of leadership and became more ‘progressive and pro-EU’.
PSD has some people who ‘look to the past’
A dozen MPs have defected to his new party, PRO Romania
He supports the anti-corruption fight but refuses to give backing to controversial chief prosecutor Laura Kovesi. He said he was in favour of someone who is ‘less politicised’.
He considers Moldovans ‘his brothers’ but says the country must decide by referendum if it wants to reunify with Romania.
Click to watch the full interview and read its transcript.
Euronews contacted PSD to comment on Ponta’s claims but they did immediately respond.