Romanian PM Ponta was secret agent – president

The presidential campaign in Romania has hit a new boiling point following accusations made on October 13 by outgoing president Traian Basescu, who broke a month-long silence by saying that prime minister Victor Ponta, a front-runner in next month’s presidential elections, was a former undercover agent for Romanian foreign intelligence service SIE.

In early September, Basescu had warned one of the candidates to the top job in the country was hiding his past and urged him to come clean. At that time, he pointed out that he would be forced to reveal the truth himself if his appeal fell on deaf ears.

The media quickly turned their attention to the main two contenders, Ponta and his rival Klaus Iohannis, German ethnic mayor of Sibiu, a city in central Romania. They both denied having worked for a secret service.

Last night, a little more than a month after making the initial claim, Basescu said that it is Ponta he was talking about. “Victor Ponta has to admit that he was a SIE undercover agent between 1997 and 2001” when Ponta was a prosecutor, Basescu said last night in a TV talk show. Basescu also accused Teodor Melescanu, until last month director of SIE, who gave up his job to join the presidential race, of covering Ponta and refusing to publicly admit there are former secret agents in the Romanian government.

Ponta was quick to react today calling Basescu’s revelations “lies and slanders”.

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(Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta photo: