Ciorbea elected Ombudsman despite Opposition boycott


Parliament should have elected the new chairman of the public television channel too, but the vote was postponed for lack of quorum, after PNL and PDL walked out.

Former Premier Victor Ciorbea was elected Ombudsman during the joint plenum meeting of the two Chambers of Parliament yesterday. He was elected with 306 votes in favour and 2 against. According to Law 35/1997 on the organization and functioning of the institution of Ombudsman, the candidate that wins the highest number of votes from Senators and Lower Chamber MPs is appointed Ombudsman. Ciorbea was proposed for the office by PSD’s parliamentary groups. He will have a five-year term and the term can be renewed only once.
The Parliament’s joint plenum meeting was stopped when it came to electing the chairman of SRTv’s board, Senate Speaker Tariceanu noting the lack of quorum after PNL and PDL walked out. “For your information, the legal quorum is 286 MPs present. (…) The order of the day is not exhausted but, unfortunately, I am forced to note the lack of quorum, so I declare the joint meeting of the Senate and the Lower Chamber adjourned,” Tariceanu said.
The vote was preceded by the boycott of PNL, PDL, PPDD and non-affiliated MPs who walked out of the meeting, as a sign of protest against the fact that it started late. The leaders of the PNL and PDL groups criticized the fact that the meeting started one hour late, at 14.30 PM. At the start of the joint meeting, Puiu Hasotti, the leader of PNL Senators, emphasized that such a delay is unprecedented.
“The Joint Permanent Bureaus decided that a joint Parliament meeting will take place at 13.30 PM. It never happened before for a meeting to be delayed for more than an hour because one of the Chambers, the Lower Chamber in this case, extended its schedule,” the Liberal Senator said. Hasotti reminded that right after the Speaker of the Lower Chamber announced the “indefinite” extension of the meeting, he asked the PNL Senators “to leave, to leave the joint plenum works.” “It’s a regrettable gesture, an abuse that cannot remain unsanctioned,” the Liberal concluded. In reply, Premier Victor Ponta stated that PNL’s decision to leave the plenum while Victor Ciorbea’s bid for Ombudsman was being voted was a very ugly gesture, pointing out that Ciorbea, who fought for PNL and Antonescu, did not deserve this “treatment.”
In his turn, Victor Ciorbea stated after the plenum meeting that he was surprised that PNL did not take part in the vote, especially since “the party’s leadership at least” promised him that the MPs will be present and will back him, blaming the gesture on resentfulness.
Gheorghe Tinel, the leader of PDL Lower Chamber MPs, announced that the Democrat-Liberal MPs will walk out of the joint plenum meeting. He pointed out that the PDL MPs disagree with the appointment of Victor Ciorbea as Ombudsman. The MP stated that when it comes to nominating an Ombudsman a political consensus at the level of the whole political spectrum represented in the Romanian Parliament should have been expressed, as stipulated within the ten goals that the Prime Minister assumed in the summer of 2012. Subsequently, independent MP Clement Negrut stated in his turn that the non-affiliated MPs will not take part in the voting either.
PNL to attack at CC the draft concerning the head of the DIA
The Lower Chamber adopted yesterday with 213 votes in favour, 113 against, and 10 abstentions, the law that stipulates that the head of the Army’s Intelligence Directorate (DIA) will be appointed by the Premier. The head of the DIA is currently appointed by the Defence Minister. The draft law will next be analyzed by the Senate. George Scutaru, the leader of PNL Lower Chamber MPs, announced however that after the draft is debated within the Senate the Liberals will attack it at the Constitutional Court (CC) because its stipulations change “the entire security architecture.” Tinel Gheorghe, the leader of PDL Lower Chamber MPs, also criticized the project, pointing out that “the urgency of modifying this draft law has no logic.” “It’s an abuse of power, it should have been debated more within the plenum,” Gheorghe added.

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