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The Social-Liberal Union supports the option of holding the Constitutional referendum in September and of PNL President Crin Antonescu becoming the chairman of the Parliamentary Commission tasked with drafting the new Constitution.
USL is taking the first steps towards modifying the Constitution. USL Co-President and Premier Victor Ponta announced yesterday that the setting up of a Parliamentary Commission tasked with amending the Constitution has been decided within the Union, being of the opinion that this commission should be chaired by PNL President Crin Antonescu. “Mr. Antonescu, as Speaker of the Senate and as USL’s candidate in the future presidential elections, can very well politically cover this debate and initiative to modify the Constitution,” Ponta stated, being quote by Mediafax. The Premier pointed out that the chairmanship of the Parliamentary Commission tasked with amending the Constitution normally goes to USL, and in parallel there will be another constitutional body made up of experts and civil society representatives that will analyze the parties’ proposals. The Premier also announced that representatives of the Presidency, Government, Constitutional Court and Superior Magistracy Council will also be part of the commission. According to Ponta, one of the ideas agreed within USL is that the principle of a directly-elected President will have to be maintained “but the Government is responsible before Parliament and the prerogatives are very clearly outlined.” “Meaning we should have a president like all the countries we are looking towards – and I’m looking towards Poland and Austria in particular – have, a mediator president,” the Premier pointed out. Ponta also stated that regulating party-switching is among the points that will be amended. “We should very clearly spell-out in the Constitution the system through which an MP that switches his party, who in fact switches the vote he received when he was elected, can lose his seat.” He pointed out that the deadline agreed within USL for finalizing the draft amendments is May 5. “In May-June, if there will be a need to extend the Parliamentary session, for the amendment proposal to be voted within the two Chambers, after which we should probably hold the ratification referendum in September – October,” he added. Speaker of the Lower Chamber Valeriu Zgonea stated in his turn yesterday that if all political groups are committed the new Constitution could be adopted by June 30. According to gandul.info, the USL team working on the draft amendments wants the new Constitution to clearly stipulate the President’s and Government’s prerogatives. A hot topic is represented by the President’s role in the judiciary domain, USL seeking to limit the Head of State’s influence in the appointment of the heads of the DNA and the General Prosecutor’s Office, the responsibility set to be conferred to the CSM and the President set to play a rather ceremonial role. In what concerns the modification of Article 103 on nominating the Premier, USL agreed in principle for the Premier to come from the ranks of the party that wins the elections, the aforementioned source also pointed out. In what concerns the relationship between the President and the Premier, Victor Ponta recently stated that he will insist for the future Constitution to stipulate that the Prime Minister attends European Council meetings. Nevertheless, the President will maintain his foreign policy prerogatives. The basic principles of the future Constitution, as well as Antonescu’s appointment at the helm of the Parliamentary Commission, were about to be presented last evening by USL leaders on the occasion of USL’s two-year anniversary.