Lower House starts debating bill on statute of magistrates, despite Opposition’s repeated postponement requests

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On Monday, the Lower House started to debate the amendments brought to law no.303/2004 on the statute of judges and prosecutors, rejecting all requests tabled by Opposition parties to send the bill back to the committee and to notify the Venice Commission. At one point, the meeting was interrupted after USR House members, outraged that the chairman of the meeting did not allow them to back their amendments, left their seats and gathered in front of the hall, holding pieces of paper reading “Thieves.”

The Lower House meeting resumed on Wednesday, meeting chairman Gabriel Vlase chairing the proceedings with the help of a portable microphone, after the central rostrum was occupied by USR lawmakers.

“I’m forced to continue the meeting. This is what the USR colleagues have reduced Parliament to,” PSD’s Gabriel Vlase said.

Vlase restarted the voting procedure on the amendments to law no.303/2004 on the statute of magistrates.

USR lawmakers continued to protest, gathering around the central rostrum in the Lower House, holding signs reading “Thieves” and using a megaphone to voice their discontent.

The Liberals once again asked for the proceedings to be suspended, considering the scandal, but their request was rejected by vote.

 

USR MPs stage spontaneous protest

 

The Save Romania Union (USR) floor group in the Lower House on Wednesday staged a spontaneous protest in the plenary session hall over the continuation of debates on the laws of the “Iordache Committee”.

They displayed white sheets of paper that read “Thieves!”

USR MP Stelian Ion, a member on the Justice Legislation Select Committee, used a megaphone to state out the reasons for the protest, as the microphone was cut by the chairman of the meeting, Gabriel Vlase.

 

Dragnea on amending judicial laws: Let’s see how the magistrates’ accountability is resolved    

 

PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Wednesday, when asked whether he is pleased with the amendments brought to the judicial laws, that it depends on the way the magistrates’ accountability issue will be regulated within the plenum.

“Let’s see how the magistrates’ accountability is resolved,” Dragnea said in Parliament when asked whether he is pleased with the form of the judicial laws.

Likewise, when asked why he did not postpone the amendments to the judicial laws, following the death of King Mihai, the PSD leader said he cannot comment on it.

“I really cannot take the liberty – out of respect for His Majesty – to comment this thing. How can someone condition a discussion, a debate on laws, on that unfortunate event yesterday?” Liviu Dragnea claimed.

Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu pointed out it is inappropriate to talk about putting a stop to the proceedings of Parliament or of other institutions.

“They are two distinct things. It’s improper to talk about stopping the proceedings of Parliament or of other institutions. Institutions are working. During such moments, as you well know, the Government decrees days of mourning. The days of mourning entail the limiting of certain activities of a festive character, but not work,” Tariceanu said.

After the speeches gave in the memory of King Mihai, PNL’s House whip Raluca Turcan asked for the plenary meeting to cease, her request being rejected by the PSD-ALDE majority.

“Based on Article 91, Paragraph 3, we request that today’s meeting ceases. After we witnessed a recourse to the solid values of the nation, moments that positively marked our history, today’s meeting – which is foreshadowed to be one focusing on bills unrelated to the interest of the nation, but to a more limited interest – should be suspended; we should reflect on a strong, united Romania of the many, not of personal interest,” Turcan said.

Her request was rejected by the plenum, with a majority of votes.

 

Turcan on debate on bill concerning statute of magistrates: Circus inside does good to no one; debates must take place with arguments and solutions

 

PNL First Vice President Raluca Turcan stated on Wednesday, when the Lower House meeting debating law no.303/2004 on the statute of magistrates was interrupted by a protest staged by USR lawmakers, that “the circus inside does good to no one” and that the debates must take place with arguments. Turcan added that the PNL group will remain in the hall in order to continue to ask for a debate on the articles of and amendments brought to the law concerning the statute of magistrates.

“We consider that Parliament must have a civilised spirit of debate, arguments, solutions, so that people from outside Parliament would feel this institution reflects them. The circus inside does good to no one. We can neither take over Parliament’s rostrum by force, nor stop the debate in what is the forum of democracy in any country. Hence, PNL will remain in the plenum of Parliament to continue demand and lobby for – with arguments – a debate on the articles of the bill put up for debate, concerning the accountability of magistrates, and we hope that in this way, through serious, professional conduct, we will nevertheless manage to calm the spirits and this institution would not discredit itself even more. We are unique in Europe,” Raluca Turcan stated.

She said our country is “unique” against the backdrop in which House Speaker Liviu Dragnea received a final conviction in a dossier, is indicted in another one, and a suspect in a third. The lawmaker stated that the current ruling coalition only wants to pass all laws without debate and “in a fast-forward manner.”

“The gravest problem in Parliament has to do with the name of Mr Liviu Dragnea and his presence at the helm of the Lower Chamber. The second problem, just as grave, is the assault on this institution, in order to pass – without debate, in an abusive and irregular way – bills that seek to politically subordinate the judiciary, intimidate magistrates and, in the end, whitewash the corruption dossiers of those who have confiscated the political decision within the ruling coalition,” Turcan emphasised.

 

Protest outside Parliament while plenum debated law on statute of magistrates

 

Several hundred persons were protesting outside the Palace of Parliament  while the Lower House was debating law no.303/2004 on the statute of magistrates.

“Take to the street! We defend democracy! At this moment, the judicial laws are being adopted in the plenum. The debate was boycotted, and the procedures are not respected. We find ourselves in the situation in which a gang of criminals wants to hasten the legalisation of theft. See you at Parliament!” the organisers of the protest wrote on the event’s Facebook page.