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The joint plenum of the two Houses of Parliament on Wednesday passed by 439 votes and 1 abstention the draft resolution setting up a joint Constitutional Revision Commission. The joint commission is made up of
23 deputies and senators and has a bureau membership consisting of a chairman, five deputy chairmen and two secretaries. The Commission is chaired by Senate Speaker Crin Antonescu, and the five deputy chairmen are Ioan Chelaru, Social Democratic Party (PSD), Valeria Schelean of the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), Daniel Fenechiu, the People’s Party Dan Diaconescu (PPDD), Mate Andras Levente, Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) and Bogdan Ciuca, Conservative Party (PC).
Crin Antonescu explained that establishing the constitutional Forum will be the first measure the Commission will take. “The constitutional Forum does not watch over the Commission activity, it is the framework ensuring the broadest public debate possible and will precede the final works, namely the voting options by Commission members. This constitutional forum will be set up the soonest possible. Actually, it will be the first action of this Commission and, most likely, early next week or at the first Commission meeting, we will start all the relevant proceedings. The Forum is an open body. Practically, all the organizations, institutions that wish to take part in these debates are welcome to do so,” Antonescu said.
According to the legislative algorithm, the PSD has 9 members in the Commission, PNL – 6, PDL – 3, PPDD – 2, UDMR, the Group of minorities other than Magyar and the PC, one each. The commission sessions can only be held if at least two-thirds of its members are present, according to the draft resolution. Former premier Calin Popescu Tariceanu appeared rather upset with his fellow party members for not asking him to be a commission member, given his experience would have been “extremely useful”. “I have lived the experience of an institutional relationship between premier and president, which, unfortunately, was peppered with countless conflicts triggered by president < Train Basescu> and countless attacks aimed at undermining the authority of the Executive. I’ve had conflicts that had to reach the Constitutional Court, but also political conflicts that created countless moments of political tension,” the PNL senator told Mediafax. Tariceanu was a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the first post-1989 Constitution, and in 2011, he was elected deputy chairman of the Revision Commission.
The joint plenum also passed unanimously the setting up of the Electoral Law Revision Commission, which shall make the amendments by Nov 1. The Commission is made up of 15 members. Valeriu Zgonea is its chairman, Mihai Voicu (PNL), Andrei Volosevici (PDL) and Luminita Adam Pachel (PPDD) – deputy chairpersons – and Marton Arpad (UDMR) and Varujan Pambuccian (Ethnic Minorities other than Magyar ) – secretaries. While the commission session will not be public, they will nonetheless be recorded and stenotyped.