Tie in the Basescu vs. Ponta game concerning Constitutional Court notifications

A tie was registered Tuesday evening in the dispute between President Basescu and Premier Ponta, after the Constitutional Court rejected both the Head of State’s notification concerning the Premier’s refusal to countersign several decrees conferring awards to some personalities from the former management of the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR), as well as the Prime Minister’s notification concerning President Basescu’s involvement in the election campaign, a notification filed after the Head of State was photographed wearing a PMP t-shirt next to members of that party.

nflict of a constitutional nature between Romania’s President and the Government generated by the conduct and public statements of the country’s President. The decision is final and generally binding and it shall be communicated to the President, Prime Minister and shall be published in the Official Gazette, Part I,” show the Constitutional Court minutes.
Constitutional Court judge Toni Grebla explained in his turn that the institution whose member he is has no prerogatives in what concerns clarifying the behavior of dignitaries while exercising their terms in office, and if constitutional provisions are broken in what concerns the President the Constitution stipulates the initiation of the procedure to suspend the Head of State. “In what concerns the President’s behavior, he is defined by the Constitution as a mediator between state powers, between institutions, between the state and the citizens, so that the Parliament has the right to analyze whether certain gestures, attitudes and political statements broke the Constitution or not,” the judge stated. Toni Grebla pointed out, referring to the fact that the Head of State is not an electoral competitor, that the prerogatives are stipulated in the Constitution.
In what concerns President Basescu’s notification, the judge stated: “The Court lacks these prerogatives, only Parliament is the one that should regulate, including through the Constitution, what is the role of the countersigning of decrees by the Prime Minister, what is their juridical value, what happens in case the refusal is plainly that or the refusal is explained.”
Ponta: The law of common sense does not work on Traian Basescu
PM Victor Ponta stated on Thursday in Timisoara that the legislative power should clearly set how much a senior public official can get involved in an electoral campaign, and the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) will decide if the articles are constitutional. The leader of the Social-Democrats emphasized, when responding to a question from the press, that he cannot comment upon the CCR decisions regarding the two notifications filed by himself and Traian Basescu but he can observe that the CCR cannot add to the Constitution and cannot intervene in these kinds of situations.
“This means that we must regulate on a legislative level the way in which a person that holds public office can participate in electoral campaigns and the way in which decrees are signed and countersigned, after which the CCR will decide if they are constitutional. I can’t do anything but welcome the fact that, finally, the CCR said a thing that it did not say a few years ago, namely that it cannot add to the Constitution and I believe they are right,” said Ponta. He pointed out that some things that were regulated through common sense need to be regulated through law, because “the law of common sense does not work” on Traian Basescu.
On Wednesday, while attending an electoral event in Sibiu, PM Ponta also said that senior public servants must observe the law and not get involved in the campaign for the European Parliament elections or in electoral rallies.
President Basescu’s notification denounced the fact that Premier Victor Ponta groundlessly refused to countersign the decrees on conferring awards to Horia-Roman Patapievici, Tania Radu, Mircea Mihaies and Dan Croitoru, members of the former leadership of the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR). Basescu argued that the President confers awards and honorary titles and the decrees issued by the Head of State in the exercise of his prerogatives are countersigned by the Prime Minister.
In what concerns PM Ponta’s notification, the government pointed out that supporting a certain political party in the European Parliament elections this year or in the partial elections for the Romanian Parliament breaks Article 80 of the Constitution, the article concerning “the President’s role.”

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