NGOs call for referendum to be suspended, submit petition to CAB

The Pro Democratia Association and the Media Monitoring Agency yesterday tendered a petition with the Bucharest Court of Appeals (CAB) on suspension of the referendum to be held November 22. CAB will discuss the petition on November 19.‘The Bucharest Court of Appeals may issue a presidential ordinance suspending the referendum, but tomorrow we’ll see what is the court date for this case,’ Mediafax quoted the president of the Pro Democratia Association, Cristian Parvulescu as saying. Parvulescu also said he did not know whether or not there would be a verdict going to be passed by referendum date.

He mentioned that the referendum suspension petition precedes an administrative court ruling to be passed one way or another.

‘Cornel Liviu Popescu is our lawyer. We have waited for weeks for the Ombudsman to react to our previous press conference,’ the Pro Democratia president said. Parvulescu stated he would go as far as Strasbourg as need be, since it is important for such precedent to no longer operate either in Romania or other European states. ‘I have learned that the European legislation refers to legislative, not presidential, elections, and I believe that such trial conducted in Strasbourg would shed light on very many situations. We know there are many recommendations by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Venice Council over the holding of elections. This recommendation on good practice has been disregarded, yet, on the other side, we ascertain there are several confusing legal issues which could only be settled in court,’ Parvulescu concluded. The Alliance for the Rule of Law, made up of four non-governmental organizations, tendered to the Ombudsman a week ago, a standing document over what it sees as likely risks of moral fraud in the presidential election held concurrently with the referendum, formally calling on the institution to notify the Constitutional Court over the aforesaid aspects. At a press conference, the four NGOs had called on the Ombudsman to notify the Constitutional Court over the referendum going to be held concurrently with the presidential ballot, which, NGO delegates say, would encroach on constitutional provisions regarding the exercise of rights and liberties.

According to this article in the Constitution, ‘the Romanian citizens, foreign citizens and stateless persons shall exercise their constitutional rights and freedoms in good-faith, without encroaching on the rights and liberties of the others.’ NGOs said at the time it is only the president who can call a referendum. Traian Basescu nonetheless holds two trump cards, since he can call the referendum given he is the head of state, and a presidential runner as well.

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