Several NGOs ask Basescu not to ratify new ANI law

Democrat-Liberal senator Iulian Urban joins the action of the National Integrity Agency (ANI) and of some NGOs, urging the president Traian Basescu not to ratify the new Law for the organization and running of the agency, adopted, on Wednesday, by the Senate, Agerpres informs.

Urban claims, on his personal blog, that ANI law was, effectively, destroyed, truncated by the vote in the Senate, and the agency was left to act “as a mere prop, which loses its prerogatives to verify and sanction the violations of the law by means of statements of wealth and interests of officials and members in the local and county government”.

The Democratic-Liberal Party (PDL) senator calls, at the same time, for a term for debating the re-examination petition of maximum ten days, for both Chambers of the Parliament. “It depends on you, now, that the Parliament, and particularly the Senate, be faced with a request for the re-examination of a law which I think most of my senator colleagues have literally made a mock of, undermining national interest, especially now, on the eve of the Justice Report,” the senator writes, addressing the head of state.

The ANI president, Catalin Macovei, said, on Thursday, at RFI, he was surprised to see the “fatal” amendments made to the new ANI law had come from the ruling parties, namely, PDL and the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR). The ANI president said, on the same occasion, that he supported the Romanian Academic Society and the Institute for Public Policies in their action requesting the president Basescu not to promulgate the new law for the organization and running of the Agency.

NGOs are also determined to file a criminal complaint against the Constitutional Court judges who stripped ANI of most of its powers last month.

Another critic of the new law is the US ambassador to Bucharest, Mark Gitenstein, who argues that the Romanian Senate, which adopted on Wednesday the new ANI law, “operated changes which were not called for by the constitutional Court” and which “will needlessly and considerably weaken ANI”, AFP reports, quoted by Mediafax.

The Senate adopted with 92 votes “in favour”, one “against” and a blank vote the law to reform the prerogatives of the National Integrity Agency, which came in for criticism from the NGOs, which argue that ANI, created following directions from Brussels, has been “voided of content”.

ANI was created in 2007 to monitor potential conflicts of interests or the illicit amassing of wealth by officials and high-ranking civil servants. On April 16, however, the Constitutional Court ruled most of ANI’s prerogatives as unconstitutional. The Government presented then a bill meant to reconcile the Agency with the Constitution. It was this bill that the senators adopted, with their own amendments. It stipulates clauses of confidentiality for the statements of wealth. Senators also introduced a highly contested amendment annulling the obligation that candidates running for Parliament or the Executive should state their wealth.

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