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May 17, 2021

Magistrates slam Basescu’s Constitution review

Constitutional Court adjourned yesterday on draft Constitution review sent by President.

The Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) yesterday sent to the Constitutional Court (CC) an opinion on the draft Constitution review, stating that the prescribed limits for the review of the Fundamental Law are transgressed, as some of the new provisions also infringe on the independence of the judiciary. The Council maintains that the exclusion from the jurisdictional competence of courts of specific types of cases on political grounds and the CSM reshuffling are measures that might affect the stability of the system and prevent it from fulfilling its role. ‘In this context, we are considering whether or not CSM should be given the right of legislative initiative in the area or the right to appoint some of the CC judges, since this political-legal body is called to represent all three public powers of the state in a balanced manner’, reads a document quoted by Mediafax.

The representatives of the Association of Magistrates of Romania (AMR) are also unhappy about some of the provisions of the draft law revising the Constitution, which they claim are introducing serious restrictions, transforming the independence ‘into a simple term synonym of political subordination and control’. Moreover, AMR warns again that the initiative to revise the Constitution can only be put forward by the President of Romania following a proposal made by the Government, meaning that the proposal should come from the Government and not from the President of Romania.

On the other hand, AMR claims the proposal of such a large number of representatives from the civil society (six compared to the two stipulated by the current constitutional regulation – our note) in the CSM structure is ‘a deformity of regulation with regard to the judiciary’, since no other power of the state includes in its structure representatives of the civil society, all being autonomously governed. AMR also stresses the fact that the presence of the licit nature of property is a logical effect and a corollary of the benefit of the doubt which, in turn, is also enshrined by a norm of constitutional rank. The planned change in that respect would therefore make the benefit of the doubt relative and empty it of its substance, while also making the constitutional principle of the safeguard of private property as a fundamental right become relative.

Boc: reducing number of MPs by law, a trap

PM Emil Boc stated yesterday, during a debate on the Constitution review organised by the Institute for Political Studies (ISP) that the proposals made by the leaders of the Social-Liberal Union (USL) to diminish the number of members of Parliament by law was ‘a trap’, because ‘after coming to power, Crin Antonescu and Victor Ponta would be able to change the number of MPs back from 300 to the figure they want also by law’. ‘We need this constitutional safeguard of the unicameral Parliament and of the total number of 300 MPs, so that no one in the future can adopt a new law to change that’, Boc said, according to Mediafax. In the context, he noted that a unicameral Parliament cannot work without the Constitution being reviewed.

On the other hand, the head of the Executive said that, if Romania had not adopted the public expenditure cutting policies, its current deficit would have been of over 14 per cent of GDP. He said that the measures taken now are ‘unpopular, yet healthy’. ‘Today, Romania is paying for the political and fiscal incoherence and irresponsibility of those who ruled in 2008. (…) In order to meet he deficit target of 3 per cent of GDP in 2012, we had to adjust state policies’, the PM also said. In what regards the removal from the Constitution of the presumed licit nature of property – a proposal AMR criticises – Boc said we need it in order to combat corruption so that assets that cannot be justified by the owners to be possible to seize.

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