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March 21, 2023

President insists territorial reform will happen ‘one way or another’

UDMR leader says his party does not rule out leaving ruling coalition, but a decision on administrative reorganisation will be made on Saturday.

In a press statement at Cotroceni Palace after consultations with parliamentary parties and in an interview to the public radio channel, President Traian Basescu insisted that territorial reorganisation will happen one way or another, voicing confidence that coalition parties will reach a compromise on the matter. He said an official announcement on how the process will be conducted is to be expected on Monday, when UDMR and national minorities have decided their stance on the project.

UDMR leadership will convene over the weekend to make a decision. When asked whether his party could leave the ruling coalition if the eight-county reorganisation plan is pushed forth, leader Kelemen Hunor replied, “Anything is possible.” He insisted however that the Union wants to remain part of the coalition and assure political stability.

President also remained defiant of Constitutional Court ruling declaring unconstitutional several articles of his fundamental law revision plan. The project will be sent to Parliament, which will be given the “freedom” to amend the text. Eliminating the presumed legal nature of wealth and lawmakers’ immunity – two provisions that Basescu vows to push through.

Amid magistrates’ criticism of the constitutional review project, the president yesterday launched a tough attack on judges and prosecutors, saying that they have to be made responsible for their incompetence or mistakes. “The state cannot go on forever, accepting to pay for judges’ incompetence or corruption,” Basescu said.

Mentioning that he does not want to open “Pandora’s Box,” the president underlined that in too many cases, investigations are inefficient and do not result in court action or verdicts. “I don’t want the Romanian state to become a police state that tolerates abuse of its citizens just because an incompetent prosecutor demands an arrest and the judge (…) doesn’t try the case but simply approves the request, based on the prosecutor’s arguments alone,” he said.


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