Presidency invokes immunity at CNCD

The National Anti-Discrimination Council (CNCD) heard on Monday the chair of the Equality Committee Olguta Vasilescu and representatives of the Foundation for the Protection of Citizens from State Abuse (FACIAS) in relation to complaints filed against the president Traian Basescu, accusing him of discriminating against people with disabilities. Vasilescu stated at the end of the hearing that the Presidency had contested her quality to file a suit, arguing that, as the chair of the Committee for Equality of Opportunity, she was not entitled to file a petition to CNCD. “This is an absurd claim precisely because I have to forward to CNCD all petitions I receive from NGOs or individuals and I do not have the legal means to solve. This has been the case for years,” Olguta Vasilescu argued. The communication director of FACIAS, Razvan Zamfir, qualified the president’s statement as “irresponsible” and “unconstitutional”, insofar as Traian Basescu should act as a guarantor of the Constitution. “He invoked the immunity he enjoys, conveniently forgetting this was not a statement he made in the exercise of his presidential prerogatives, but the voicing of a personal opinion in what seems to be a personal conflict with the Royal House,” Razvan Zamfir stated. FACIAS filed a complaint at CNCD on September 23, calling attention to “the discriminatory quality” of statements made by the president Basescu during a talk-show. While a guest on the talk-show “Ultimul Cuvant”, broadcast on September 22, 2011, on B1 TV, the Romanian president made the following statement: “I am persuaded 80 pc of Romanians want to be able to elect their head of state. This may be good or bad, but at least they know they can replace him. What can you do if you’re stuck with a leader for life, let alone one who is to be succeeded by his heirs? What if one of these happens to be disabled, what are you going to do? Be stuck with him as the head of state?”.

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