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June 28, 2022

Basescu slams Senate

The president informs that Government will assume responsibility on the two bills blocked by the chamber.

During a television program Thursday evening, President Traian Basescu launched yet another attack on Parliament. The head of state said that the Senate in general, including its Speaker, disqualified themselves with respect to the law on appointment of judges with the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) <Romania’s Supreme Court>, adding that the laws on health reform, social assistance and ICCJ judge appointments will pass by government assuming responsibility for them, as proof showed they can’t go through Parliament. “The Senate’s refusal to pass the law on the mechanisms for appointing judges at the ICCJ disqualifies it. The only issue at stake was to find a system able to eliminate cronyism from the process of judges being promoted to the High Court. (…) I have discussed with Premier Boc to let them up to Parliament, although they were pledges assumed by the Romanian state. Now, I can’t but help concluding we cannot rely on Parliament’s will to modernize, to carry on the reform process. This means Government must assume responsibility for  the health reform, justice and social assistance legislation,” Basescu said.
The president sent a letter to the speakers of the two Houses, urging them to rush the passage of the two laws, but the call failed. If the magistrate status draft law was rejected by the Senate on October 5, that on social assistance has been stalled by the Upper House opposition for weeks.

Opposition rejects accusations

Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Victor Ponta on Friday said that the head of state’s call for Government to assume responsibility on social assistance law and appointments of ICCJ judges is in serious violation of the Constitution and the two laws concerned are wrong. In his turn, former president Ion Iliescu criticized the head of state “allowing himself to offend the Senate”, only because it did not pay heed to his recommendations, reckoning the president’s statements on the national television Thursday as unacceptable. Senate Speaker Mircea Geoana too said on public radio Friday that Romania’s president’s role is not that of a form teacher who points the finger at the institutions he believes that won’t do their duty, since, were that the case, he should start with the government.

National Liberal Party (PNL) Senate Group leader Puiu Hasotti said that, if Basescu is in the mood to accuse Parliament, he should only do so with the ruling coalition senators, since the law regulating the ICCJ appointments was rejected as result of their vote too.

On the other side of the barricade, the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) unanimously endorsed the notion suggested by the head of state, namely that the Executive should assume responsibility over the two contested laws. Senate Democrat-Liberal leader Cristian Radulescu said that, provided Government assumes responsibility for the two laws, the opposition should accept it, unless so, they should tender a non-confidence motion. In his turn, Mircea Toader, the leader of the Chamber of Deputies Democrat-Liberal Group, said that, as long as the Senate willingly stalls the passage, Government assuming responsibility on the two laws is the only way out.

Downsizings, pensions, politics and the monarchy

During Thursday’s interview on national television, the head of state also analysed Romania’s political, economic and social situation, announcing that public employee job cuts will continue “in the administration in the first place”, and despite no radical cuts lately, the number of public employee will dwindle by at least 5,000 monthly. He repeated that the pensions will not be indexed from January 1, 2012, despite some discontented pensioners, from among magistracy for example, being likely to take the state to court. “Judges should say where the money should come from,” the president said, who again voiced his opinion about the need for a centre-right structure in the political landscape, as PDL alone cannot entirely cover the right wing. Asked whether he relies on the monarchist trend, the head of state denied, saying that the monarchist electorate is only represented now by Ion Iliescu, Catalin Voicu and Petre Roman, who attended King Mihai’s speech in Parliament, Tuesday.

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