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December 5, 2022

Cezar Preda bill gets Chamber of Deputies’ tacit approval

The law stipulating that SRI-appointed Officers could engage in special criminal investigators was sent to the Senate in its original form, without being debated by deputies, as yesterday’s session was suspended for lack of quorum.

By    Daniela Baragan

As expected, deputies were unable yesterday to debate the national security bill put forth by Democrat-Liberal Cezar Preda, the session being suspended for lack of quorum on account of only 91 of the 340 deputies being present.

A minimum of 164 deputies should have attended the session in order for it to be held. As a result, the bill passed tacitly and was therefore tabled in the Senate, as the Chamber of Deputies could only have examined the draft law by Nov 3.

It was the National Liberal Party (PNL) deputies who were the most upset by the situation created in the Lower House yesterday, as they couldn’t persuade lawmakers to attend the session by means of a nominal appeal, which wasn’t answered even by their Social-Democrat allies.

PNL Deputy Ludovic Orban accused them of not having attended the session on purpose in order to allow the bill to go through the Chamber. “Deputies with the PDL and the PSD made President Traian Basescu a birthday present (the head of state turns 60 today). I cannot but notice that, although yesterday (Wednesday) they seated alongside us, today, our fellow MPs were absent,” Mediafax quoted Orban as saying. He also said that the PNL mobilised its forces, “like any other party”, and believes the same thing happened in the Social Democratic Party (PSD), yet with an opposite purpose. Orban, a former transport minister, said that 42 of the 53 PNL deputies attended the session, and added he would raise the issue at the level of the Social-Liberal Alliance.

Further more, Orban maintains that PSD President Victor Ponta allegedly approves of the “service led by his wedding godfather (George Maior, the head of the Romanian Intelligence Service) to have officers conducting criminal investigations”.

In their turn, Social-Democrats came up with a childish excuse for Victor Ponta and Adrian Nastase being absent from the session, saying the session had not been planned, it was scheduled late on Wednesday and Victor Ponta and Adrian Nastase already had something else on their agendas, related to some personalities, certain people,” PSD deputy leader Aura Vasile said, who blamed the Democrat-Liberals for hindering the bill debate.

Preda: My bill was tabled in the Chamber in June and nobody bothered to debate it

In his turn, Democrat-Liberal Deputy Cezar Preda rebuffed opposition accusations that the bill stipulating that “SRI-assigned offices could conduct special criminal investigations”, which he originated, would infringe on civil rights and freedoms. Preda described the accusations as “fabrications by the opposition”, who didn’t even write the document. “I also reject any accusations that I won’t discuss the bill, quite the contrary, I would like that a very serious, fair and timely debate is held on the issue,” I hope this would happen in the Senate. The bill was put before the Chamber of Deputies last June and nobody bothered to discuss it, no debate has been held over it, despite the bill being posted on the Chamber of Deputies website (…).  I will advocate it most responsibly, and if its legislative route is affected, I’m not to blame for it,” the Democrat-Liberal also said.

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