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March 29, 2023

Kicked out of PSD, embattled Geoana loses Senate Speaker office

Negotiations already started to fill up the second most important position in the administration. UDMR already jumped on the occasion, saying it backs Senator Frunda.

By    Daniela Baragan

Given the general consensus for sacking Geoana, ruling coalition MPs yesterday supported the initiative of the opposition, so the result of the vote held in the Permanent Bureau (BP) of the Senate came as no surprise: 112 votes in favour of revoking Geoana from the top position in the Senate, against just 2, and 5 abstentions. The entire procedure actually took no more than 10 minutes, in a secret ballot cast by electronic means. So, at least for now, the ruling coalition has assumed the second position in the state, through the person of Senate vice-president Radu Filip (PDL), who actually was the only name proposed as interim speaker of the Upper House. Under the Regulation, the new speaker will be elected after each political group will announce its candidate, but there is no deadline for these announcements. This allows the power to extend this provisional situation until the parliamentary elections of 2012. Under the same Regulation, the new speaker of the Senate will be the candidate that obtains the best score in the vote, if the quorum of the session is met.

Geoana: I will challenge the decision at the CC

Mircea Geoana yesterday announced that he will challenge at the Constitutional Court (CC) the decision of the Senate that removes him from the top position of this House of the Parliament. He claims that he was sacked via a “political vote” and the reasons invoked by PSD are against both Regulation and Constitution. In the context, Geoana mentioned that the procedure of withdrawing the political support, provided by the Statute of senators and deputies, only refers to the members of Permanent Bureaus, while the presidents (speakers) of the two Houses of the Parliament have a special status. He will also challenge the CEx decision of expelling him from the party, at the PSD Congress that might be held next year and in a civil court.

He claims that, by challenging these decisions, he does not want to “stick to a chair” but rather aims at demonstrating that “the political caprices of a party cannot produce instability in the Romanian state.”

On the other hand, Geoana once again lashed out, yesterday, at the acting leadership of Social-Democrats, describing the PSD leaders as “bad-tempered kids that play with the dignities of the state” and “brutes” that make proof of “political cretinism,” adding that Victor Ponta dreams himself a prime-minister, when he is incapable of managing even a motor pool. “If there is no secret agreement here, don’t call me Geoana,” he said, quoted by Mediafax. In his opinion, PSD is playing a dangerous game with its attempts to remove both President Traian Basescu and him – the occupant of the second most important position in the state – at the same time. Ironically, he said that, if the plenum of the Senate elects UDMR Senator Marko Bela as speaker (the Union already announced the intention to nominate its own candidate for the vacated position), this will be the “gift” made by Ponta to the Romanian nation. Once again, he did not miss the opportunity to lash at the honorary president of PSD, Ion Iliescu, whom he described as “a subject encased in a bier” and “moved to a different wing of history.”

War over top position in Senate begins

Once they received it as a “gift” from the opposition, the Democrat-Liberals are not willing to give up the function of Senate speaker. The secretary of the Senate, Orest Onofrei (PDL) said it will be a representative of his party that will hold the top position in the Upper House until the end of the current mandate of the Parliament: either the interim speaker Petru Filip, or another politician that will be elected by the plenum. According to party vice-president Traian Igas, other names of PDL MPs rumored as possible candidates are Vasile Blaga, Mihai Stanisoara and acting speaker Petru Filip. While Igas claimed the presidency of the Senate ‘by right’ for his party, the leader of the PDL group in the Senate, Cristian Radulescu mentioned the existence of a joint PDL-UDMR candidacy.

UDMR however covets this place for itself, as Senator Gyorgy Frunda said that the group of the ethnic Hungarian party in the Upper House has decided to nominate its own candidate for the position of speaker. In his turn, UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor admitted the existence of “a strong trend” inside the Union to have its own candidate for the top position, but a final decision will be made early next week, in the ruling coalition.

Despite the announcement made by the leader of the PSD group in the Senate, Ilie Sarbu, about supporting Titus Corlatean for speaker, political sources quoted by HotNews said that USL might take into consideration supporting the candidate of UDMR. The same sources claimed that UDMR’s wish to give the next speaker has irritated the other junior partner of the ruling coalition, UNPR – led by Gabriel Oprea – that will nominate its own candidate. “If UDMR will propose a name we, too, have Cristi Diaconescu. Anyway, we have more MPs than UDMR, but this issue must be sorted out in the coalition,” a UNPR senator told HotNews.ro.

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