The Senate’s juridical commission rejected yesterday the amendments through which USL sought to organize a two-day referendum and to eliminate the voter turnout threshold. Victor Ponta stated that the government will no longer intervene with another emergency ordinance.
The Senate will discuss today, during two plenary meetings that are part of an extraordinary session, emergency ordinance number 41 on modifying the referendum law and the emergency ordinance on modifying the Constitutional Court’s prerogatives. After the vote the law will be immediately sent to the Lower Chamber, the decisional chamber that will debate it and cast the final vote. The Lower Chamber will meet at 10 AM today in order to discuss emergency ordinance number 38 that concerns the Constitutional Court’s prerogatives and emergency ordinance number 41 that concerns the referendum, so that the two ordinances will be subjected to the Constitutional Court’s control by Thursday morning. The statement was made by interim Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea, after the meeting of the Lower Chamber’s juridical commission. According to Mediafax, Zgonea stated that the members of the Lower Chamber’s juridical commission will meet today in order to file their report on modifying emergency ordinance number 38 in line with the Constitutional Court’s decisions, and the plenum meeting that will adopt the modifications will meet on Wednesday at 10 AM. The Speaker of the Lower Chamber pointed out that after emergency ordinance number 41 is discussed within the Senate the Lower Chamber will hold a meeting too so that “the two ordinances will be subjected to constitutionality control by Thursday morning at the latest.” USL lost the battle within the Senate’s juridical commission yesterday, the commission rejecting the proposals that PNL Senator Ioan Ghise made on modifying the referendum law in the sense of eliminating the voter turnout threshold and of organizing a two-day referendum.
The Senators decided to maintain the text of the emergency ordinance in the form given to it by the government. USL nevertheless still has a chance since the rejected amendments will nevertheless be put up for debate and vote during the meeting of the Senate’s plenum today. Toni Grebla (PSD), Chairman of the juridical commission, stated for Mediafax that from his point of view maintaining the voter turnout threshold for the referendum represents “an excess” on the part of the legislators and a brake in consulting the population. “Apart from the argument that the absentees’ votes will be added to those voting “no,” this discourages the use of the referendum as a means of consulting the population,” the PSD Senator pointed out. According to Lower Chamber’s Deputy Speaker Ioan Oltean (PDL), the referendum’s duration can be extended only by modifying the referendum law. “By law, the date and schedule of the referendum are announced at least 20 days before, not a week and a half before the referendum. The Constitutional Court (CC) often stated that it is not constitutional to change the rules during the game,” Oltean stated. In his turn, Mircea Toader, leader of PDL MPs, stated that PDL will appeal to the Constitutional Court if the Parliament eliminates the voter turnout threshold that consists of a majority of registered voters. Premier Victor Ponta stated yesterday that the government will no longer intervene with an emergency ordinance in the referendum issue because the interim president has promulgated the referendum law and issuing an emergency ordinance now would be juridical folly. In what concerns the ordinance that limits the Constitutional Court’s prerogatives when it comes to the Parliament’s decisions, Ponta pointed out that it will be voted today in Parliament. “Unless PDL attacks it at the Constitutional Court, because I expect anything on their part, President Antonescu will promulgate it on Thursday and it will appear in the Official Gazette,” the Premier stated.
USL-PDL trade accusations over referendum
The Central Electoral Bureau sent to the Prefect of Constanta yesterday the USL request for the setting up of another 100 voting centres at the seaside. PSD Constanta President Radu Mazare and PNL Constanta President Gheorghe Dragomir argued that “the number of tourists that are at the seaside each weekend during the summer holidays surpasses 140,000 according to MDRT estimates.” In support of the request, Mazare and Dragomir pointed out that apart from the events included in the “Seaside 2012” programme, Mangalia will host the Liberty Parade “which will be attended by an estimated 60,000 persons,” Vama Veche resort will host Stufstock, “which will be attended by an estimated 20,000 persons,” and Mangalia will host the Jessie J concert on July 28, which will be attended by an estimated 10,000 persons. In reply, PDL MEP Marian Jean Marinescu stated yesterday in Craiova that the plan to set up “voting centres everywhere, even on the beach if possible,” is meant to create “chaos” at the referendum. According to Mediafax, the MEP stated that he expects to see people that will vote on all kinds of special and supplementary voting lists in order to tilt the balance. On the other hand, PDL First Vice President Cezar Preda announced yesterday that PDL will file a criminal complaint against Liviu Dragnea and USL representatives for breaking the law and offering electoral bribes. The statement came after ‘Adevarul’ daily wrote that PSD Secretary General Liviu Dragnea wrote letters to the Social-Democrat campaign leaders, asking them to organize tombolas for voters, tombolas with prizes such as tickets to concerts and films, books, holidays, phone cards, as well as various events such as shows and playgrounds (events featuring clowns, balloons, fairies, bicycles, etc.) for children whose parents prove they voted.