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October 23, 2021

Constitutional Court debating verdict on validating referendum

USL submitted a referendum complaint to the Court, yet would not make its content public.

The Constitutional Court (CC) met yesterday to discuss the result of the July 29 referendum on president Traian Basescu’s dismissal, Mediafax report. The Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) sent the referendum final result documents to the Constitutional Court, and yet, no decision had been made public by the time Nine O’Clock went to press.  Separately, the disputes are heating up between the two camps, the Social Liberal Union (USL) and the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) namely. Premier Victor Ponta on Tuesday evening delivered a public message summoning all the parties involved in the political conflict generated by the president’s suspension to abstain from any form of direct or indirect public pressure aimed at the CC or some of its judges. Also, the head of the Executive   wrote to the president of the European Commission (EC), Jose Manuel Barroso, assuring him that the Romanian government will observe the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the referendum.The same message was also launched by the US Embassy to Romania. “The Court must be allowed to make a principled decision independently and without any outside interference.  It is essential that the Romanian people have confidence that the referendum was free and fair and that these rules have been enforced”, a press release informs.Also, the USL filed a referendum complaint with the CC, yet, from respect to judicial independence, would not make its content public, said Liviu Dragnea, general secretary of the Social Democratic Party, Mediafax reported. Also, Chamber of Deputies Speaker Valeriu Zgonea, and the Senate interim speaker, Petru Filip, notified the Court over the Emergency ordinance OUG 41 eliminating the quorum was the legal grounds on which the referendum was called. Therefore, they say that the derogation should be taken into account from art. 5, paragraph (2), which ties the validity of the referendum to the participation of at least half plus one of the number of persons on electoral lists, which means the president’s dismissal to be accomplished by the majority of the votes actually cast at the referendum. Zgonea and Filip also call for information to be made available from the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC), National Institute of Statistics (INS), the Ministry of Administration and Interior (MAI) sand from the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) towards establishing the validation conditions for the referendum, given the number of persons on the lists is at odds with the preliminary results of the census in 2011, according to which Romania has a population of 20,254,866. The USL complaint holds that the referendum validation threshold encroaches on the freedom and equality in voting, which is against the recommendations by the Venice Commission.In a press communique Wednesday, the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies law Commission, , Daniel Buda (PDL), holds that the request to the CC by Valeriu Zgonea and Petru Filip runs against Interior Minister Ioan Rus’ statements, who mentioned that the total number of eligible voters in  Romania exceeds 18 million.Suspended President Traian Basescu, speaking from his campaign headquarters, he would not comment Valeriu Zgonea’s and Petru Filip’s notifications to the CC, added that it is up to the “CC to decide”.The Romanian Union of Laid-off Military Staff (SCMD) takes a different view, calling on the Constitutional Court to put off its referendum ruling until the actual number is established of eligible voters.

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