The Constitutional Court officially announced yesterday around 5 PM that it postponed for September 12 its decision on the referendum, pointing out that it received “contradictory” data concerning the permanent lists of registered voters and that it asked the government to file by the end of August the lists on whose basis the referendum was organized. “Considering the contradictory data that the Constitutional Court received in what concerns the number of persons on the permanent lists of registered voters, the Constitutional Court has asked the Romanian Government to file, by August 31, the updated lists on whose basis the referendum was organized on July 29,” the Court points out in a press communiqué. The court also unanimously rejected all challenges against the way the referendum was organized and took place. According to the press, five judges voted to declare the referendum null, while four voted against. Six votes were needed for a decision. Aspazia Cojocaru, one of the nine judges, stated that all data has to be collected from competent authorities. “In my opinion the referendum should have been canceled because it was based on false data.” Asked how many judges voted in favor of postponing a decision for September 12, the judge answered: “I cannot tell you.” She pointed out that documents were asked from all relevant institutions, documents that will have to be analyzed. Ion Predescu, another judge, stated that the real number of people who had the right to vote on July 29 should be verified. The government announced it will meet on Friday in order to take the necessary executive measures in order to answer the requests that the Constitutional Court made. Talks will take place with all institutions involved in updating the lists of registered voters, a government communiqué shows. The government also announced it took note of the Constitutional Court’s decision and considers it the right decision. “We announce the government’s intention to fully respect this decision, just as we respect the civic commitment and exemplary mobilization that Romanians have shown the moment democratic mechanisms and procedures asked them to make their voice heard by voting,” the communiqué shows. Premier Victor Ponta is quoted saying that the government respects the options of all Romanians and assures its external partners that in Romania the rule of law and the independence of democratic institutions are not affected by political disputes. At the same time, Ponta offers assurances that the government’s activity will continue unperturbed by the effects of this decision, set to focus in the following period on talks with IMF representatives.
PDL leader calls on government to resign
PDL leader Vasile Blaga said yesterday evening that his party will observe the CC rulings. He blamed USL for denying the results of the referendum it organised. Blaga recalled the Interior Ministry was the one pointing at a number of voters above 18 million. Then a communique was released by the MAI contradicting this figure, which led to the CC decision. “We call for the entire government to resign. We are entering now in the second phase of the coup d’etat. The consequences of USL decisions will be dramatic. It has cost us RON 6 bln so far, it will cost us even more from now on,” Blaga said. Blaga further accused USL that, in order to take full power and keep Antonescu as interim president, it will lead Romania into chaos. “The entire blame for what happened – and will happen – falls upon USL,” he said.PDL Vice President Sulfina Barbu stated for Mediafax that she did not expect such a decision from the Constitutional Court and pointed out that if the permanent lists of registered voters are not real then the local elections should be questioned and declared null too. She stated that in these conditions the number of MPs, the local elections and the parliamentary elections are in doubt. She asked where the fairness that the government talked about is. PDL First Vice President Cristian Preda stated in his turn that the Constitutional Court’s decision has to be respected, but at the same time he noted “the government’s absolute political irresponsibility” because nowhere in the world the number of voters is established after the elections have ended. PNL leader Eugen Nicolaescu stated for adevarul.ro that the Constitutional Court’s decision is a form of responsibility towards the citizens and postponing the result of the referendum shows that decisions are not taken hastily.The nine judges of the Constitutional Court (CCR) met again yesterday morning to make a decision on validating or invalidating the referendum for the impeachment of President Traian Basescu. After six hours of debates on Wednesday, the Court had to adjourn its proceedings and demand supplementary documents from the Ministry of Interior (MAI) and the National Statistics Institute (INS), which it needed in view of the appeals filed with CCR. Court President Augustin Zegrean explained to the press why the needed further data from MAI and INS before giving a verdict over the referendum. “All the appeals claim that the figure taken into consideration by BEC regarding the number of citizens present on the permanent electoral lists is higher than real and the Statistics (Institute) also has different figures after the census conducted last year,” the president of the Constitutional Court explained, quoted by Mediafax. Zegrean added that CC should have in its files the documents sent by institutions to the Court.The Interior Ministry led by Ioan Rus answered Wednesday evening that it has 18,292,514 voters on the electoral lists used on July 29. On the other hand, a document sent Thursday to the Court by the ID Documents and Data Base Administration Department of the MAI, made public by Hotnews, shows that “MAI cannot guarantee the authenticity of the number of people present on the permanent electoral lists, as it does not have the supplementary legal instruments needed to control the data processed by local public authorities.”According to the document, there is the possibility that the permanent electoral lists include even dead people whose demise has not been communicated by the ID administration departments of local administrations. “Under the acting legal provisions, the competence for verifying these (data present on permanent electoral lists) exclusively belongs to the Permanent Electoral Authority. Thus, the aforementioned data may affect the total number of voters present on the permanent electoral lists,” reads the document.In its turn, the National Statistics Institute explained the Court that the final data of the census conducted last year will be published next year, in the second half of 2013, and only provisional and preliminary data will be released this year. “Presently, provisional data do not allow the division into age groups, implicitly of the population aged 18 and above. These statistic data become available once final data are released, with the mention that they do not meet the criteria of calculating the number of voters. In the Romanian statistic system, there are no data sources that would allow establishing the number of Romanian citizens that have the right to vote, as provided by the legislation acting on July 29, 2012 or at any other moment,” reads the INS document sent to the Constitutional Court on Wednesday evening, signed by INS President Vergil Voineagu. The mayor of Sibiu, Klaus Johannis explained Thursday that mayors may “clean” the electoral lists only under a “thorough written documentation” and no ruling party had the courage to modify the legislation, because this pertains to “the zone of fundamental rights.” One of these fundamental rights is to elect and to be elected. A citizen may be scratched off the electoral list only if there is a thorough written documentation. (…) Things are complicated, they are defined by the law, but it is less than perfect,” Johannis said. The electoral lists of the Sibiu Municipality are in line with the acting legislation and were checked by the Permanent Electoral Authority right after the local elections, but “not even one wrong case” has been found, the mayor added.