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December 6, 2021

Parties formulate proposals for Constitution amendment

Each parliamentary group sent to the constitutional committee the “political theses” for the referendum that will be later this year.

The Committee in charge with revising the Constitution met Wednesday to discuss the projects sent, in an initial phase, by parliamentary parties with the purpose of modifying the fundamental Law. Same as in 2003, UDMR is the party that demands a radical change of the Constitution. “UDMR’s proposals mainly focus on the recognition of historic national minorities as constitutive factors of the state,” was the formal position of UDMR, expressed by deputy Mate Andras Levente. In the draft amendment submitted to the Parliament, UDMR mentions several points. The ethnic Hungarian party clearly stipulates, in the first paragraph, “the elimination of the national character of the state, the definition of Romania as a sovereign and independent state, unitary and indivisible, which has as basis the solidarity of its citizens,” as stipulated by the acting Constitution of Romania. The president of the Commission for revising the Constitution, Crin Antonescu already voiced his opinion against the proposal of UDMR. “Any parliamentary group has the right to submit any thesis.

When talks will be held in both the constitutional forum and the committee, all these topics will be approached. Regarding some matters, such as the national unitary state, you know the position of USL, it has not changed, will not change, but this does not mean that we do not treat with respect and all due consideration all the proposals that are made,” the PNL leader stated.In its draft modification submitted to the Constitution revision Committee, UDMR also demands using the language of a national minority as regional language in the zones where the minority has a significant representation. UDMR also proposes the adoption of the parliamentary republic system, with the president elected by senators and deputies. UDMR also wants to remove the government’s possibility of issuing emergency ordinances or taking responsibility over a draft law. Other proposals made by UDMR are the total or partial elimination of the prefect’s institution and a clear definition of the responsibility of magistrates for their errors.In their turn, the Liberals made proposals of amending the Constitution that refer, among others, to strengthening the independence of the judiciary, with emphasis on clarifying the statute of prosecutors and rethinking the attributions of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM), as well as strengthening the credibility and efficiency of the Constitutional Court. Moreover, they want to “redefine the Parliament as the main institution for debates and decisions of the nation.”The Liberals also want a clarification of the role held by the president of the country. “The fundamental law of 1991 made the president the embodiment of two roles: head of state and head of the Executive. For a better institutional equilibrium, it is necessary that the president remains the head of state, while not being a chief of the Executive, together with the prime minister,” believes PNL senator Tudor Chiuariu, member of the Constitution revision Committee.Up to a certain point, the demands of Social-Democrats largely coincide with those of their Liberal allies. Delimiting the relations between the president of Romania and the government, strengthening the role of the CSM and the Constitutional Court, prohibiting political migration, unequivocally defining the role of the president and a bi-cameral system for the Parliament are some of the common points.PSD also wants the revised fundamental law to specify a clear date for the parliamentary, presidential and local elections.

Another modification refers to regulating how minorities other than the Hungarian one are represented in Parliament.PDL proposes 10 political theses for the new formula of the Constitution, from enforcing the 2009 referendum about a unicameral Parliament with 300 members to limiting the budget deficit. “Revising the parliamentary immunity, so that it only refers to political statements, and maintaining the High Court of Cassation and Justice as competent court for terminating the mandate of a MP” – is another important demand on the list of the Opposition party. PDL also requests “clarifying the situations in which the government may take responsibility only once during a session of the Parliament, except the Law of the state and social insurances budget.”The parliamentary groups of PPDD propose that, until the middle of May, when the Constitution revision Committee will start to effectively discuss the proposals, a large-scale consultation of the population should be organised, with emphasis on three topics. People should be consulted over the form of governance of Romania (parliamentary, semi-presidential or presidential republic, or constitutional monarchy), the modernisation of the public administration and the way of rendering justice (if it should be done only by courts, as now, or in a mixed system – with jurors for serious crimes and press crimes, and courts without jurors for the other crimes).

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