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August 12, 2022

PDL to challenge Statute of MPs at Constitutional Court again

The Parliament adopted yesterday the new form of the law.

The two Chambers’ joint plenum adopted on Wednesday the Statute of MPs, in the form established by the Juridical and Statute Commissions, with 360 votes in favor and 38 votes against. The law was reexamined as a result of the Constitutional Court’s decision. The Constitutional Court decided on February 27 that the change brought to the Statute of MPs in what concerns the 45-day period in which an MP can attack an ANI report in court is unconstitutional.

The Juridical and Statute Commissions decided on Tuesday to modify that period from 45 to 15 days, as stipulated by the ANI law. Another change brought by the commissions refers to the 6-month period in which an MP that finds himself in a conflict of interests is banned from meetings, that period being lowered to 30 days. The commissions also decided to replace the term “minister” with “member of the government.” At the proposal of UDMR MP Marton Arpad, the commissions decided to introduce in the Statute an amendment according to which “on the date the current law comes into force any stipulation to the contrary is abrogated.” This amendment displeased the PDL representatives who voted against it. PDL MP Gabriel Andronache stated, after the commissions’ meeting, that only those articles deemed unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court should have been discussed and “the amendment exceeds the Court’s decision and is a violation of parliamentary procedures.” Andronache pointed out that this amendment means that the provisions of all the other laws that contradict the Statute of MPs are abrogated. Speaker of the Senate Crin Antonescu stated that the Statute of MPs will be, in his opinion, promulgated by the Head of State and pointed out that the discussion concerning the law was “exaggerated,” the statement that the MPs have placed themselves above other citizens being inappropriate. Cristian Radulescu, the leader of the Democrat-Liberal group within the Senate, stated yesterday for Mediafax that PDL will attack the draft Statute of MPs at the Constitutional Court again, the notification set to be filed on Thursday. He pointed out that the notification will be signed by PDL Senators and Lower Chamber MPs.

According to Senator Cristian Radulescu, the first reason why PDL will attack the draft Statute of MPs at the Constitutional Court again concerns the sanction, lowered from six months to one month, of banning the MP that finds himself in a conflict of interests, since even lowered it prevents the MP from carrying out his term. “The Court expressed its view and stated that the term has to be exercised uninterruptedly and any containment of state offices is unconstitutional,” Radulescu stated. He said that the second reason concerns the reintroduction of the stipulation according to which any stipulations to the contrary are abrogated. The stipulation had been initially eliminated from the draft following the objections presented in President Traian Basescu’s reexamination request. Radulescu added that the third motive for which PDL will attack the Statute of MPs at the Constitutional Court again refers to the introduction of the regulation concerning the rights of MPs that are also members of government. “This modification, in the current procedural stage, is no longer possible. Now we should have referred strictly to what the Constitutional Court had decided,” Radulescu added.

Zgonea’s regrets

Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea stated yesterday for Mediafax that he regrets the way in which the Statute of MPs was modified through the UDMR amendment, adding that he hopes solutions to remedy the situation will be found. “I don’t agree with and I clearly want to distance myself from the extra modifications brought, compared to what we had to do following the Constitutional Court’s decision. I plainly supported the PSD-PC position which voted against the amendment brought by our UDMR colleagues within the Statute Commission,” Zgonea stated. According to parliamentary sources quoted by Mediafax, Marian Neacsu, the leader of PSD MPs within the Lower Chamber, erroneously asked the Social-Democrat MPs to vote for the amendment proposed by UDMR, contrary to Valeriu Zgonea’s request.

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