Mona Pivniceru is to resign as Minister of Justice today, after the Senate voted to appoint her as Constitutional judge.
The premier is expected to take over his Justice portfolio.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta is going to be interim Justice Minister, the decision being made after talks with President Basescu yesterday. According to a press release posted on the Government website, under the current law, the premier has 45 days to make a new proposal for minister of justice. ‘Minister Mona Pivniceru has expressed her wish that, after the Government meeting tomorrow (today – a/n), March 27, 2013, she no longer holds the position in the Executive in order to avoid any interpretation as a possible conflict of interests since she will be a Constitutional Court judge,’ the source notes. Initially, Ponta had said he would send the president today, after the Cabinet meeting where Mona Pivniceru had announced her intention to resign as Minister of Justice, either a new proposal for the portfolio or the suggestion that he would become interim Minister of Justice. Both Ponta and PNL leader Crin Antonescu have said in various public instances they would talk about a replacement for Pivniceru when the position was vacated and she was voted by Parliament as a member of the Constitutional Court. Hotnews.ro yesterday presented the scenario according to which, as interim Justice Minister, Victor Ponta will appoint new Prosecution heads. Ponta had been in the same position after Titus Corlatean’s appointment as Foreign Minister. Two days ago, asked about possible names of the future prosecutor general and head of Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), Ponta joked and said he would make the best prosecutor general. ‘I do have experience, but I am not considering appointing myself’, said the premier. Under the law, the minister of justice proposes chief-prosecutors, the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) gives an advisory opinion and the president ahs the final decision. Apart from chiefs of the Office of the Prosecutor General, DNA and DIICOT, the second tier prosecution leaders – from deputy heads to heads of specialised departments – will be also appointed.
Parliament green-lights Pivniceru and Dorneanu to CCR
Justice Minister Mona Pivniceru was yesterday appointed as a judge to the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR), following a vote in the Senate. The PNL candidate for the position gathered 99 votes in favour and 33 against. The counter-candidates – Gheorghe Iancu, supported by PDL, and Florin Jipa, supported by PP-DD, received 16 votes in favour and 11 against and 17 in favour and 115 against respectively. PNL President Crin Antonescu said yesterday that Daniel Morar should take Pivniceru’s example and also resign as head of the Prosecutor’s Office. As for the PM taking over as interim justice minister, Antonescu said his ‘experience’ in the field recommended him, but the interim term ought to be as short as possible.
The Chamber of Deputies validated the appointment of PSD member Valer Dorneanu to the CC position vacated upon the expiration of Aspazia Cojocaru’s term. Dorneanu was a PSD member until October 2010, when he became Deputy Ombudsman. Dorneanu gathered a total of 279 votes in favour and 59 against. He vote was secret, with voting ballots. The candidate supported by PDL, Vlad Nicolae Popa, obtained 59 votes in favour and 279 against. PDL MP Mircea Toader said, during the debate, that the vote on Dorneanu’s appointment to the Constitutional Court was ‘purely political, and had nothing to do with professional competence’. ‘The Constitutional Court has always been impaired by political influences.
The vast majority of those who joined the Constitutional Court were politicians. Maybe we can send there in the future people who do not come from political parties’, Mediafax quotes Toader as having said. PSD MP Florin Iordache however said Dorneanu ‘would change the perception of CCR’. ‘We have looked at the Constitutional Court and have taken light from Constitutional Court people who judged in a political manner for too long’. The terms of three of the current CCR judges – Aspazia Cojocaru, appointed to CC at the proposal of the Chamber of Deputies, Ion Predescu, appointed at the proposal of the Senate, and Acsinte Gaspar, supported by the Presidency, are expiring in June. On Monday, President Traian Basescu appointed Daniel Morar as a CC judge for nine years..