Parliament adopts declaration demanding President Basescu’s resignation

PNL and PPDD voted alongside PSD-UNPR-PC. UDMR abstained, while PDL and PMP did not attend.

The Parliament adopted on Wednesday the declaration demanding the resignation of President Traian Basescu as a result of the scandal involving his brother Mircea Basescu, who is currently under arrest for corruption. The joint plenum of the two Chambers adopted the statement with 344 votes in favour, no votes against and 17 abstentions. The PDL and PMP MPs did not attend the meeting.
“Romania’s President Traian Basescu is no longer entitled to ensure the prestige, moral integrity and legitimacy of the presidential office, and that is why he should resign immediately,” reads a joint declaration of Parliament that will be put up for a vote today.
The declaration alleges to “serious and irremediable damage to the prestige of the presidential office following the involvement of the brother of Romania’s President in very serious corruption misdeeds, as well as his relations with people belonging to very dangerous organised crime rings, which were used for electoral purposes by Romania’s President.”
“Taking into account the preclusion in finding out the truth and the rendering of justice by claiming the immunity from prosecution enjoyed by Romania’s President in many cases underway, in order to guarantee the prestige and independence of the judiciary before the Romanian citizens by eliminating any suspicions of the President influencing or favouring his cronies, since the President is the person with the constitutional power to appoint, promote or revoke from office magistrates, as well as the chief prosecutors and the chief judges, taking into account the regional and European political reality, concerned by the massive impact that the scandal implicating the family of Romania’s president has on the credibility of Romania, in which case it is imperiously necessary for the representation of the Romanian State to be supported by strong institutions outside any suspicions of collusion with organised crime, Romania’s Parliament, a fundamental institution of democracy whose main constitutional power is the supreme and legitimate representation of the interests of all of Romania’s citizens, in accordance with the Romanian Constitution, approves the following declaration: Romania’s President, Mr Traian Basescu is no longer entitled to ensure the prestige, moral integrity and legitimacy of the presidential office, for which reason he should immediately resign from the office of Romania’s President,” reads the declaration.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta stated that President Traian Basescu’s possible resignation following the overwhelming result of the vote given in Parliament will not be to the benefit of either the Government or the Opposition, but to the benefit of Romania’s image abroad and of the image of the Romanian judiciary. “I believe that it will be not only to the benefit of the Government, or the Opposition, if he resigns today, but to the benefit of Romania’s image abroad and of the image of the Romanian judiciary, considering that the prosecutors and the judges will no longer find themselves in such an awkward situation when they have to be appointed precisely by someone whose family is involved in multiple offenses,” stated Ponta.
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the author of this declaration, said that President Traian Basescu treats Parliament with “sovereign contempt” and ignores it as institution in his statements. “We know from the statement made at the Cotroceni Palace on Monday that he would not present his resignation regardless of our vote. We know that he treats Parliament with sovereign contempt, that he ignores it as an institution in his statements, that he wanted to reduce it to silence and turn it into an empty shell,” Tariceanu said. According to him, any vote against or abstention in what concerns the declaration demanding the President’s resignation “means a tacit approval of the situation.”
PSD salutes PNL and PPDD’s votes
The structure of the votes shows that PNL and PPDD voted alongside PSD and UNPR in favour of Basescu’s resignation. Prime Minister Victor Ponta thanked the Liberals for voting on Wednesday in favour of the political declaration demanding the resignation of President Traian Basescu and for no longer listening to the “orders” coming from the Presidential Palace through Liberal Democratic Party leader Vasile Blaga. Moreover, the PM said that “USL still existed today.” “We are not talking now about the governmental coalition, but this is the parliamentary majority that we are talking about and I want to show my appreciation for the gesture made by our Liberal colleagues. Today USL existed again and the fact that they voted in favour of this Declaration deserves all of our appreciation,” said Ponta.
Dan Diaconescu’s PPDD was awarded for its vote right after the Parliament meeting, PSD signing with it an agreement of local and Parliamentary collaboration.
UDMR abstains, PDL and PMP did not attend
The 17 abstentions belonged to the UDMR MPs who thus acted in disagreement with their PSD-PC-UNPR partners. Ponta replied by saying that “there was no obligation within the coalition” and that each MP “voted as he saw fit.” “There was no obligation within the coalition, each MP voted as he saw fit and the result of 344 votes in favour and no vote against I believe is significant for the Parliament’s decision,” Ponta said when asked for his comment on the fact that UDMR abstained.
On behalf of PDL, former Premier Emil Boc pointed out that the Romanian Parliament, which he called the “Parliament of the indicted,” is not in the position to lecture President Traian Basescu, but to be lectured by the Head of State when it comes to the manner of behaving towards the judiciary. He added that it is a shame that there was the need for such an unpleasant event, “for his brother to have legal problems, in order to prove that you never influenced the judiciary and that in this country the rule of law takes precedence and nobody is above the law.”
In her turn, PMP President Elena Udrea said outside the Lower Chamber’s plenary session room that she chose to protest against what she called the hypocrisy of the ruling power MPs by not attending the joint session of Parliament that put up for vote a declaration urging President Traian Basescu to resign. “Our protest is here outside the plenary session room, where the parliamentary majority has convened, and in this way we are trying to show them how hypocritical they are. I also have a message for the National Liberal Party (PNL) that this is not just hypocrisy, but a lot of stupidity as well: trying to replace Traian Basescu four months before the end of his term in office means throwing the presidency of Romania into the arms of Victor Ponta. Unless their interest is exactly that, to support Victor Ponta to win the presidential elections,” said Udrea.
New transcripts in Mircea Basescu case
According to juridical sources quoted by Mediafax, after the filing of the tape recordings showing Mircea Basescu talking to Florin Anghel (Bercea Mondial’s son), the investigators sent them to a technical expert from the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) for assessment. After that the recordings were certified as authentic so they could be used as evidence by prosecutors, the same sources informed.
At the same time, Antena 3 broadcast on Tuesday evening new transcripts from the case in which Mircea Basescu is charged with influence peddling. According to the information presented by Antena 3, the transcripts allegedly show the moment in which the attempt was made to catch in the act the blackmail that the Head of State’s brother had complained of. The transcripts show Izaura, the daughter of Sandu Anghel (also known as Bercea Mondial), asking Mircea Basescu to give her back a sum of money because the President’s brother had not kept his promise. According to the transcripts, Sandu Anghel’s daughter threatened Mircea Basescu she would go to the DNA and would present all evidence. On the other hand, the President’s brother allegedly asked for more time in order to implement “some plans.”
“Izaura Anghel: Godfather, I’ll go and give this to the DNA and you’ll be arrested in one week! Mircea Basescu: What? Izaura Anghel: In one week you’ll be arrested if I give them the tape recording! I guarantee it! (…) Mircea Basescu: Who knows what I said, I could have told them so many things… I was with Marian, you know, in order to help you out, to help Marian… (…) Mircea Basescu: Give me a week or two… Izaura Anghel: I can’t, godfather… Mircea Basescu: Shut up, shut up! In order to make some plans, to see, and then we’ll talk. One can’t talk with you, you’re more… Constantin Marius (Izaura’s boyfriend): I understand, godfather, but put yourself in our shoes… Mircea Basescu: Don’t you understand I don’t have money? Izaura Anghel: Look, this is what annoys me, you not having money… Go borrow some from your brother… Mircea Basescu: How could I borrow from my brother, you think he has money? Let me tell you he doesn’t either… Constantin Marius: Traian? He doesn’t have money? That guy doesn’t have money? Mircea Basescu: No.”
After the leaking of more transcripts in the Mircea Basescu-Sandu Anghel case, President Traian Basescu issued on Tuesday night a press release, in which he repeats that he has never discussed Anghel’s case, and he has not received money or goods from him or on his behalf. ‘I have never discussed with my brother Mircea Basescu the case regarding Sandu Anghel, aka Bercea Mondial, and I have not received money or goods from or on behalf of Sandu Anghel for having his sentence abridged in court or for pardoning. And that is true for any other court cases or pardon requests,’ says Basescu in a clarification regarding ‘what a TV channel claims to be transcripts from the Mircea Basescu – Sandu Anghel case aired on Tuesday’.
Kovesi sues Antena 3
In the same case, DNA Chief Laura Codruta Kovesi has sued the Antena 3 television channel and several of its employees, including Mihai Gadea, for the statements made in what concerns the “Bercea – Mircea Basescu” case, asking for EUR 250,000 in damages for the attacks on her personal life. Likewise, Kovesi also notified the National Audiovisual Council (CNA), as well as the Superior Magistracy Council’s (CSM) Juridical Inspection. Last week, Bercea Mondial stated from a police van that he allegedly paid EUR 2 M for his release, the money allegedly ending up in the hands of Codruta Kovesi, Supreme Court President Livia Stanciu, as well as PDL President Vasile Blaga. After that statement, Kovesi stated for Digi24 that when Bercea Mondial was asked to write that in his statement, the crime boss allegedly refused.

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