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March 3, 2021

President’s impeachment project gains shape

Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu said yesterday he would initiate steps to present to the leaders of parliamentary parties both at the Senate and Chamber of Deputies his legislative initiative for the impeachment of President Traian Basescu.

The request for the impeachment of President Traian Basescu is ready and the senators and deputies have been able to sign it since yesterday. Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, who initiated the procedure, needs to collect over 190 signatures from at least one third of the MPs for the action to be able to continue its legislative route. If the necessary signatures are gathered, the impeachment request will be sent by the Parliament to the Constitutional Court to obtain the consultative opinion.

According to the time-table proposed by Tariceanu, the impeachment of the president by Parliament should happen around 23 September and the dismissal referendum on November 2.
The request for the impeachment of the president of Romania includes three elements for which Traian Basescu’s dismissal is pursued: the president became involved in the campaign of the People’s Movement Party (PMP), the direct intervention with the president of the European Commission in the case of the European commissioner and institutional relations in uncivilised manners.
Asked yesterday if he had talked to PM Ponta about the impeachment of President Traian Basescu, Tariceanu answered that he consults with the PM periodically. ‘I believe you have noted the statement made by the premier, who said he did not believe PSD MPs would have any hesitation to sign the impeachment request’, Tariceanu added.
Tariceanu said yesterday that he had started the steps in order to present to the leaders of the political groups in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies the initiative for the impeachment of President Traian Basescu. He added that, after Traian Basescu’s possible dismissal from office, he would not claim the ad-interim president position, which would be filled by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Valeriu Zgonea.
UDMR, PMP, ACL against Basescu’s impeachment
Although PM Victor Ponta said on Antena 3 TV on Sunday that Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s initiative for the impeachment of the president would be discussed in PSD, noting it was a serious action and that any day without Traian Basescu was an evil less for the country, the other parties on the Romanian political stage are not in favour of the impeachment of the president.
UDMR will not support Tariceanu’s endeavour, President Kelemen Hunor told Mediafax yesterday. He said ‘the preoccupation should be with the future rather than the past, and Traian Basescu is the past’. He further noted that an overlapping of the presidential election with a referendum for the impeachment of the president would ‘confuse the election campaign and its messages’.
PMP President Elena Udrea doesn’t believe the impeachment is possible and says that something like that would mean the ‘entry of Traian Basescu into the election campaign without hesitation’ which would only help her, as a candidate. She added that it was ‘a gesture of maximum irresponsibility’ to speak of impeaching President Traian Basescu. Udrea did not miss the opportunity to attack the premier, saying he died not say anything about governance and economy and that he ‘tried any trick to move the debate onto topics that spare him the reporting on his own performance’.
PNL Vice-President Ludovic Orban said the initiation of the procedures for impeaching Basescu was ‘a cheap diversion and wool drawn over the eyes of the citizen’, adding that Ponta had not the courage to initiate the action himself, so he had his boy—on-call, Tariceanu do it for him.
Not least, PDL Vice-President Vasile Blaga said yesterday, after the ACL meeting, that PNL and PDL were not interested in impeaching Traian Basescu and were not going to join the initiators. He described the invoked arguments as ‘childish’.
Even in PSD things are not very clear when it comes to the possible impeachment of the president. Victor Ponta’s presidential campaign spokeswoman Gabriela Firea noted the PSD leaders would discuss the impeachment subject this week, until the Congress on Friday, September 12, as there were two distinct trends of opinion regarding that in the party. ‘There are two trends. Any person, be it president or regular citizen, when they break the law, when they break the Constitution, should pay immediately and not at a later date. And, the second one is that an election campaign for the referendum (for dismissing the president – our note) would only help Traian Basescu victimise himself and squeeze tears from the voters for not being allowed to complete his term’, Firea said. She pointed out that, up until the PSD Congress on Friday, the leaders of the party would look at all arguments – both in favour and against the impeachment of Basescu. ‘We will have a meeting of PSD leaders these days. A decision will be made, which we will communicate. We will need to analyse profoundly and wisely the arguments in favour and against and we must consider what’s best for Romanians’, Firea also said.

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