The Senate’s Regulations Commission has modified on Tuesday Article 173 of the Regulations, establishing that “the Senate decides on the request through secret ballots cast by the majority of the Senators present,” thus replacing the stipulation according to which the decision is to be taken with the ballots of a majority of “Senate members.”
Sebastian Grapa, chairman of the Senate’s Regulations Commission, stated that it is no novelty that Article 173 had to be modified. “You saw, in fact, from the vote cast by yesterday’s plenum that all political forces represented in the Senate agreed that it has to be modified. The modification consists of the fact that while Article 173 used to state that the Senate decides on the request through the secret ballots cast by a majority of its members, the change reads like this: the Senate decides on the request through the secret ballots cast by a majority of Senators present,” Grapa stated for Mediafax. He pointed out that there was unanimity in the commission.
He also pointed out that the quorum needed to adopt a decision has thus been lowered from two thirds to a simple majority.
“We have thus set the Senate’s Regulations in line with the Constitution and with the two Constitutional Court decisions that are in force. Today I will ask the plenum to supplement the order of the day of the Senate’s meeting with this point and of course I expect a vote,” Sebastian Grapa added.
The Senate’s plenum decided on Monday to start the procedure on setting the Statute of Lower Chamber and Senate members and the Senate’s Regulations in line with the Constitution following the vote cast in the Sova case.
Ilie Sarbu, the leader of PSD Senators, stated in the plenum that following the vote cast in the Dan Sova case, which generated “comments and talks,” he proposes to the plenum “for the Regulations to be adapted to the Constitution’s provisions.” Sarbu pointed out that he refers to Law 96/2006 on the Statute of Lower Chamber and Senate members, which has to be put in line with the provisions of Article 73, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution, bearing in mind Constitutional Court decision 322/2007 and decision 990/2008. The proposal was adopted by the plenum with 117 votes in favour, one vote against and one abstention. Following the vote, the Senate’s plenum approved the start of procedures on modifying Article 173 of the Senate Regulations and Article 24, Paragraph 2 of Law 96/2006.
Senate Speaker : Parliament shall not take political instructions on how to vote from any other institution
The Speaker of the Senate, Calin Popescu Tariceanu (photo), said on Monday, regarding the claim filed by the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) and President Klaus Iohannis with the Constitutional Court, after the vote in the Dan Sova case, that the independence of Parliament is a principle that shall not be abdicated and that the senators vote according to their free will and take orders for nobody.
The head of the Senate also said he had sent out a very clear public message at an institutional level on the independence of Parliament and principle of separated powers, a principle he would not abdicate.
‘I want to be very clear: the Parliament shall not take political indications on how to vote from any other institution. The imperative vote is null, as known. The members of Parliament have the right to vote according to their own free will, after hearing individuals concerned in the cases (…). Each member of Parliament decides on an individual basis how he/she will vote and takes orders from nobody’, Tariceanu says.
The speaker of the Senate also explains why the Senate Regulation was considered for the interpretation of the result of the vote in plenary sitting on the request for Dan Sova’s arrest, noting that, as long as the specific article in the Regulation has not been ruled unconstitutional, it is in force and applicable.
‘If the Constitutional Court decides the inconsistency must be dealt with, the provision will have to be enforced from that point on, by amending the Regulation’, Calin Popescu Tariceanu also says. He notes that the second arrest request in the name of Darius Valcov will be processed under the same Regulation.
On 8 April, the Constitutional Court judges will hear President Klaus Iohannis’ claim for settling the legal conflict of a constitutional nature between the Public Ministry – the Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice and the Superior Council of Magistrates, on the one hand, and the Parliament of Romania, on the other hand.
Senate acted legally in Sova case, there is no constitutional conflict
Calin Popescu Tariceanu said in a press statement on Saturday that the Senate of Romania had acted legally in the Sova case and that there was no constitutional conflict.
He also says that, if DNA has enough evidence to have the suspect arrested, then it should also have enough evidence to bring the PSD senator to trial, which means that nothing hampers the act of justice, according to StiripeSurse.ro.
The speaker of the Senate is of the opinion that the claim filed by President Klaus Iohannis with the Constitutional Court has nothing to do with the Sova case and is out of the running.
‘The day after the vote in the Senate, the president of Romania, within the boundaries of the Constitution, made a request to CCR to settle a supposed legal conflict of a constitutional nature between the Public Ministry – the Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice and the Superior Council of Magistrates, on the one hand, and the Parliament of Romania, on the other hand. The action of the president of Romania was simultaneously accompanied by DNA and CSM’s criticism of the Senate. In reality there is no constitutional conflict, because the Senate addresses and voted on the request for lifting a senator’s immunity, without overstepping the boundaries of this prerogative and exactly on the legal grounds the requester (DNA) notes in its request – Section 24 of Law 96/2006 (the Statute of Senators and Deputies) and Section 172 of the Senate Regulation.
What caused the criticism was the result of the vote and not the assumed conflict, therefore we can identify an attempted usurpation of Senate’s prerogative by other authorities, by trying to push a certain decision (therefore to exercise, in the place of the Senate, a competence granted to it under the Constitution).
Section 72, paragraph 1, thesis I of the Constitution states that the members of Parliament may not be searched, detained or arrested without the consent of their respective Chamber. The constitutional text by that recognises the non-censurable right of the Chamber of Parliament to decide on the detention and arrest of one of its members, procedure which is also used in the European Parliament. It can be observed that the two mentioned authorities are trying to deny such right to Parliament by attempted imposition of a solution exterior to the legislative body. Such situation would annul the principle of the independence of powers. Or, Section 69 of the Constitution prohibits any imperative mandate’, the Senate speaker states in his message.
CSM head notified CCR about conflict of powers existing in Sova case
Supreme Council of Magistrates’s head (CSM), Marius Tudose, on Monday made a request to the Constitutional Court of Romania to solve the possible judicial conflict of a constitutional nature existing between the judicial authority and the legislative power in Senator Dan Sova’s case.
“The CSM head made a request to the Constitutional Court to ascertain the existence of a judicial conflict of a constitutional nature between the abovementioned public authorities, which is likely to prevent the court from fulfilling its constitutional and legal responsibilities, for the purpose of restoring constitutional order that must exist between the state’s authorities, as stipulated by the Article 146 letter (e) of the Romanian Constitution, republished, and the Article 34 plus the following ones from the Law No. 47/1992 regarding the organisation and functioning of the Constitutional Court, republished, including subsequent amendments and completions, and also by the Article 24, paragraph (3) of the Law. No. 317/2004 regarding the Supreme Council of Magistrates, including subsequent amendments and completions,” showed the release of the CSM on Monday posted on the institution’s website.