The Chamber of Deputies and Senate voted on Tuesday on changing the Statute of Deputies and Senators which says that the requests for the criminal investigation, detention or preventive arrest of a member of Parliament must be approved by the majority of members present during the meeting.
The modification of the Statute Law was made a day before the debate at the Constitutional Court on a possible legal conflict of a constitutional nature between the judiciary and legislative power in the case of PSD Senator Dan Sova, a fact PNL denounces as an attempt by the Social-Democrats at leaving the claims brought before the Constitutional Court without an object.
‘Holiday’ call to Parliament with accusations and lamentations
Premier Victor Ponta, the President of PSD, on Monday called on the MPs of his party and those in the opposition to attend the works of Parliament on Tuesday in order to put Law 96/2006 on the Statue of Deputies and Senators
with the decision of the Constitutional Court. Approximately 30 senators and deputies however were held for hours at the Timisoara and Iasi airports as two Tarom aircraft became inoperable. Although among the MPs blocked at the airports there were also some from other parties, PNL accused the Social-Democrats of blocking flights due to arrive in Bucharest and asked for a postponement of the meetings until 17:00.
PNL Co-president Alina Gorghiu said, on Saturday, that the calling of MPs in session on Tuesday was ‘political raffishness’ explaining that on that day ‘many colleagues in Parliament will not be present because of the public holidays’ and said the MP had been called on Tuesday on purpose in order for the laws not to be adopted. The leader of the PNL MPs in the lower Chamber, Ludovic Orban, on Tuesday accused the Social-Democrats of pushing for holding the joint meeting of the Parliament on Tuesday without the joint Standing Bureaus having the report of the relevant commission on the modification of the Statute of Deputies and Senators.
The Standing Bureaus met on Tuesday at the request of Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu for calling a joint meeting of Parliament to amend the Statute of Deputies and Senators so that the decisions approving the requests for the detention of MPs can be adopted by simple majority.
‘The proposal consists of the modification of paragraph 4 of section 24 to allow the adoption of decisions approving requests for the detention and arrest of MPs, made by the minister of justice, by the majority of attending members of Parliament and not by the majority of all members of the requested Chamber as the law currently requires. The aim of the proposal is to bring in agreement the specific provisions of Law 96/2006 with sections 67 and 76 of the Constitution’, reads a press release sent to Agerpres by the Senate.
The MPs interrupted their Easter holiday to change the section that kept Dan Sova out of preventive arrest. It is section 173 of the Regulation of the Senate, the one considered for the counting of votes in the case of DNA’s request for detaining and arresting Senator Dan Sova, instead of the constitutional provision.
In a decision seven years ago, the Constitutional Court said DNA’s requests regarding members of Parliament were to be adopted by the vote of the majority of deputies or senators present in the hall, unlike section 173 of the Regulation of the Senate which states that such requests may be approved by the vote of half plus one of the total number of senators.
Notifications on Sova case on Wednesday’s CCR agenda
The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) will discuss on Wednesday the notifications received from President Klaus Iohannis, the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) regarding the vote given by the Senate in the Dan Sova case. CCR President Augustin Zegrean has said that ‘much can still be done’. ‘Much can still be done also in the Dan Sova case. You’ll find out on Wednesday’, Zegrean told ‘Evenimentul zilei’.
The Superior Magistracy Council has alerted the Constitutional Court about the decision of the Senate not to grant the prosecutors’ request to preventively arrest Dan Sova. The notification was made by judge Marius Tudose, President of CSM. President Klaus Iohannis and PNL’s notifications are also pending before CCR.