After the responsibility for the publication of the decision on the vote of 25 March had been passed as a hot potato from the Standing Bureau of the Senate to the Legal Committee and vice-versa, and on Wednesday was at last published in the Official Journal, as the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) had required and also under the pressure of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), the act was immediately challenged before CCR by the National Liberal Party (PNL). This is a new premiere for Romania, again caused by the case of Senator Dan Sova who was saved from an imminent arrest by his colleagues in Parliament, the burden is now on the shoulders of CCR and the process seems to be quite interesting. CCR President Augustin Zegrean said that, if a non-constitutionality ruling was given, a new vote would have to be taken in the Senate.
‘If the decision is not good, it will be declared wrong and a new vote will be taken. I mean the request will need to be reconsidered’, Zegrean noted, according to Digi24. The journalists insisted, asking the CCR head if it could be a reinterpretation of the vote or an actual new vote. ‘What else? Everything will be redone from the beginning. So far, the Parliament decisions that have been ruled unconstitutional were always re-written, other decisions were made. Everything is redone from the beginning. You would like me to tell you this now: if the case (PNL’s appeal – editor’s note) comes before us and we sustain it, they will arrest Sova. I cannot tell you that, because it’s not true. So a new vote wile b taken and a new decision will be made’, Zegrean said.
The section of the decision states that ‘we find that the requirements under Section 24, paragraph (4) of Law. No. 96/2006 on the Statute of senators and deputies and Section 173 of the Senate Regulation for approving the detention and preventive arrest have not been fulfilled’.
PNL announced already on Wednesday that it would challenge before the Constitutional Court the decision regarding Dan Sova’s situation, published in the Official Journal on Wednesday night.
Catalin Boboc (PNL), Chair of the Legal Committee, said the Liberals had already prepared the appeal to be presented to the Constitutional Court after the publication of the decision in the Official Journal.
Boboc said that, in his opinion, the Standing Bureau had ‘erroneously’ decided to empower the speaker of the Senate with signing the draft decision of the Legal Affairs Committee.
‘We are waiting for the decision to be published in the Official Journal and the Court will decide’, Catalin Boboc said on Wednesday.
The Liberal noted that the decision on the vote on 25 March was also mentioned in the transcript of the meeting where DNA’s request was declined.
Senator Tudor Barbu: ‘The decision defies laws and, first of all, the fundamental law, the Constitution’
The announcement regarding the appeal PNL made to CCR on Thursday was made by Senator Tudor Barbu. ‘The decision given by the Senate of Romania in the Sova matter will be challenged in a few minutes from now (…) The Liberal group in the Senate is making an appeal before CCR against the Senate’s decision in the Dan Sova case. There are very many legal grounds, very many (…) pages of arguments (…) to defend a natural action – ascertain a decision that defies laws and, first of all, the fundamental law, the Constitution’, Barbu, Vice-President of the PNL political group in the Senate, noted minutes before the action became official.
The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) decided on 8 April, on the claim submitted by the president of CSM, following the vote in the Sova case, that there was a legal conflict of a constitutional nature between PICCJ and the Senate, caused by the latter’s refusal to write a decision attesting to the result of the vote.
On 17 April, the constitutional judges published the motivation of their ruling and on 2 April it was published in the Official Journal.
On 25 March, at the vote in plenary session of the Senate, out of the 151 votes expressed in the case of the request concerning Dan Sova, 79 were in favour, 67 opposed and vive were annulled.
The Senate at the time invoked Section 24, paragraph 4 of Law No. 96/2006 on the Statute of Deputies and Senators, according to which each Chamber decides on the request to detain, arrest or search a member ‘with the secret vote of the majority of its members’, although the Constitution, at Section 76, says the decisions of the Chambers of Parliament ‘are adopted with the vote of the majority of attending members of each Chamber’. The Senate never issued a decision declining DNA’s result, just saying that the required number of votes for approving the detention and arrest of a senator had not been fulfilled.
Afterwards, President Klaus Iohannis, the president of CSM and PNL notified the CCR and, after deliberation, the constitutional judges only retained the claim of the head of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM).