The Senate plenum protected once again Social Democrat Senator Dan Sova from arrest, after Senators overruled the request filed by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) to approve Sova’s retaining and arrest with 72 votes against and 66 votes for. Thus, with a difference of no more than six votes, the PSD Senator avoided DNA again, after the institution’s request of March 25 on the approval of the Senator’s retaining and preventive arrest. The Senate’s vote, overruling the request by DNA prosecutors, was declared unconstitutional by Romania’s Constitutional Court (CCR) judges who ordered the restart of the entire procedure in Sova’s case.
Therefore, saved by the Senate for the second time, Senator Dan Sova keeps his immunity and will not be placed under preventive arrest, as DNA prosecutors had requested. At a difference of merely six votes, the PSD Senator kept his freedom and his right to be tried in freedom. The Senate vote overruling the approval of the PSD Senator’s preventive arrest and rescuing him for the second time by his colleagues in the Senate immediately stirred reactions on the political scene.
Dan Sova’s first reaction after being rescued from arrest again
After the ballot, Dan Sova’s first reaction was to announce that the only thing he wanted was that his file would be sent to Court, so that his situation would be cleared out as fast as possible.
“I do not want to say anything about the Senate ballot. I have only one thing to say and I hope you will understand it: I wish, just like I asked the Supreme Court, to start the trial as fast as possible, to sort things out and to end these propaganda things”, Dan Sova declared after the vote in the Senate.
President Iohannis: The Parliament continues obstructing justice
President Klaus Iohannis had a harsh reaction after Senators voted, once again, against the request to cease Dan Sova’s immunity.
“I see, unfortunately, that by the vote cast today in the Senate, the Parliament continues to obstruct justice trials, using procedure-related tricks. As far as the constitutional state is concerned, it is increasingly difficult to work with this Parliament and with this majority”, the President wrote on Facebook.
Gorghiu: Power’s interpretation defies Constitution, arithmetic and decency
PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu has reacted on her Facebook account to the vote on the Sova case in the Senate yesterday and announced that the party she and Vasile Blaga co-chair would challenge it before the Constitutional Court.
‘The Sova case is an indication of the fact that, under PSD and Victor Ponta, the state is still a prisoner. The vote given yesterday as well as the interpretation of the first vote are just episodes, not the end. PNL will challenge the new vote in the Constitutional Court, as it did in the first phase when, whilst there had been a majority vote for granting the justice requests, the Power’s interpretation defied the Constitution, arithmetic and decency’; Alina Gorghiu wrote.
She thanked her colleagues for their correct vote yesterday and called some people’s attempts to blame PNL for things it does not do unacceptable. ‘It is unacceptable and extremely unfair for PNL to be blamed on every occasion for what PSD does, as some are trying to suggest, in order to create the sensation of a mixture of immorality of all political actors. PNL did its duty. Not because we had to, but because this is the way we chose to go. I have at times criticised them directly, but now I would like to thank the PNL senators for their correct vote. For law and normality’, the PNL co-chair further notes.
‘From 2005 to 2015 there have been dominant trends: one that has tried to subdue justice, another one that has tried discrediting it. Neither has fully succeeded. We are now in a new phase. Those who have tried to control the act of justice have been removed from office, but those who seek a privileged condition compared to the rest of the public are still to power. They, too, will naturally disappear from politics, but they still don’t realise that, they refuse evolution and remained blocked in the PSD gold age’, Gorghiu also states on Facebook.
PNL will file an appeal regarding procedure in the Sova case at the Constitutional Court
PNL Senator Mario Oprea announced on Tuesday that Liberals will file an appeal at the Constitutional Court regarding the procedure by which the Senate voted the request to approve Social-Democrat Dan Sova’s retaining and preventive arrest.
“We will file an appeal because it is not normal that the result of the ballot on March 25 would be reinterpreted. Unfortunately, the PSD Senators’ conscience changed from March 25 and until June 2. At that time, more of them had voted for this request, and now, there are fewer of them, yet, as you see, other groups have voted too, not just PNL members”, Liberal Senator Mario Oprea declared.
Oprea also said that submitting the appeal “will happen fast. We will collect the required signatures and we will submit it at that very moment”, he mentioned.
“The result of the ballot cannot be appealed, but the procedure itself, as it was pointed out in the plenum today, was not the one that needed to be followed, which was to remake a ballot that was already conducted. The ballot was never repeated this way. At this time, we have created a precedent, we have created a chaos inside the Senate, and whenever anyone wishes to reiterate a ballot, they will be able to do it, because they will invoke the example of today, when the vote was redone, because the plenum is sovereign”, the Liberal Senator declared.
“The Constitutional Court will decide whether this thing follows the stipulations of the Constitution. We think that it was the ballot that was convenient for them”, Oprea further declared.
Catalin Predoiu: Ponta and Tariceanu placed the Constitution under “preventive arrest” and Sova is free!
Prime Vice-President of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Catalin Predoiu also reacted instantly after Dan Sova avoided arrest for the second time. “Ponta and Tariceanu placed the Constitution under “preventive arrest” and Sova is free!”, Catalin Predoiu posted on Facebook.
“Romanians want application of laws and struggle against corruption. The opinion polls revealing their trust in Justice show it. The ballot in Dan Sova’s case is a national disgrace and by this ballot, the Senate controlled by Ponta and led by Tariceanu has defied Romanians.
Ponta’s Senate has ignored the decision of the Constitutional Court and has violated the Constitution. In Ponta’s Senate, headed by Tariceanu, the Constitution and CCR were placed under preventive arrest. The Constitution has been arrested by Ponta and Sova is free!
The purpose of the operation “Arrest the Constitution, rescue Sova is to protect Prime Minister Ponta from justice.
Dan Sova is legally pursued on three accounts related to allegedly stealing public funds through the law office “Sova and associates”, that has once worked with nobody else than lawyer Ponta. Regarding this file, anti-corruption prosecutors have demanded a ballot for the approval of Senator Sova’s preventive arrest. The task of the Parliament was merely to acknowledge that the accusations have nothing to do with Mr. Sova’s political opinions and to let judges decide whether they have reasons or not to place Mr. Sova under preventive arrest.
By the Senators’ vote, PSD and Ponta showed that laws may be optional in Romania. If you are a member of PSD, Ponta’s friend and former business partner, the law is suspended.
The stake of this ballot exceeds Mr. Sova’s person. It is not just the possible preventive arrest of a defendant, we are also talking about fairness, about the recovery of stolen money, about confiding in institutions and about the image of our country in the eyes of EU partners and entering the Schengen space.
The irresponsible vote of PSD in Sova’s case not only affects Romanians’ natural sence of justice, but it directly challenges their future and welfare”, the Liberal leader wrote on Facebook.
Mircea Geoana attacks PSD and Victor Ponta after ballot on Dan Sova’s case
After the request on Dan Sova’s arrest was overruled, Mircea Geoana launched a very harsh attack against his former party colleagues, PSD leader Victor Ponta and members of the Government Coalition PSD-UNPR- PC, accusing Victor Ponta and the majority he was based on as the toughest enemies of the battle against corruption.
“The vote of the PSD-UNPR-PC-PLR majority in Sova’s case shows (if it needed to) that Victor Ponta and the majority he is based on are the worst enemies of the battle against corruption and they have initiated a counter-offensive on all fields in order to restrict and inhibit the action of cleaning up the Romanian political class. They represent the worst enemy to the sole opportunity that Romania and Romanians would have a decent life in their own country by destructing the cartel of corruption and clientelism in politics and its toxic connection to public financial resources”, Mircea Geoana wrote on Facebook.
The ballot arithmetic
After votes were cast, news website stirpesurse.ro published disclosures about the “ballot arithmetic” and pointed out that, given the small difference, the 13 Senators of the opposition that had missed the vote (eleven Liberals and two PSRO members) could have definitely inclined the balance in the favour of the prosecutors’ request.
PNL and PSRO had gained a total of 69 votes, including the independent Ioan Ghise and affiliates Tudor Chiuariu and Varujan Vosganian. 16 of them were absent, and therefore, PNL had had no more than 53 votes in the plenum.
The DNA demand received 66 votes for, which means that the difference of thirteen votes may have come from Senators of the Government Coalition and from the five UDMR Senators.
Thus, at least eight representatives of the governing coalition have voted for Dan Sova’s arrest, stiripesurse.ro reported.
The same news site announcing that the following PNL Senators have omitted to attend the ballot: Antonescu Crin, Boagiu Anca, Bodea Cristian Petru, Chiru Gigi Cristian, Dumitrescu Iulian, Popa Mihaela, Popescu Corneliu, Popescu Dumitru Dian, Mihai Neagu, Grigoras Viorel, Florian Daniel Cristian. Additionally, two Senators of Mircea Geoana’s party – Ionita Aurel Dan si Tataru Dan – were absent at the vote. The eleven PNL Senators and the two Senators of Geoana’s party, the Romanian Social Party (PSRO) who did not attend the ballot could have definitely inclined the balance towards the request filed by the prosecutors’ office.
Moreover, Tudor Chiuariu and Varujan Vosganian, affiliates to the PNL group, where absent.
Seven Senators of the government coalition and three members of UDMR were absent as well, stiripesurse.ro reports.
Vasile Blaga, warning to PNL senators skipping the Sova vote: We’ll need to take measures
In the context where to the ‘act of benevolence’ the Senate did on Tuesday for Senator Dan Sova, who escaped preventive arrest as requested by DNA, 11 PNL senators contributed by non-attendance, PNL Co-president Vasile Blaga said there would be a serious internal discussion in the party and that those who missed the meeting, except for Anca Boagiu, had no reason not to be there and would need to give explanations.
‘There is no reason – except for Mrs. Boagiu who is attending the very important meeting of the European People’s Party in Oslo, where the National Liberal Party was received as a fully-0fledged member of EPP as the successor of the Democrat Liberal Party – she and MEP Busoi are in Oslo – for the rest there are absolutely no reasons and motivations and this is something we will very seriously discuss regarding the absence of our colleagues.
On the other hand, we should drop hypocrisy – we did not vote against DNA’s request, we all voted in the open sight for DNA’s request and other MPs were also with us. Yesterday, the 53 votes grew to a total of 66’, Vasile Blaga noted in an interview for RFI.
Vasile Blaga considers that “The Senate managed, due to PSD, to make fools of themselves again, if they needed to, because it seems that Mr. Sois a taboo for Mr. Ponta and PSD.”
“First of all, the ballot was not supposed to take place. If we carefully read the motivation report of the Constitutional Court, it speaks about the reinterpretation of the ballot that occurred nine weeks ago, when the majority of Senators voted for the approval of the arrest. (…) We will once again file an appeal against yesterday’s vote to the Constitutional Court and see what the Social Democrat Party will do in this situation. We are confident that we will win again at the Constitutional Court”, Blaga declared for RFI.
The Liberals who were absent at the ballot concerning Sova’s case could have overturned Tuesday’s results and the request of anti-corruption prosecutors could have been overturned
Vasile Blaga thinks measures should be taken against the 11 senators who skipped the vote on Tuesday.
‘We shall always discuss these things in the party and I believe measures are required, because votes like this one – like the no-confidence vote that is coming – are very important in the political economy. I cannot see what other more important things they could have needed to attend to than being in the Senate plenary meeting’, the PNL leader also said.
‘Thanks to PSD, the Senate has managed to look like a fool yet again, if there still was any need to, as it seems that Mrs. Sova is a taboo for Mr. Ponta and PSD’, Blaga said.
Ex-President Traian basescu: ‘Sova knows a lot about Victor Ponta’
Ex-president Traian Basescu said on Tuesday, as he was leaving the People’s Movement Party (PMP), that the vote in the Senate on the Sova case was a purely political one, postponed for over two months, and compared it with Elena Udrea’s in whose situation the DNA arrest requests were quickly granted, in just 24 hours.
Asked about his opinion on the case of PSD Senator Dan Sova, on which the Senate was going to vote in the evening, the former president brought up Elena Udrea, currently on house arrest in the Gala Bute case.
‘I wouldn’t like to comment because you comment enough, but I would just remind you that it took the same Parliament 24 hours to approve the three arrest requests made for Udrea in two hours. The poor of them even came to work on a Sunday. However, in Sova’s case, they cannot make a decision. It means that, in relation to Justice, the Parliament works politically rather than by the law. If they had had principles and had said ‘we have the principle that we do not approve arrests’, they would have only accepted arrest in a situation where the suspect was caught in the act. For some you vote in 24 hours, for others you drag things for months and cannot make head or tail of the Constitution, Regulation and laws’, said Traian Basescu.
The former head of state suggested the PSD senator was being protected because he has a stranglehold on Prime-Minister Victor Ponta, unlike Udrea, who was not blackmailing anyone in Parliament.
‘If Udrea could not blackmail anyone in Parliament, they gave the vote. On the other hand, if Sova knows a lot about Victor Ponta, the vote was not given’, Basescu noted.
‘I wouldn’t like to comment, but I would remind you that the same Parliament of Romania received there different arrest requests for Mrs. Udrea in two hours and the poor of them even came to work on a Sunday. In Sova’s case, they cannot do it. What does it mean? It means that the Parliament is working politically, it means the Parliament has unfair political approaches to justice. If Udrea could not blackmail anyone in Parliament, the votes were given quickly. If Sova knows too much, for example on Ponta (…)’, Traian Basescu said.