President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday in reference to the vote in the Parliament regarding Prime minister Victor Ponta’s case, that it is a sad day for democracy, showing that ‘to destroy institutions and principles in order to save the career of one single person is unacceptable.’
‘Today, it is a sad day for Romania’s democracy. A sad day for the millions of citizens who believe in the democratic values, who want politics made responsibly, with integrity and honour. To destroy institutions and principles in order to save one person’s career is, from my viewpoint, unacceptable in a democracy,’ said Klaus Iohannis at the Cotroceni Palace, after the CSAT (National Supreme Defence Council) meeting.
“Had Ponta’s prosecution been approved, I probably wouldn’t have suspended him from premiership”
Iohannis also said on Tuesday that, in the event that Parliament would have approved the criminal prosecution of Premier Victor Ponta, he “probably” wouldn’t have suspended him from office. According to his constitutional prerogatives, the President can instruct the Premier’s suspension from office, provided that the latter is being prosecuted for crimes perpetrated while exerting the premiership).
Iohannis said that the Prime Minister had three response options to the request the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) referred to Parliament, for having him stripped of immunity with a view to being prosecuted.
“The first, which, in my opinion, would have been the best and most honorable, was for him to resign and place himself at the disposal of justice. He decided not to do so. A second variant would have been to persuade his fellow MPs in the parliamentary majority to approve the prosecution, and place himself at the disposal of the judges and prosecutors, and prove his innocence. Had this been the course pursued, I probably wouldn’t have suspended him from office and a fast-track trial procedure could definitely have been found together with justice representatives, to sort out the issue as fast as possible, given its extreme importance. Yet Prime Minister Victor Ponta didn’t have the courage to do so. He chose the third and worst variant instead,” Iohannis said at the Cotroceni Palace.
He argued that Victor Ponta chose to use his influence as a Prime Minister and ask the parliamentary majority not to approve his prosecution.
“Parliament carried out the order. It’s a very bad variant, because now Mr. Ponta cannot prove to anyone that he was right. And there’s a second, far more serious consequence: it creates a negative image of Romania, and of Romanian democracy,” said Iohannis.