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October 5, 2022

Robert Cazanciuc jumps into UNPR boat. Will he continue as minister of justice?

Gabriel Oprea’s party, UNPR, is taking over the Ministry of Justice and Minister Robert Cazanciuc will move from PSD to UNPR, according to Realitatea TV. The information comes in the context where some of the PSD leaders have expressed their dissatisfaction with the activity of the Minister of Justice, Robert Cazanciuc, lately, when Prime-Minister Victor Ponta, the leader of the party, was placed under investigation by the prosecutors. Tuesday night, the premier himself expressed a series of dissatisfaction with Cazanciuc’s performance.

‘I did make his reproaches, but I don’t do that publicly. I truly believe that the minister should not give orders to Justice, however he should have a role in contributing, next to the Parliament and CSM, to improving the system – no system is perfect – in order to prevent similar things from repeating in the future. I think things are pretty clear, why do you need to arrest someone before a judge hears the case? I do not mean murders or rapists. I don’t think Mrs. Rarinca posed a risk to the public’, Ponta said on Antena 3 TV, answering a question if he had any reproaches to make to the minister for the Rarinca case, the lady who was imprisoned for six months and then acquitted in Court.

The Social-Democrat Senator Daniel Savu said on the TV Monday night that, at the meeting of the PSD Executive Committee, the prime-minister was asked to replace Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc because of his poor performance lately. Savu says Ponta said he was not going to do that at that point, but in a week’s time.

The minister of justice said on Wednesday after the CSM meeting, that the PM had not asked him to resign and that he was not considering that either, being happy with his activity in the past two years.

“The Prime Minister hasn’t officially asked me to resign. If my mandate as Justice Minister has corresponded to the initial mandate taken over 2 years ago – to have a much better country report than so far, to contribute to the confidence growth in the justice act, (…) this evaluation can be done by the Prime Minister, it can be done by the Government, and if it doesn’t correspond to the initial mandate, I am obviously prepared to leave, no one is irreplaceable. I haven’t had a discussion with the Prime Minister on this topic until now. (…) I shall have this talk most likely today or tomorrow. I haven’t had talks on concrete issues with the Prime Minister, we have had talks in principle, which most certainly remain between the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice,” Cazanciuc pointed out at the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) headquarters.

Adevarul quotes PSD sources as saying that UNPR will take over the Justice portfolio. UNPR is a key-party to the current government. They will propose Eugen Nicolicea, Minister-Delegate for the Liaison with Parliament. ‘If Deputy Prime-Minister Gabriel Oprea proposes me and supports me during my term, I accept the position’, Nicolicea told Adevarul.

Another name mentioned is the PSD Senator Serban Nicolae, who proposed the changes to the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Robert Cazanciuc joined PSD in February 2014, to the Prahova organisation, invited by the President of Prahova County Council, Mircea Cosma, currently investigated together with his son, PSD MP Vlad Cosma in a corruption case.

Prosecutor Robert Cazanciuc was proposed by PM Victor Ponta as Minister of Justice in April 2013. He was first spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor General and from 2001 to 2004 was on the leadership of the Prime Minister’s (Adrian Nastase at the time) Control Body. After that, he was the Secretary General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Cazanciuc and Victor Ponta were colleagues in university, graduating from the Law School the same year. Then they were co-workers at the ICCJ Prosecutor’s Office. He is married to a cousin of the PM’s.

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