Conservative Party (PC) Senator Cristiana Anghel said she felt obliged to apologise after she had voted for what she called ‘justice till the end’ – special pensions for MPs, on Tuesday, and on Wednesday there were not enough MPs present to be able to vote on other laws, including the law on parliamentary elections that was postponed to next week.
‘Yesterday (Tuesday – editor’s note) I supported and voted for <justice till the end> also for members of Parliament. Today, those of us who came to work like any other person in this country have been sent home because of the lack of quorum. Can I still say anything?! We are knowingly destroying the idea of parliamentarianism. All I know is that I feel obliged to apologise’, Cristina Irina Anghel states on Facebook.
The deputies and senators voted in overwhelming majority for their own special pensions on Tuesday. 303 MPs were in favour of the special pensions and only 124 opposed the bill. The PSD, UDMR, minorities and PC MPs supported the draft law and PNL, with a few exceptions, voted against it.
After the vote on Tuesday, the senators and deputies who have served one term in Parliament would cash approximately 1,550 lei, those with two terms – 3,100 lei, and those with minimum three terms – approximately 4,600 lei.
MP Marius Manolache : ‘An official and a regular citizen cannot be equal’
PSD MP Marius Manolache, the god-son of Prime-Minister Victor Ponta, explained why the members of Parliament needed special retirement benefits.
‘I think we cannot consider an official, a senior civil servant with an extraordinary responsibility to be equal to a regular citizen – worker, engineer, doctor and so on’, Manolache said, according to Gandul.info.
‘I will retire 30 years from now. Imagine that I don’t know what will be in 30 years, this doesn’t seem to me as something very ridiculous as a supplement of 1,000 lei would mean a lot compared to other officials or civil servants’.
Manolache says Romanian MPs are ‘behind’ their colleagues in the European Union and that ‘this regulation should have actually happened sooner’. ‘This time it was a unanimous decision, over 300 votes, I say it’s a pretty good thing’, Manolache said. He added that it didn’t seem like ‘an extremely big budget effort’.
Rector of West University in Timisoara has negative reaction
The rector of the West University of Timisoara, a part of the Universitaria Consortium, has written a public letter to the members of Parliament who had voted for their own special pensions.
‘I witnessed one of the dirtiest conflicts of interest unfortunately vouched for by legislation – the one where a group of people give themselves additional pensions from public funds. If you are not concerned about what the almost 400,000 Romanians on the minimum pension will say, perhaps you will be worried about the votes of our children’, Professor Marilen Gabriel Pirtea states in the letter.
He says the ‘lack of morality proven by Parliament is not worthy of a healthy society’ in the context where ‘a university assistant has a wage of 1,050 lei, where hundreds of thousand of education employees live on the verge of poverty’ and reminds of the same situation with the doctors and many other social and professional categories.
Pirtea is also reprimanding the MPs for propagating poverty by refusing to invest in education.
‘If they can hardly cope with it now, I wonder what these people will do at the end of their careers, who will pay for their pensions? Our children, those children in whom you refuse to invest. Your refusal to invest in education slows down their development, limits their abilities. All you do is propagate poverty from one generation to the next. I suppose it’s difficult for a handful of elected officials to see the risk from the comfort of their remuneration of thousands of lei’, Marilen Pirtea says.
‘You like to call yourselves the elected officials of the nation, but you have forgotten about the NATION. Give everyone a chance to better pensions, invest in the education of children!’ the rector of the West University of Timisoara ends his letter.
Gheorghe Udriste: ‘I don’t believe many will cash the money and then donate it’
Ex-Metrorex head, PNL MP Gheorghe Udriste also made a statement on the special pensions. He says he is very seriously considering not applying for the approximately 1,550 lei he would be entitled to as special retirement benefit for his term in Parliament.
‘In my current situation, I don’t think I will apply. These are all stories about proposed donations. Where there is law there is no bargaining. When it comes to money, I don’t think many will want o cash the money and then donate it’, Udriste said, according to Gandul.info.