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July 1, 2022
POLITICS

Ballot for position of SIE Head, test for a new Parliament majority

This week, the governing coalition has to pass the first major test since Victor Ponta left to Turkey, at the ballot for appointing Mihai Razvan Ungureanu as Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE). Gabriel Oprea, interim Prime Minister, announced that his party, the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) will vote for appointing Mihai Razvan Ungureanu as Head of SIE while the Social Democrat Party (PSD) opposes this appointment.

The problem with the ballot for the Head of SIE could be arranged fast in the Parliament. A meeting of the Permanent Bureaus was already scheduled on Monday and Liberals are trying to accelerate things.

The members of the Parliament started their vacation on Wednesday so, on Monday, the leaders of both Chambers must establish the reunited plenum meeting for Tuesday. This is the unofficial agreement. Initially, the members of PSD did not want this ballot to take place, and Liberals wanted the vote to take place as fast as possible.

Mihai Razvan Ungureanu must be heard by specialized committees: the Committee for SIE Control and the Defence Committee. They will release a report – a negative or a favourable one – which has a consultative value. Although, it has no decision reaching value, this report is important because it must be issued and because it may only be issued if there is quorum.

The final decision will be reached in plenum.

 

The appointment of M. R. Ungureanu at SIE, test for a new Parliament majority

 

The nomination made by the Head of the State for the leadership of SIE  undermines the relation of PSD and UNPR. We might see the appearance of a majority in the Parliament.

Gabriel Oprea’s members of the Parliament are ready to vote for Ungureanu, while Social Democrats are against him. On their turn, Liberals want to impose a vote for Mihai Razvan Ungureanu as early as Monday, while Social Democrats are attempting to delay it. And, as it happens in any political scandal in Bucharest, things might end up at the Constitutional Court.

Social Democrats oppose the summoning of the Parliament leadership this week to decide the date of the ballot for SIE leadership.

“Mr. President Tariceanu is not in the country and, under these circumstances, the Permanent Bureaus of the two chambers was not summoned. I think that, during Monday, we will have a reunited Permanent Bureau”, Marian Neacsu, leader of PSD deputies declared.

In this case, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu’s hearing with the SIE Control Committee and the ballot in the plenum could take place on Tuesday, in the last day before the vacation of the Parliament started.

Angered by the fact that President Klaus Iohannis did not seek their opinion before announcing the nomination for the leadership of SIE, Social Democrats are determined to vote against Mihai Razvan Ungureanu’s appointment.

“I understand that Mr. Iohannis did not need our votes and that he did not think it was important to keep his promise. He had said: Sirs, I do ask for opinions or at least inform people before. This time, he did not keep his promise”, PSD leader Victor Ponta declared for a TV station.

“I personally, as a Deputy, will respect the decision of PSD, but I would vote against him”, Ponta added.

Interim PSD leader Rovana Plumb shares Ponta’s opinion.

“Mihai Razvan Ungureanu  is a symbol of PDL-ism”, she explained. “The decision to vote against him is stronger and stronger”, Rovana Plumb confirmed.

Razvan Ungureanu’s appointment is supported so far by PNL, UDMR, and also by Progressists led by Gabriel Oprea.

The leaders of Liberal Deputies Ludovic Orban also hopes that the votes of the 18 members of the Parliament of minorities will also support Ungureanu.

“In the private conversations I had with several Deputies representing minorities, I saw openness to granting support to Mr. Ungureanu”, Ludovic Orban declared.

With the votes by PNL, UDMR, UNPR, by Democrat-Populars, by minorities and independent MPs, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu might become the head of Foreign Intelligence Service. It may also lead to a new majority in the Parliament, a majority that does not include PSD.

Yet, it all depends on whether the officials will join forces to vote, as Mihai Razvan Ungureanu needs the support of half plus one of the members of the Parliament gathered to decide the new Head of SIE.

As UNPR has sided with Cotroceni, estimations show that:

PSD + ALDE = 243 votes

PNL + UDMR + DP + independent MPS + minorities + UNPR = 311 votes.

On the other hand, constitutional law teacher Gheorghe Iancu explained for TV station Digi24 that the Head of SIE must be appointed by CSAT, not by the Parliament and that the situation is similar to the ballot in Sova’s case. Therefore, it is not outruled that things will finally be decided in the Constitutional Court.

 

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