Liviu Dragnea’s defamation law falls through

Liviu Dragnea will table the controversial defamation law under a new form, with similar content, after the number of votes needed for an organic law to be considered approved was not reached during the Lower Chamber’s plenum session on Wednesday, the law being thus rejected.

The result was 152 votes in favour, 105 against and 24 abstentions.

Liberal lawmakers pointed out that the threshold needed was 50 per cent plus one of the lawmakers present. The threshold was not reached after several Lower Chamber lawmakers registered their attendance but then left the room. Consequently, the law had to be considered rejected and Florin Iordache made the announcement, to the disappointment of his colleagues and of Liviu Dragnea, the author of the controversial law.

“Attendance 315, votes in favour 152, against 105, abstentions 24. Consequently, the law hasn’t been adopted,” Florin Iordache announced.

In these conditions, the Social Democrats asked for the mobilization of all Lower Chamber lawmakers that had registered their attendance and for the resumption of the voting process. The Liberals challenged this, threatening to leave the session and, if the law were to nevertheless be adopted, to notify the Constitutional Court that the Lower Chamber’s regulations were not respected.

PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu personally asked Liviu Dragnea, present in the room, to give up this initiative and to accept that the law fell through.
“Regulations say that unless you have 50 per cent plus 1 of the votes the organic law is not adopted. The law has fallen through but Mr. Dragnea is adamant and insists on us resuming the voting until it goes the way he wants. (…) Be wise, re-table the draft and we will gladly discuss it,” Alina Gorghiu stated.

Likewise, Alina Gorghiu emphasised on B1TV that the law concerned “means censorship” and claimed that if Liviu Dragnea insists on resuming the vote “we will leave the room, and then challenge it at the Constitutional Court.”

Lower Chamber lawmaker Liviu Dragnea, PSD President, went to the rostrum and claimed that the Lower Chamber’s electronic voting system is to blame for the confusion created, announcing that he will resume the procedure in Parliament. The PSD President said that this law is one that he cares “a great deal” about because “it is important for Romanian society and for future generations.”

The Senate had adopted the defamation law last autumn, after which it entered the Lower Chamber, generating significant debates in the mass media and civil society’s vehement opposition, out of concern that the law will allow censorship.

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