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January 28, 2021
POLITICS

President Iohannis mediates conflict between DNA and SIE “The situation that occurred lately is the result of probably sub-optimal communication. I consider the problem solved”

On Thursday, President Klaus Iohannis gave a press statement at the Presidential Palace, announcing that he promulgated the debt discharge law and the financing of political parties law, that he signed the decree appointing the new General Prosecutor and that he got involved in mediating the conflict that recently started between the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE). At the same time, the President announced that he has obtained a Bucharest residence visa so he will vote in Bucharest in the June 5 local elections.

The President’s press statement, coming ahead of the Easter holiday, comes against the backdrop of harsh exchanges between the leaderships of DNA and SIE, of the resignation of three ministers from the government of technocrats led by Dacian Ciolos (the Labour, European Funds and Culture ministers) and of the fact that PSD President Liviu Dragnea was convicted to two years in prison in a final suspended sentence but refused to resign, a refusal that resulted in his challenger Valeriu Zgonea losing his party membership and being set to vacate his seat as Speaker of the Lower Chamber.

Referring to his talks with the directors of DNA and SIE, talks meant to iron out the communication issues, President Klaus Iohannis said he met DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi and SIE Director Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu on Thursday morning and voiced his belief that the two will identify the best solutions for the issues that might arise in the future.

“The situation that occurred lately is the result of probably sub-optimal communication. To clarify these issues I invited this morning for a discussion both Ms. Chief Prosecutor Kovesi and Mr. Director Ungureanu,” Iohannis told a press conference at the Cotroceni Palace.

He said that the discussion with the two officials was constructive and that things have been cleared up.

“Things have been cleared up and together they will find solutions to the issues that might arise, to clarify the misunderstandings between the two institutions. I consider the problem solved,” the President said.

Kovesi had stated on Tuesday, at a conference occasioned by the release of a Freedom House Romania report on the recovery of proceeds of crime, that never since her taking office at the helm of the DNA had the anticorruption authority received intelligence reports from SIE, despite the fact that heavyweight defendants have been setting up businesses abroad and acquiring luxury property outside country borders, activities which, in her opinion, would have fallen under the competence of SIE.

 

“I didn’t ask for Mr Dragnea’s resignation”

 

Being accused of breaking the Constitution for asking Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea to resign after being sentenced to jail, President Klaus Iohannis said he did not ask Liviu Dragnea to step down as president of PSD, but told him that it would be better to give up party leadership.

“I definitely haven’t violated the Constitution. I didn’t ask for Mr Dragnea’s resignation, because I am in no position to do that. I am not a PSD member and I do not have this prerogative,” the Head of State said at the Cotroceni Palace.

He admitted to telling Liviu Dragnea that he should give up the PSD leadership.

“It is true that I told Liviu Dragnea that, in my opinion, it would be better to give up party leadership. Most certainly, if he does it or not is up to him,” Iohannis pointed out.

 

“I will be allowed to vote in the Bucharest City Hall elections”

 

President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday announced having registered his residence in Bucharest City, adding that he will vote in the city’s local elections this year.

“It is good for people to know that I have registered my residence in Bucharest, which means I will be allowed to vote in the Bucharest City Hall, Bucharest District Mayoralties and Local Council elections,” Iohannis told a news conference at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.

He added that this way he is more interested in the canvassing in the city.

“I found that to be fair and consequently I will be more interested in how the electioneering is conducted in Bucharest,” said Iohannis.

 

Head of State promulgates political party financing law

 

President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday announced having promulgated a debt discharge law.

“I have promulgated the law, and it will be published in the Official Gazette today,” Iohannis said at the Cotroceni Palace.

He added that the law, as re-examined by Parliament, is all right. “The law initially came to me and I sent it back to Parliament with some observations. Back then, in my opinion, the law had not been properly drawn up. Parliament considered my observations and amended the law accordingly and sent it back to me in its new version. I am commending Parliament for having taken my observations into account and I believe the law as is now for promulgation is okay,” said Iohannis.

Also, president Klaus Iohannis on Thursday announced having promulgated a political party financing law.

“The newly introduced rule is fair. I have promulgated the law,” Iohannis told a news conference at the Cotroceni Palace.

He added that the law amending and supplementing Law 334 of 2006 concerning the financing of political parties and electoral campaigns introduces a special provision called special allocation for the campaign accounts of political parties.

“Campaign accounts of political parties cannot be seized,” Iohannis explained.

He said that when the new provision is assessed, at least two things should be taken into account.

“The first regards the existence of a phenomenon that is negative in its essence, political switching, meaning politicians changing parties or politicians leaving parties to set up new ones. It is very easy to imagine a party’s creditor switching sympathies to new parties, and so we can imagine instances of political competition being falsified if the bank account of a party is seized precisely during the campaign. A second thing we should consider is Article 8 in the Constitution, which says what the role of a political party is, and we can read that political parties contribute to the definition and expression of political will. Or, when the campaign account of a party is blocked during the electoral campaign, there will certainly be a situation that significantly affects the way in which that party may express itself or can contribute to the formation of political will,” Iohannis explained.

 

President Iohannis signs decree appointing Augustin Lazar as Romania’s Prosecutor GeneralPresident Klaus Iohannis

 

President Klaus Iohannis announced on Thursday having signed the decree for the appointment of Augustin Lazar as Romania’s Prosecutor General.

Justice Minister Raluca Pruna last week sent President Iohannis the proposal to appoint Augustin Lazar as Romania’s Prosecutor General.

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