The National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) request for the Senate to lift PSD Senator and ex-Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean’s immunity should have been debated by the Senate’s leadership on Tuesday but ran into a first snag: the lawmakers’ truancy. Thus, Corlatean, who entered the prosecutors’ crosshairs because of the way he organised abroad the presidential elections of 2014, could temporarily dodge a possible vote on the lifting of his immunity because the lawmakers are in their constituencies, preoccupied with June’s local elections.
The Standing Bureau was expected to announce the timetable on whose basis the request will end up being put up for vote within the Senate. The meeting however no longer took place, since only six members of the Standing Bureau showed up. The presence of seven members was needed in order to meet the quorum. The DNA’s request will not get to the Judicial Commission before the Senate’s Standing Bureau convenes. The next meeting of the Senate’s leadership is scheduled on Monday.
After the quorum is met, the case file will go to the Judicial Commission, which will either approve or reject the DNA’s request. The Commission’s opinion however is only consultative, with the Senate’s joint plenum set to take the final decision.
DNA prosecutors accuse Titus Corlatean of malfeasance in office, which resulted in the obtaining of undue benefits, and of hampering the exercise of electoral rights, according to a DNA communiqué. According to the prosecutors, the undue benefit obtained by Corlatean for Victor Ponta – PSD’s candidate in the 2014 presidential elections – consisted of “limiting the number of Romanian citizens who were able to exercise their right to vote abroad.”
Senate Speaker Tariceanu: Iohannis took advantage, not Ponta
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu came to the defence of Corlatean, coming up with his own interpretation of the “undue benefits” the DNA prosecutors talk about.
“Corlatean is accused that through his actions he created undue benefits probably for Mr. Ponta, I don’t know. I believe that, given the way the issue is put, the DNA did not study it very well, if we’re talking about undue benefits I believe Iohannis was rather the one who took advantage, since Iohannis won the elections, not Ponta,” Tariceanu said on Tuesday.