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May 27, 2022

Valeriu Zgonea, closer to dismissal. Plenum adopts amendment to Lower Chamber Regulations

Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea is closer to being dismissed. Lower Chamber’s Plenum has adopted the amendment to the Regulations, amendment that allows Social Democrats to ask for the dismissal of the holder of the third-highest office in the state.

The Lower Chamber Plenum adopted on Wednesday the draft decision concerning the amending of the Regulations, a decision that makes it easier for the Lower Chamber Speaker to be dismissed.

According to the draft decision, the Lower Chamber Speaker can be dismissed “in case he loses his membership in the parliamentary group the office belongs to and that nominated him for it, on the date pointed out by the MP or the leader of the group, and in case he loses political support, on the date when the Lower Chamber’s Plenum is informed that he legally ceased to be a member of the Standing Bureau.”

Likewise, the document stipulates that the dismissal of any member of the Standing Bureau can be requested by the parliamentary group that nominated him and is approved with the vote of a majority of MPs present.

The dismissal proposal is filed in writing by the leader of the parliamentary group, and the ballots cast are secret.

Florin Paslaru, the leader of PSD’s parliamentary group within the Lower Chamber, is the one who proposed this amendment.

The Lower Chamber Speaker stated at the plenum meeting that this draft decision is not legal since it lacks an author. At the same time, he pointed out that a draft amendment to the Regulations, one to which MPs can file amendments and that would be subsequently analysed by the Regulations Commission which would file a report on it, was not filed.


Ponta: Zgonea should stop. Should I have run away with the office or have gotten involved in a lawsuit with Ciolos?


Former PSD President Victor Ponta asked Valeriu Zgonea to stop prolonging the “embarrassing” situation he puts himself in, stating that the Lower Chamber Speaker office is not important for PSD but it is a symbolic gesture because the PSD’s former executive president hurt the party before the elections.

“I would like to ask Vali to cease the embarrassing situation he puts himself and puts us all in. None of us was born holding offices. I too was party president, I no longer am. What was I supposed to do, run with the office and engage in lawsuits with Mr. Ciolos? This ridiculous situation goes beyond my power of comprehension. It’s a shame. You can divorce in a civilised manner too, you don’t have to run away with the chair,” the ex-Premier said on Tuesday.

Asked whether Valeriu Zgonea’s dismissal is a stake for PSD, considering that only a few months of his tenure are left, Ponta said that the office is not important for the party but it is rather a symbolical gesture.

“The office is not that important, after all the Lower Chamber Speaker is not changing any law. I heard all kind of nonsense that someone will come and change the laws. He doesn’t change any law. People are voting, if you have majority, if you don’t. It’s an important symbolic gesture that any party would do if it were PSD, and namely that Mr. Zgonea hit us before the local elections started, at the worst possible moment,” Ponta claimed.

He pointed out that had Valeriu Zongea stated after the elections that he disagrees with Liviu Dragnea then things would have been different.

“If Vali had come up now, after the elections, saying he disagrees with Dragnea, it would have been something else, but when you get hit before the elections, before the battle started, the hit is the more so painful and so it is normal for there to be a sanction because [otherwise] we would encourage others, which would not be good at all,” Victor Ponta concluded.


Total war between the Speakers of the two Chambers of Parliament


Wednesday also marked the start of a war of statements between the Speakers of the two Chambers. Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea launched an extremely harsh attack against Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

The spark was the convening of the two Chambers’ Joint Standing Bureau, in order to discuss the Statute article that would have seen Zgonea losing his office as Speaker. The article stipulates that an MP loses his political office once the political support for him is withdrawn.

Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea accused Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu that he behaves arrogantly and that he did not respect the Regulations when he tried to convene the Joint Standing Bureau at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

“I’ve recently seen on the part of Mr. Tariceanu an arrogant approach, the Senate Speaker giving directives and ordering the Lower Chamber Speaker around, establishing the order of the day of the Joint Standing Bureaus, establishing when and how to meet. I explained to him both in writing and by phone that this is completely out of bounds, but we got used to this completely out of bounds thing our colleagues are doing. I noticed Mr. Tariceanu also has political opinions about the Lower Chamber’s activity. I cannot comment on this, I can tell you that he unilaterally established a new manner of communication between the Speakers of the two Chambers, a manner that I do not tolerate but that I respect,” Zgonea said at the Palace of Parliament, Agerpres informs.

Zgonea claims that Tariceanu wrote to him last week that he should respond to him, within 24 hours, in relation to the order of the day that he established. Zgonea explained that he subsequently proposed Tariceanu they should meet on Monday, at noon, in order to decide on the agenda.

He stated Tariceanu is in a hurry to convene the Joint Standing Bureaus because a draft decision has to be adopted on the manner of interpreting Article 38 of the Statute of MPs, which “annoys many of the leaders of the parliamentary groups and around 84 MPs,” an interpretation that decriminalises conflict of interest.

“That’s the hurry, don’t imagine the hurry had something to do with my office. There is no urgency, we don’t have a censure motion, we don’t have a request established through the Constitution or the Regulations in what concerns urgencies. I am shocked that a Chamber Speaker elected with PSD votes has this kind of behaviour toward a member of the Lower Chamber who is his equal. This is how things probably stand within ALDE. I am not party president, I don’t negotiate, I’ve seen him being arrogant toward me here, but he is very obedient on the steps at Kiseleff. That is where important offices are distributed to ALDE,” Zgonea pointed out.

Tariceanu answered him through a letter in which he proposed the convening of the Joint Standing Bureaus at 3.30 p.m. on Wednesday.

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