Liberals announced on Thursday, in a communique remitted to Mediafax, that they will ask for a redo of the Senate’s vote in the case of the request to approve the start of criminal prosecution, and asked PSD President Liviu Dragnea to agree with it.
“We are asking PSD’s lawbreaker President, who keeps denying the evidence of the massive vote cast by PSD-ALDE-PRU in order to protect Gabriel Oprea, to agree with this proposal. If he does not, it would be proof of the fact that Gabriel Oprea will be a PSD candidate for a new tenure, in order to keep his immunity,” the PNL communique reads.
Liberals state that PNL Senators voted “openly in favour of the continuation of the criminal prosecution” and that the votes against it came from “PSD, ALDE and acolytes.” They also demand the PSD President “to apply in Gabriel Oprea’s case the same measure he applied in the case of the “Defamation Bill,” namely to accept a vote redo.”
In support of its action, PNL invokes Constitutional Court decision no.223/2016, which, they claim, on the basis of Article 64 of the Constitution allows for a vote redo through a decision adopted by the Chamber’s plenum, since “it represents an expression of the principle of the two Chamber of Parliament’s regulatory autonomy.”
Gabriel Oprea, former Minister of Interior, announced, in a post on his Facebook page, that he will ask the Senate’s President to vote, once again, the National Anti-corruption Directorate’s request in regards to starting the criminal prosecution in his case, adding that he will ask his colleagues to vote for approval.
Dragnea: Social Democrats won’t block the vote
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Thursday that the Social Democrats will not block a vote redo and that “PSD will show no hesitation if it comes to this.”
“Don’t ask me to respond to what PNL, a hypocritical party, wants to do. That’s where most of the votes came from. I heard opinions about some footage showing this or that. Long story short, votes [against] were cast from all parties,” the PSD President stated at the end of PSD’s National Executive Committee meeting in Murighiol.
The case of Senator Gabriel Oprea should be assumed by the ones that created the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR),”the ones who have created Gabi Oprea and gave the impression that nothing is above him, except for the skies,” the Social Democratic Party’s Chairman Liviu Dragnea stated on Thursday.
President Iohannis: Senator’s vote in Oprea case reveals the need of parliamentary reform on immunity
The Senate’s vote regarding Gabriel Oprea’ s case reveals a need of a parliamentary reform, said on Thursday president Klaus Iohannis, adding that discussions regarding immunity have to commence.
“This vote by itself isn’t singular – we dealt with this type of situations – it reveals very clearly that a renewing is needed, a cleansing of the political class and a parliamentary reform. Until we succeed in having honest, dedicated people we won’t be able to move things. I don’t want to be misinterpreted, I don’t have anything against anybody, I wish them all to be well, happy, healthy and live a long life, but in politics they who have an issue have to understand that they cannot go further until the matter is cleared. I’m the first who says that in front of the law we all are equals, but in politics there are other additional considerations to be taken into account. How do we expect from a citizen to trust the Parliament if there are not one or two, but several MPs that are being prosecuted, while other are convicted? Until we manage to solve this issue and start to have in the Parliament people that cannot be blackmailed, people that don’t go there to make fortunes, but to represent the community that has chosen them, we will have a problem,” the head of state said.
Tariceanu: If PNL finds the regulatory grounds, we are in favour of a vote redo
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated on Thursday that ALDE Senators will not oppose PNL’s proposal for a vote redo in Gabriel Oprea’s case, provided the Liberals find the regulatory grounds for this request.
“If PNL finds the regulatory grounds, we (ALDE) are in favour,” ALDE Co-President Calin Popescu Tariceanu said when asked to comment on the Liberals’ initiative.
According to the Senate Regulations, “the vote can be challenged only by the leader of a parliamentary group, immediately after the result of the vote is announced by the Senate Speaker. The Senate decides on the challenge, through the vote of a majority of Senators present. The challenge can be delivered by a single speaker and, in case of opposition to it, a speaker from each parliamentary group can address the Senate too. An admitted challenge results in a vote redo.”
Gabriel Oprea on Parliament’s vote: Doesn’t make me immune before the law, doesn’t block the case either
On Wednesday, Senator Gabriel Oprea stated that the MPs’ vote on the lifting of his immunity “doesn’t block the case” in which the DNA had asked Parliament to approve the start of the criminal prosecution, since his tenure will end in a few months’ time, “the so-called immunity will no longer exist” and the case will go to court.
“This vote doesn’t make me immune before the law, it doesn’t “save” me from something, it doesn’t block the case file in which the DNA asked the green-lighting of the criminal prosecution either. In just a few months’ time, my tenure as Senator will end. In just a few months’ time, the so-called immunity will no longer exist and the case will follow its normal course. I’m saying this for all those who, out of lack of knowledge or bias, state – completely erroneously – that because of the Senate’s vote the DNA case will no longer go to court. I remind you that the prosecutors waited almost a year to open this case. Well, the vote two days ago decided that another 3 months should pass before it gets before the judges. That’s it and nothing more,” Gabriel Oprea wrote on Facebook.
He claims he asked his fellow MPs not to approve the DNA’s request because he suspects the case “concerns not the serving of justice but rather games of a different nature.”
“I believe it is the Senate’s purpose to bring attention, including by way of voting, to the fact that there are suspicions about the way case files are built and these doubts affect not just individual rights and freedoms but also people’s confidence in institutions in general and in the judiciary in particular,” the former Interior Minister opined.
Oprea added that early this year the Senate asked for a criminal prosecution for malfeasance in office in this case, but no solution has been issued so far.
“According to Article 109, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution, the Senate does not approve the criminal prosecution demanded by the prosecutor, but it has the right to ask for members of the Government to be criminally prosecuted for guilty acts committed while exercising their prerogatives. It is a right, not an obligation! This entails an assessment and a responsibility from the standpoint of criminal law and criminal lawsuit law,” Oprea explained.
The Senator reiterated that he considers himself innocent. “I don’t think it’s normal for a case file with such a serious charge to be so poor on the evidence side. Nevertheless, the case file will get before judges and I’m convinced that, just like numerous rumours have been refuted before, so will the prosecutors’ suspicions be refuted. And when judges rule in my favour, I wonder if someone would nevertheless pay for the calumnies, insults and hatred generated by this case,” Gabriel Oprea also wrote.
“I’m thinking about resigning from Parliament”
The former Interior Minister stated on Wednesday evening in a televised interview, quoted by News.ro, that he is thinking of resigning from Parliament. Gabriel Oprea also stated that he made a mistake when he asked his fellow Senators to vote against the prosecutors’ request to prosecute him for involuntary manslaughter.
“I believe it was a mistake, the fact that I felt harassed and I asked my colleagues for support. (…) We are all people and, at one point, you break down. I think that’s what happened to me now and I accepted this vote which came from the parties. I’m sorry I didn’t do what I did last time,” Gabriel Oprea said, referring to the fact that in a previous case he asked the Senators to approve a DNA request to start prosecuting him for malfeasance in office.
Asked what was the point of the Senate’s vote, considering that there are only two months left of his tenure, and whether he is thinking about resigning from Parliament in order for prosecutors to be able to carry on with their action, Oprea said: “I’m thinking about this option.”
The former Deputy Premier stated he ended up feeling harassed.
“I felt like a political target. After the tragic accident, my and the Government’s resignations were asked in a political way. It’s difficult – I too have a family – to be permanently accused when you feel innocent. (…) As a human being, I felt terribly harassed,” Oprea said.
Likewise, the former Minister pointed out he does not know who ordered Bogdan Gigina to be part of the official motorcade on the evening of the accident.
Gabriel Oprea’s wife, urgently taken to hospital on Wednesday evening
Sanda Oprea, Gabriel Oprea’s wife, was urgently taken to the University Hospital in Bucharest on Wednesday evening.
According to medical sources, Gabriel Oprea’s wife underwent several investigations. She was fully conscious when she arrived at the hospital. Sandra Oprea allegedly suffered a panic attack. Eyewitnesses state that Oprea’s son followed the ambulance to hospital with his own car. Gabriel Oprea was by his wife’s side at the hospital. She was stabilised by the doctors.
It all happened against the backdrop in which two days ago Gabriel Oprea avoided criminal prosecution thanks to his fellow MPs, in the case in which he is accused of involuntary manslaughter for the death of police officer Bogdan Gigina. The latter died while leading the way for Oprea’s official motorcade.
Sanda Oprea has never appeared on television. She is an economist by trade but is unemployed.
Basescu: Oprea is the first passenger accused of manslaughter for a car accident. Senate’s vote will be used in the campaign on the “corruption kills” model
Ex-President Traian Basescu stated on Wednesday that Gabriel Oprea is the first passenger accused of manslaughter for a car accident, stating that the Senate’s vote did a great disservice to Oprea and was a trap in which PSD fell, given that it will be used in the campaign on the “corruption kills” model.
“Despite the complete lack of sympathy I’ve had for some time now for Gabriel Oprea, although I appreciated the support he gave me to back the Boc Government, I have to tell you that he is the first passenger involved in a car accident to be accused of manslaughter. He was a passenger, not a driver. He was on the back seat,” PMP President Traian Basescu stated on Romania TV.
Traian Basescu stated that sooner or later the deceased police officer’s case will go to court and justice will be served, but pointed out that the DNA should not investigate car accidents.
“Ms. Kovesi’s political message has to be noted – a mother will no longer find justice. I’m convinced justice will be served in this case. This case will sooner or later get before judges, who will look at the evidence and take the right decision. As far as I know, the DNA is not the institution to investigate car accidents, especially not car accidents with victims,” he commented on Codruta Kovesi’s statement about the tragedy that the late police officer’s mother is going through.
Traian Basescu added that the Senate’s vote in the Gabriel Oprea case was “a big trap,” both for Opera and for PSD, a party that voted as ordered.
“It was a big trap and big foolishness. Gabriel Oprea fell into the trap, asking for a vote against the criminal prosecution; he should have asked for one in favour of the criminal prosecution. The second trap was the one PSD fell into. There hasn’t been a quorum for days on end. PSD came and voted as ordered, I’m convinced it was a political order – “show up and vote against the criminal prosecution” – thus pushing Gabriel Oprea into a terrible trap,” the ex-President stated.
Traian Basescu said that the correct solution would have been the start of the criminal prosecution.
“The opposite of what we are seeing today: Parliament demonised, Gabriel Oprea making the campaign headlines on the “corruption kills” model,” Basescu added.
Basescu claimed that “the hand of the same maestro is being felt” behind this trap, adding that people are now being asked to go out into the streets on account of the Senate’s vote in Gabriel Oprea’s case.
Basescu added that in this case the judges should have been the ones to say whether the passenger – Gabriel Oprea – was responsible for the car accident.
“Here we are talking about a man’s life, we are no longer talking about malfeasance in office, the reaction is clear and the judges should have said whether the passenger was responsible for the car accident. (…) The Senate’s vote did a great disservice to Gabriel Oprea because he could have defended himself differently. At this moment from a propaganda standpoint he has become the killer defended by a criminal Parliament,” Traian Basescu concluded.
PNL Senators: Gabriel Oprea should immediately resign from Parliament
Liberal Senators are asking former Deputy Premier Gabriel Oprea to immediately resign from Parliament in order to be criminally prosecuted, accusing him of behaving “cowardly and miserably” because he had allegedly sent all Senators text messages imploring them to save him.
“Gabriel Oprea should resign today from the Romanian Senate, before the start of protests! Gabriel Oprea continues to behave miserably and to lie a whole country, repeatedly stating that all parties voted “against” the start of his criminal prosecution. PNL declares itself appalled by the attitude of a person bereft of dignity! We point out that all PNL Senators present at the vote, on September 19, cast their ballots in line with the public commitments, namely in favour of the continuation of the investigation in the case of Senator Gabriel Oprea, this is a proven fact,” reads a press release issued by PNL.
PNL accuses the former Deputy Premier that prior to giving his speech, on September 16, he tried to intercede with his colleagues by sending text messages to all Senators, including Liberal Senators, asking them to help him on the day of the decisive vote.
“Not only did Gabriel Oprea defy any morality by asking to be “saved” in the Senate, but he also determined some of his colleagues to tarnish the image of this institution. Contrary to what he is saying, he did not accept the political protection conferred by way of vote, he asked for it! Had he been a man of character, he wouldn’t have stooped so low as to implore all Senators to bail him out,” the Liberals say.
PNL argues that the presumption of innocence cannot be used as a pretext to block the judiciary’s action in Parliament, since the MPs pose as judges by doing so.
“PNL does not resonate with the 73 Senators who formed a wall around Oprea and will support with everything in its power this case which PSD sees as a party-line task. We hope that the feeling of guilt and moral disrepute will be increasingly heavier to bear by these politicians the likes of Gabriel Oprea. Likewise, we invite lawbreaker Liviu Dragnea to explain what guarantees he can offer that Gabriel Oprea will not be included on PSD’s list of candidates, since he guarantees Victor Ponta’s presence on that list in violation even of PSD’s simulacrum of Ethics Code,” the aforementioned communique reads.