On Sunday evening, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu called on MPs to boycott, until the end of the current tenure, the votes on requests received from the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), claiming that if those case files remained on hold for so many years that means there is no urgency.
“My stance, according to which the DNA has long since stopped serving Justice and behind the front of the necessary and legitimate fight against corruption it has far too often become an instrument used for the annihilation of the political opponents of those who direct, through occult means, the activity of this institution, is well known. The scenario used in the local elections campaign, when the DNA publicly pulled out, with great fanfare, all kinds of inconsistent cases, which were consequently rejected by courts or about which nothing has been heard since, but which attained their goal of eliminating from the race some unwanted and uncomfortable opponents, is now being repeated before the parliamentary elections campaign,” Tariceanu points out in his call.
He claims that old events which occurred 5 to 8 years ago are just now coming under the scrutiny of DNA prosecutors, “coincidentally just 2 months before the elections.”
“Just as I never believed in arrests carried out on Fridays, similarly I do not trust this modus operandi. On these grounds, I call on lawmakers from both Chambers to refuse voting on the DNA’s requests until the end of the tenure. If those case files remained on hold for so many years, it means there is no urgency and they can wait for the future Parliament to have its say. I want to make it very clear that this call has nothing to do with the political affiliation of the politicians targeted by the DNA or with inter-human relations that existed at one point. For some time now, I have been defending some principles, such as the principle of the separation of powers, regardless of the names concerned: Elena Udrea, Victor Ponta or others,” the Head of State added.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu considers that society should not accept double standards.
“When the DNA hastily sends a case to Parliament, lawmakers have to fall in line otherwise they are scolded by President Iohannis and by other members of the presidential choir. Simultaneously, those suspected by the DNA are subjected to pressure in order to resign. The double standards were clearly visible when the DNA’s Chief Prosecutor was accused of plagiarism, but the coryphaei of honesty and integrity codes looked the other way and forgot the principles that are relevant only for others,” Tariceanu concluded.
The Lower Chamber’s Judiciary Commission will discuss on Monday the DNA’s request to lift the immunity of MP Elena Udrea, former Tourism Minister, in order to prosecute her in a case concerning campaign contributions collected in 2009. The Lower Chamber is scheduled to vote on the request on Tuesday.
Alina Gorghiu: He should ask for tax exemptions or the right to jump the queue
Referring to Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s call for lawmakers to boycott DNA’s requests, Alina Gorghiu stated that politicians should not be above the law and that Tariceanu could just as well have proposed tax exemptions for politicians or the right to jump the queue, alluding to a recent incident in which Tariceanu jumped the queue when changing his driver’s licence, sparking the ire of those waiting in line.
“An important politician is stating today that DNA should stop, it should stop filing requests in Parliament. Why are only politicians above the law? He should come up with a moratorium… Starting tomorrow politicians should no longer pay taxes until the campaign is over, nobody should wait in lines, we should no longer wait in line in stores, we should pick stuff off the shelves directly. Excuse me!” Alina Gorghiu stated on Antena 3 on Sunday evening.
Gorghiu added that if Tariceanu keeps invoking the “abuses” of the judiciary, it is PSD and ALDE’s responsibility, as parties who had the majority in Parliament and the nominated Premier, for not bringing any improvement to the legislative framework.
“Mr. Tariceanu, who has been clamouring for the past year, ever since he has a personal problem, that politicians are hounded, that the abuse against ALDE-PSD MPs should stop, this Mr. Tariceanu was Speaker of the Senate with a comfortable majority, with a majority that could have changed anything it wanted in this country, with a Prime Minister who was part of that majority, with absolutely any kind of ingredient needed to eliminate those abuses,” Gorghiu argued, adding that PNL’s government platform also regulates the magistrates’ responsibility.
Monica Macovei: Tariceanu is abusively asking for the blocking of DNA’s activity
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu is brutally interfering with the DNA’s activity by asking Parliament to boycott, until after the parliamentary elections, any debate on any request filed by anticorruption prosecutors to lift MPs’ immunity, claims MEP and former Justice Minister Monica Macovei.
“Tariceanu is obviously breaking the separation of powers by asking a political institution, the Parliament, to block the activity of the DNA, an institution that is part of the judiciary, and to prevent judges from analysing the cases handled by the DNA. What Tariceanu is doing, by posting on the Romanian Senate’s official webpage his request to sabotage the DNA’s activity, is an abuse and a hijacking of the institution he leads as a result of a political appointment,” Macovei wrote on Facebook on Monday.
CSM notifies Judicial Inspection Unit about Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s statements
Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) President Mircea Aron notified the Judicial Inspection Unit on Monday about Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s call on lawmakers to stop voting any DNA request to lift the immunity of MPs. CSM has asked the Judicial Inspection to verify whether Tariceanu’s statements have harmed the independence of the judiciary.
“Considering the public request included in the document titled “Call on lawmakers” and published on the Romanian Senate’s official webpage on October 16, signed by Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, as well as the messages promoted as part of a series of recent media appearances, through which he resumed his call “on lawmakers to boycott DNA’s requests until the end of the tenure,” the President of the Superior Council of Magistracy, on the basis of Article 30, Paragraph 1, of Law no.317/2004 on the Superior Magistracy Council, has notified the Judicial Inspection Unit in order for it to expeditiously carry out the verifications needed in order to establish whether the independence of the judiciary as a whole has been harmed by the statements institutionally undersigned by the Senate Speaker and their subsequent mass-media debate,” reads the CSM communique.
Dragnea agrees with Tariceanu: I understand his preoccupation, it can be considered justified
Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea stated on Monday that he understands Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s “preoccupation” in what concerns the DNA, but told him he is “absolutely convinced” executive branch agencies will stay away from the electoral process, and at the same time asked the Head of State for guarantees in this sense.
“I’ve seen Mr. Tariceanu’s statement, I understand his preoccupation, it can be considered justified, but I am telling him he has no reasons to worry because I’m absolutely convinced executive branch institutions will not get involved in the electoral campaign, so the parties will be allowed to present their platforms, the candidates to talk with the people and the citizens to vote freely and aware of the facts,” Liviu Dragnea said.
The PSD leader also called on President Iohannis to ask certain institutions not to get involved in the electoral campaign. “I’m taking this opportunity to call on President Iohannis to ask all institutions not to get involved in the electoral campaign, those who are not supposed to get involved in the electoral campaign,” Dragnea added.
Asked in this context whether PSD will vote on Tuesday in favour of the DNA request to have the immunity of MP Elena Udrea lifted, the Social Democrat leader answered: “I believe so.”
Chairman Tariceanu argues Parliament is a favourite target of corruption prosecutors
Parliament has become a favourite target of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and, unfortunately, justice in Romania is done selectively, Senate Chairman Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said Monday.
“Parliament’s picture is currently suffering because Parliament has become a favourite target of DNA. Unfortunately, as we can see, justice in Romania is done selectively. The DNA chief prosecutor is talking about 9,000 corruption files implicating high-ranking officials. Consequently, what we understand is that only dignitaries are targeted, (…) as for the rest of the country everything is working perfectly. Reality is different,” said Tariceanu.
He claimed that the DNA has “brutally interfered with the local elections” and it continues to do so now.
“Given that the large share of the files is seven-eight years old, or even older, I find it hard to understand their hurry and gung-ho attitude right before the general election, one month before the start of electioneering, when they waited so long before. Since they could wait for eight years, they might stay for two more months, and the next Parliament will surely treat the requests accordingly,” said Tariceanu.
He said it is his duty as Senate chairman to take a public attitude against what he called repeated attempts to destabilise and discredit Parliament.
“We cannot be incessantly a target, especially because we can see many instances of perfunctory investigations, people accused or made guilty in the perception of public opinion; some people are deprived of freedom only for silence to fall over their cases, without anything happening. I believe we have to agree that such abuses and excesses can no longer continue,” said Tariceanu.
He added that there are some state institutions currently operating for themselves and waging an image campaign.
Tariceanu on Monday attended a meeting of the General Assembly of the Association of Romania’s Municipalities (AMR).