POLITICS

President Iohannis: It is hard to agree with pay increases passed before an election

President Klaus Iohannis said Wednesday, referring to a law on pay increases, that it is hard to say he agrees with such provisions passed by Parliament on the last stretch before this year’s general elections on December 11.

“It is hard to say you can agree with [pay] increases passed just inches before the election. I find Parliament has reached a populist-electioneering zone it shouldn’t have reached. On the other hand, I can very well understand people that they want to be listened to and the trade unions that they want to come up with pay raises. That should be very well considered. We cannot say wholesale that some or others are right, that is why such things have to be well considered and that is why I suggested early on that Parliament should avoid discussing at very high speed matters they should discuss in a collected manner,” said Iohannis.

Asked about the chances of him promulgating the law, Iohannis said laws are analysed on a case-by-case basis.

“I do not have a wholesale approach. When laws come up for promulgation, they are analysed on a case-by-case basis. I give an answer. Usually, I promulgate the laws, but sometimes I send them back [to Parliament] and sometimes to the Constitutional Court (CCR),” said Iohannis.

Head of State to organise debate on radio and TV licence fees: I received many calls not to promulgate the law

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Wednesday that he is analysing the law on the elimination of 102 taxes, pointing out that eliminating some taxes is appropriate but there should be more debate on the radio and TV licence tax.

He added he will organise a debate on this topic by November 15.

“The law is being analysed and here I believe we have to discuss in a bit more nuanced manner. In principle, it’s good to eliminate some taxes, it’s something I too said, that we simply have too many taxes. But it’s a long way from here to an ultra-urgent procedure that does not leave room for any public consultation, any serious assessment. We could discuss most of the taxes, and solutions to give them up would probably be found. In my opinion there are two [taxes] that should be well discussed. I’m talking about the radio licence tax and the TV licence tax,” the Head of State said, Agerpres informs.

Iohannis pointed out that in recent days he has received a lot of calls, from the EBU, from media trade unions, from professional associations, asking him not to promulgate the law. “This issue has to be discussed much better,” the President emphasised.

The Head of State pointed out he will give an answer on this law on November 15.

“I will give an answer on this topic when the deadline is set, I believe it’s November 15, and until then I want to organise at least one public consultation with people from this domain, with journalists, with media managers, with people from the civil society, to talk and see: is it better to keep the radio and TV licence tax or is it better to give it up. In my opinion, this is where the biggest mistake was made, because this discussion has to take place eventually but it should take place in society, over a period sufficiently long for all aspects to be clarified and for real solutions to be found,” President Iohannis added.

 

“I believe citizens’ initiative to amend Constitution should get own referendum”

 

President Klaus Iohannis said, on Wednesday, that it would be better for a distinct referendum to be organized in regards to the citizens’ initiative to amend the Constitution in order to define family as being “founded on the freely consented marriage between a man and a woman”.

“For the moment I have not expressed my opinion on the opportuneness [of the initiative], because it is still in parliamentary debate, but I believe it would be better for the citizens’ initiative to amend the Constitution to get its own referendum,” said the Head of State when asked if the referendum to amend the Constitution should take place on the same day as the parliamentary elections.

The citizens’ initiative to amend the Constitution, which was signed by nearly 3 million Romanians who are eligible voters, is currently debated within the Senate, as the Senate is the first notified chamber of Parliament.

The initiative proposes a new text for article 48, paragraph 1 of the Constitution: “The family is founded on the freely consented marriage between a man and a woman, their full equality, as well as the right and duty of the parents to ensure the upbringing, education and instruction of their children.” The current text of the Constitution reads “The family is founded on the freely consented marriage of the spouses, their full equality, as well as the right and duty of the parents to ensure the upbringing, education and instruction of their children.”

The Senate’s Judiciary Commission and Commission for Constitutionality, Civil Liberties and Oversight of Implementation of ECHR Decisions unanimously adopted on Tuesday a favourable report on the citizens’ initiative.

At the recommendation of the Legislative Council, the initiative was supplemented, through amendment, with a new article which stipulates that “the amending of the Constitution will be subjected to approval by referendum organized under the provisions of article 151, paragraph 3 of the Romanian Constitution.”

 

On controversy surrounding Table of Silence incident: Mayor agreed to it, topic has electioneering undertones

 

Referring to the incident at the Table of Silence, President Klaus Iohannis stated on Wednesday that “the mayor more than agreed” with his gesture, adding that if sculptor Constantin Brancusi did not want anyone to sit on those chairs he would have placed them in a museum, not in a public park.

“I was there alongside the mayor, who very much agreed with it and didn’t see any problem with it. The topic has electioneering undertones. (…) I found the whole discussion simply an exaggeration and I believe we can put an end to it here,” the Head of State told the press.

“Had Brancusi wanted nobody to sit on those chairs he would have placed them in a museum, not in a public park,” he added.

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