After the President stated he will not give up on his integrity criteria when appointing the Premier, the question is whether the President’s statement eliminates Liviu Dragnea’s hopes to take over the Government.
Analyst Radu Magdin believes that President Klaus Iohannis “will stay true to his integrity criteria” in what concerns the appointment of the future Prime Minister, while on the other hand the Social Democratic Party (PSD) will not surrender its right to nominate party leader Liviu Dragnea for this position, so that the situation could be brought before the Constitutional Court to be settled.
“President Iohannis stays true to his integrity criteria. Theoretically, this is good policy because the President appears to be true to the publicly launched ideas. Also in political terms, but practically, this means a President who, in the period immediately ahead, chooses political conflict over the variant of cohabiting or working together with the new parliamentary majority. My opinion is that the matter will end up before the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) by the end of the year, for several reasons. PSD will not give up, at least it cannot afford giving up without the matter being settled at the top judicial level, considering the large majority held by PSD + ALDE [Alliance of Liberals and Democrats], that might be also joined by the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania. I think the President expects to see a settlement in court, I don’t think he expects PSD, with such an electoral outcome, to simply surrender and field a new candidate. I say this because Liviu Dragnea would see a national political defeat if he is nominated for Premier’s office and subsequently steps back only because the President vetoed him in absence of a court settlement,” Magdin told Agerpres on Tuesday.
The analyst underscored that the situation must be settled fast because the Ciolos Cabinet has no legitimacy to draft Romania’s budget for 2017.
“From my perspective, things must be settled relatively fast. The current government of technocrats headed by Dacian Ciolos does not have the legitimacy to decide on next year’s budget. The people have spoken, giving a clear majority to PSD and ALDE and, considering this, it’s not normal that the current government holds the debates and takes the final decisions. There are budgetary consequences,” said the analyst.
Radu Magdin compared the political situation in Romania with a “tug of war of politically [strong] nerves, when it will greatly matter who blinks first.”
“From my point of view, PSD will not blink, given the strong majority centred around the party. And, for the sake of showing that the country’s President still matters, Klaus Iohannis won’t blink either. Consequently, the standoff can be settled only by the Constitutional Court and this should happen as quickly as possible,” concluded the analyst.
PSD’s plan to have Liviu Dragnea appointed Premier
With a crushing score of almost 46 percent in the parliamentary elections, the Social Democrats are currently making all calculations to have Liviu Dragnea appointed Premier, despite the opposition that President Klaus Iohannis expressed during the campaign toward appointing a Head of Government who has legal problems of a criminal nature, ‘Gandul’ daily writes.
According to the source, since the Constitution does not stipulate any restriction and bearing in mind that Liviu Dragnea’s rights were not suspended despite him being convicted, the Social Democrats are mulling seeking a solution at the Constitutional Court, where they could have a slim majority, being of the opinion that it would be excessive to prevent him from becoming Premier while the law allows him to be an MP. The option taken into consideration would be to notify the Constitutional Court about a juridical conflict of a constitutional nature between the Parliament and the Presidency – a move also used back when USL wanted to have Klaus Iohannis appointed Premier – or to enlist the Ombudsman’s help.
The fact that the law limits his access to that office is not an impediment, given the fact that the restriction is not stipulated in the Constitution, this was the message that Liviu Dragnea suggested in the speech he gave after the polls closed on Sunday evening, when exit-polls credited PSD with a landslide victory and put it just a step away from forming the majority on its own, ‘Gandul’ points out.
In what concerns the negotiations with ALDE and UDMR, Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s party is waiting for PSD to respect their pre-elections agreement on a ruling coalition and to start negotiations on the new Government. According to political sources, Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Daniel Constantin’s Liberal-Democrats seek to appoint three or four ministers and the deputy prime minister.
The situation is different at UDMR. UDMR President Kelemen Hunor stated immediately after the exit-polls were announced that he will act so that the Hungarian community’s interests are met and is preparing to back a PSD Government in Parliament in return for the Government keeping in office a series of secretaries of state within the Education and Religious Denominations Ministry and UDMR’s people within decentralised institutions.
Ex-Premier Victor Ponta explained on Monday evening that PSD hopes to recruit in the following days several new MPs from other parties, in order to have an absolute majority within Parliament, which would mean that President Klaus Iohannis would have to discuss with PSD alone.
Victor Ponta explains PSD’s strategy: We are 2-3 mandates short of absolute majority, I think we’ll find them
In an interview by phone for RomaniaTV, Victor Ponta explained that after the redistribution of seats and possible recruitments, PSD could have the absolute majority in Parliament, which, in the ex-Premier’s view, would call for the enforcement of Article 103 of the Romanian Constitution, which stipulates that the President should appoint a Premier after consulting the political party which holds the majority in Parliament.
“We are nervous to see whether PSD will have the absolute majority after the allocation of seats. Then a Constitutional article concerning the nomination of the Premier would apply. We have a majority with ALDE, but things change a bit. (…) According to Article 103 of the Constitution, the President appoints a candidate after consulting the political party that holds the majority in Parliament. The Constitution doesn’t say the party which won the majority, it says the one that holds the majority in Parliament, whose name we will know after each MP announces the [parliamentary] group whose member he will be. If now, at the allocation [of seats], we are 2-3 mandates short, I believe there will be 3-4 MPs who will want to be part of PSD’s group. In that case consultations with the other parties would no longer take place, they would take place with the party that holds the absolute majority instead, [the President] won’t bother PNL to consult them for naught. Basescu accepted the vote in 2012, I wouldn’t want Iohannis to be worse than Basescu,” Ponta told RomaniaTV.
So far, all PSD leaders have opted in favour of nominating Liviu Dragnea for the PM’s office, even though Klaus Iohannis warned that he would not nominate a Premier who has legal problems of a criminal nature.
Asked whether he will be nominated by PSD for the Premier’s office, considering that the Constitution does not ban that, PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Sunday evening: “First of all, I respect and I will bear in mind the vote cast by Romanians today, the Constitution of Romania and the governing platform.” “The important thing is to understand that PSD didn’t win or PNL and USR didn’t lose today. Today Romanians won and it is up to all those who have to take decisions in the upcoming period not to make a mockery of this massive desire that Romanians expressed today,” he said.
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated last Wednesday that his party will not modify the law that prevents him from being Premier, arguing that a legislative act cannot be modified and published in the Official Journal in the span of three days. He did not mention a possible appeal filed with the Constitutional Court.
“Persons who have Romanian citizenship and reside in the country, who enjoy the exercise of their electoral rights, who have not been criminally convicted and do not find themselves in one of the cases of incompatibility stipulated by Book I, Title IV of law no.161/2003 on measures ensuring transparency in the exercise of public dignities, public offices and in the business environment, and on the prevention and punishment of corruption, with subsequent amendments and supplements, can be members of the Government,” reads law no.90/2001.
Ombudsman to determine whether to notify CCR about law that bans criminally convicted person from being member of Gov’t
The Constitutional Litigation Service will analyse the advisability of having the Constitutional Court notified by the Ombudsman in what concerns the law that bans criminally convicted persons from being members of Government.
“Following the mass-media debates concerning certain provisions of law no.90/2001 on the way the Romanian Government and ministries are organised and operate, and in order to avoid any speculations, the Ombudsman hereby points out that the Constitutional Litigation Service has been tasked with analysing the advisability of the Ombudsman taking note, ex officio, of the problems generated by some provisions of the aforementioned law. The Ombudsman points out that any overtures it will carry out in the following period will be in line with the Constitution and state laws,” reads a communique that the Ombudsman remitted to Mediafax on Tuesday.
Victor Ciorbea: Ombudsman decides whether to act ex officio or not on Governement organisation
The Ombudsman will decide “in a day or two” whether to act ex officio or not regarding the Law No. 90/2001 on Government organisation, declared on Tuesday, for AGERPRES, Ombudsman Victor Ciorbea, specifying that he would like the legal aspects of this piece of legislation be resolved directly among the institutions stipulated in the Constitution.
Asked whether the Ombudsman analyzes the Law No. 90/2001, Victor Ciorbea stated that he required the Constitutional Contentious Service to carry out a “first read” of the legal texts.
“I wasn’t notified neither by parties nor by institutions or citizens, but (…), last night, on various TV channels, on different shows, it was said that the Ombudsman should intervene. And then I demanded the Constitutional Contentious Service to analyse, to carry out a careful reading of the legal texts, of the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court and of CEDO on the subject, and decide whether we should act ex officio or not, if official notifications do not arrive. Of course, I would like the problem be solved without the involvement of our institution, by the institutions directly specified in the Constitution, and I would also like to find other solutions or formulas, but we cannot remain passive altogether, because (…) still, there are important, constitutional aspects under discussion, with significant implications and I cannot limit myself to act ex officio only in important cases, but that related to one person or a group of people whose rights and liberties are being affected. (…) Within a day or two I hope we’ll make a decision whether to act ex officio or not and then, to carry out a thorough examination and see if appropriate to raise or not the unconstitutionality exception to the Constitutional court,” said Ciorbea.
He specified that he hopes and wishes these things find resolution “as soon as possible” among the institutions directly stipulated in the Constitution.
The Law No. 90/2001 on the organisation and functioning of Romania’s Government and ministries provides, among other things, that “people with Romanian citizenship and residence in the country, only, who have electoral rights and haven’t been criminally convicted, could be member of the Government (…).
Dragnea: Single proposal for PM, talks with ALDE today or tomorrow
The Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) chairman Liviu Dragnea said that either Tuesday or Wednesday he will hold talks with representatives of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) about the governing alliance, emphasizing that there will be a sole proposal for the office of PM, as there is no “short-list” of candidates for the Government’s top position.
“We will – and I hope we also manage to – have a discussion with the colleagues in ALDE, today or tomorrow [Tuesday or Wednesday] and, as I said, after this discussion we will decide the path to follow,” Dragnea said at the PSD headquarters, adding that he didn’t yet discuss with the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) either.
Liviu Dragnea specified that no “short-list” of candidates for PM exists, and that PSD and ALDE will submit a single proposal for this position.
“The alliance between PSD and ALDE is holding and this alliance implies a common proposal for the position of Prime Minister. There is no short-list of proposals for PM, there will be just one, which we will make public after a discussion, as it is natural, within the PSD, in the National Executive Committee,” the Social Democrat leader stated.