The new Parliament elected following the 11 December ballot was convened on Tuesday at 12:00 by President Klaus Iohannis.
The decree signed by the head of state on convening the legislature was released in the Official Journal on Monday.
Most MPs took over the mandates on Monday. Out of the total of 136 senators elected following the 11 December ballot, 97 went to the Palace of Parliament, to fulfill the necessary formalities to take over the mandate. On Monday, until 16:00, approximately 180 deputies of the 329 elected went to the offices set-up to take over their mandate.
Each chamber will have a solemn session opening the 2016-2020 legislature at 12:00. It is presided both in the Senate and the Chamber by the age senior, assisted by four of the youngest senators and deputies, respectively.
Subsequently, the validation committees are going to be convened, which will check if the election of the new senators and deputies was conducted with the observance of the electoral law provisions. The validation committees can recommend the invalidation of an MP mandate in case irregularities are found.
Deputies of new legislature to take the oath of office on Wednesday
The new members of the Chamber of Deputies will take the oath of office in the plenary session on Wednesday. The refusal to be sworn-in in triggers the loss of the MP mandate.
According to sources in the Standing Bureau of the Chamber, on Tuesday, after the convening of the plenary session, the structure of the validation commission will be chosen, made up of 30 members that will work all throughout Tuesday.
On Wednesday, starting with 09:00, the new deputies will take their oath of office, after which the president of the Chamber and the members of the Standing Bureau will be chosen.
Hustle and bustle within Lower Chamber: New MPs take possession of their mandates
Monday was a big day for a few dozen Romanians for whom their membership of Parliament will be a puzzle they will decipher in the next four years.
The hustle and bustle started at 9 a.m., timidly at first. Photographs, forms, IDs, voting cards… these were some of the formalities they had to go through before officially taking possession of their mandates as Lower Chamber members, Mediafax informs.
Lower Chamber clerks wanted everything organised perfectly so a dress rehearsal was held on Saturday. At the entrance of the ‘Michael the Brave’ hall, where the new Lower Chamber members were expected to pick up the documents attesting their status, there was a detailed map of the route the new MPs had to follow.
“Good day. Here you have to file the original certificate and a copy of your ID. Then go have your picture taken, file the wealth statement and so on,” a Lower Chamber clerk told those who seemed disoriented when entering the hall.
The new Lower Chamber members had to go through a series of formalities, including having their photographs taken, signing their MP files, receiving electronic vote cards, filing their wealth statements, filing statements on whether they collaborated with the former Securitate or not, auto transport details, foreign relations protocol, mobile communications and Lower Chamber MP IDs. In the end, each of them received a folder which included the Constitution, the Lower Chamber regulations and the MPs Statute, all in print but also in electronic form.
A fresh politician, journalist Robert Turcescu was one of the few MPs who forgot to bring his certificate. He was asked to go through the rest of the formalities. The deadline for filing the document issued by the Electoral Office expires on Tuesday evening.
Save Romania Union (USR) President Nicusor Dan stood out among the others. Looking out of his element, the USR President said: “It feels like the summer schools I used to attend when I was a mathematician. There was a welcoming committee and we were filling in all kinds of paperwork, then we were receiving some materials and were starting to study.”
While he was filling in some documents, the journalists present there spotted him holding a subway pass.
“I have no idea what will happen, but I’m riding the subway and the bus,” the Save Romania Union leader said.
In fact, the new USR MPs had a logistical problem. While halls were allocated for their colleagues based on parliamentary groups, Nicusor Dan’s MPs had to loiter on the hallways and in the end went to one of the Parliament Palace’s restaurants for informal talks.
There were also new MPs who avoided journalists. Ioana Brad, elected in Satur Mare, and Corina Bogaciu, elected in Ilfov, were among them.
Corina Bogaciu (27) was accompanied by a young man who carried the new MP’s purse and advised her when filling in some paperwork.
Mara Calista, elected in Teleorman, displayed the opposite attitude.
“I’m telling you honestly that it’s not the first time I see what this is about, but it’s the first time I’m coming here in this capacity. It’s a very well organised tour. We were told exactly what we have to do in each office. I filed all documents. As you can see, I came out alive and unharmed,” a smiling Calista said.
She briefly talked about the priorities of the county in which she was elected too, namely those concerning the economic domain.
Around noon, PSD’s Eugen Bejinariu arrived at the ‘Michael the Brave’ hall. He has been once again elected member of Lower Chamber. The Social Democrats asked him to resign after the DNA asked Parliament to lift his immunity so they could prosecute him in the Microsoft case.
New Parliament’s beginners
The new Parliament, which has resulted following the December 11th elections and which will convene for the first time on December 20, will have among its members people who have had different careers until now, some of them interesting to say the least. For instance, the President of the Boxing Federation, the writer of the ‘I’m an Old Communist Hag’ novel and a Transylvanian who helped those suffering from kidney ailments.
Emanuel Ungureanu, Lower Chamber member: “We are all polite. When we sneeze, we say ‘gesundheit’. We’re not saying: ‘parliamentarian’! If health is the priority, let’s show it through action, not talk.”
New Lower Chamber member Emanuel Ungureanu is the first social worker in Romania who helped renal insufficiency patients end up more quickly on the lists of transplants. One hundred children and young people now owe him their lives. The 38-year-old parliamentarian wants to help even more Romanians through an efficient law on transplants.
Another greenhorn is PSD Lower Chamber MP Vasile Catea, elected in Iasi, whom his colleagues better not get mad. He is the President of the Romanian Boxing Federation. Obviously, sports will be his priority in this mandate.
“Sport is a very advanced and agreeable way for young people to gain abilities in both ways, so being both educated and healthy,” Vasile Catea told Digi24.
Culture has new representatives in Parliament too: USR Senator Dan Lungu, the author of the famous novel ‘I’m an Old Communist Hag.’ The 47-year-old writer knows exactly what he has to do.
Dan Lungu, Senator: “The financing of cultural projects, their coherence, there should be a special section for culture halls. Because I plan to do this, to revitalise cultural life in rural areas.”
Most of the newcomers are engineers, economists and lawyers. The youngest MP is PNL’s 24-year-old Mara Mares, elected member of the Lower Chamber in Brasov. She graduated from the Faculty of European and International Studies in London.
A new Parliament with old Parliamentarians too
Almost half of the 465 MPs who were elected on December 11 previously experienced at least once the Senator or Deputy life, according to Digi24 TV. In the Parliament that will start its term on Tuesday, Liberals have the most senior MPs. They are followed by ALDE, UDMR, PMP and PSD.
The only political party whose Deputies and Senators are all at their first mandate, is Save Romania Union. One of the reasons is that the party founded less than half a year has faced its first electoral test for the Parliament.
The other parties that reached the electoral threshold at the elections of Sunday have even half of the seats occupied by people that are not new in the Parliament Palace.
The absolute veterans are the UDMR Senator Verestoy Attila and the UDMR Deputy Marton Arpad. Entered into the Legislative in 1990, in the first Parliament after December 1990, Verestoy Attilla has currently won his eighth mandate. Basically, he didn’t miss any Parliament since 1990 until today.
The President of the Senate and the ALDE Co-President Calin Popescu Tariceanu is also a veteran. He won his seventh mandate. Varujan Vosganian and Eugen Nicolicea have the same performance. They didn’t miss the entry in this legislature, too.
Other MPs with a large number of mandates are Social Democrats Viorel Stefan and Ecaterina Andronescu, as well as the representative of the Armenians in Romania, Varujan Pambuccian. They will start their sixth mandate.
The list is completed by the Liberal Eugen Nicolaescu and the UDMR Deputy Kelemen Hunor. They previously had four mandates in Parliament.
There are also Deputies or Senators having experience, but previously having a break in Parliament for other positions, such as the President of the country, for instance. Traian Basescu won a Senator seat after 16 years of being Minister, Mayor and Head of State.
Veterans of the Parliament.
Verestoy Attila, Marton Arpad, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Varujan Vosganian, Eugen Nicolicea
Ecaterina Andronescu, Varujan Pambuccian, Eugen Nicolaescu, Kelemen Hunor
Returning in Parlament – Traian Basescu, Corneliu Bichinet si Renica Diaconescu