The new elected Deputies’ Chamber and Senate have convened on Tuesday, in the first plenary sessions after the elections of December 11. The first sittings of the 2016-2020 legislature, the eighth after 1990 were led by the most senior members of the two Chambers.
Deputies’ Chamber: Mandate validation committee set up
The first session of the Chamber was chaired by Miron Ignat (75 years old), national minorities’ group deputy, the most senior member of this forum, and the session secretaries were Mara Mares (24 years old, PNL) and Andrei Pop (25 years old, PSD), the youngest MPs.
The committee on the validation of the mandates of the new MPs has been set up on Tuesday, in the first session of the Chamber in the 2016-2020 legislative term, at the first plenary session attending 256 MPs out of the total number of 329 MPs.
The 256 MPs have unanimously approved the committee composition, made up of 30 members, out of whom: the Social Democratic Party (PSD) – 14 representatives, the National Liberal Party (PNL) – 6, the Save Romania Union (USR) – 3, the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) and the People’s Movement Party (PMP) – two each, and one representative of the group of national minorities.
According to the Rules, the MPs number designated in the validation committee by each parliamentary group was established depending on the proportion of its members in the total number of MPs.
The validation committee is functioning on the whole period of the Deputies’ Chamber term and it will have a chairman, a deputy chairman and a secretary, who form the bureau of the committee, and it will operate in 9 working groups, formed by 3 members, respecting the proportion provided by the Art.4 para.(1) of the Rules.
The validation committee has the role to check and decide on the challenges included in the files received from the Central Electoral Bureau, pending or whose solution was made by violating the legal provisions related to the settlement procedure, as well as on fulfilling the eligibility conditions by each MP and on the submission of all the documents requested by the laws in force for validating the mandates.
Then, a report will be made, nominating the MPs proposed to be validated, invalidated or, where appropriate, whose validation of the mandates is postponed, or it presents, in writing, in the plenum of the committee, the validation or invalidation proposals regarding the received MPs files.
After approving, most likely on Wednesday, the validation report by the plenum, the oath will be taken by the MPs whose mandates have been validated, the Chairman of the Deputies’ Chamber and the other members of the Permanent Bureau will be elected, and parliamentary committees will be formed.
After validation, the new elected MPs will take the oath of allegiance to the country and people. After the swearing-in ceremony, the plenary works will continue with the election of the Deputies’ Chamber Speaker, the members of the Standing Bureau and the establishment of the parliamentary committees.
In Tuesday’s meeting, each parliamentary group was also presented – with name, composition and leadership, leader, deputy leaders and secretaries.
The most senior member of the MPs Miron Ignat: Romanian people has high hopes on us
The chairman of the session of the Deputies’ Chamber, the most senior member Miron Ignat, stated on Tuesday, in his first speech held in the plenum of the new Parliament, that Romanian people has high hopes on the elected representatives, saying that the elections have been correctly conducted and the voters “weren’t deceived by a bottle of oil”.
“Romanian people has high hopes on us, the MPs elected in this legislature, because they voted with high hopes on us, the voter’s representatives. Their hope is given by the fact that we will vote laws that will lead to Romania’s development, to the increased welfare of the people, to a better and a more decent life for all groups of people” stated the chairmen of the Deputies’ Chamber session, the most senior member Miron Ignat.
Miron Ignat also said to the new MPs that they are the result of a transparent vote, given “by heart”, because the elections have been correctly conducted, and the voters “weren’t deceived by a bottle of oil”.
“We, those who are present in this room, are the result of a transparent vote, correctly conducted, and the voters have voted by heart, knowingly, to empower us to represent them with honor. People voted freely in this electoral campaign, without being influenced by a green, red, blue or orange bucket, without being deceived by a bottle of oil or a frozen chicken, or by a jacket inscribed with electoral slogans. By this, it was proved that Romania steps on the democracy way in the search of the citizen’s respect and dignity”, stated the most senior member of the Deputies’ Chamber.
The chairman of the session reminded to the new MPs that they have the obligation to improve the laws.
“Romania is a beautiful country. It has millions of hectares that can be cultivated. Romania, who was once called the breadbasket of the Europe, lives now by imports. We, the deputies, have the obligation (…) to improve the laws (…)”, Miron Ignat added.
Miron Ignat also spoke about the areas in which the laws are deficient and that need a proper legal framework to be able to capitalize their potential.
126 senators present at the first plenary session of the Senate
The first plenary session of the Senate, chaired by senior Liberal senator Leon Danaila (aged 83), started with intoning the National Anthem.
Leon Danaila was assisted by four of the youngest elected senators – George Catalin Stang (the National Liberal Party – PNL) and George-Edward Dirca (Save Romania Union – USR), both senators elected in Galati no. 18 constituency, the social democrat Marius-Alexandru Dunca (constituency no.8 Brasov) as well as Constantin Bogdan Matei (elected senator on the lists of the Social Democrat Party – PSD in Valcea no. 40 constituency).
The first plenary meeting has convened the validation committee, that verified whether the election of the new senators was carried out in observance of the electoral law provisions. The validation committee can recommend the invalidation of a senator’s mandate in case irregularities are found.
Every party or electoral alliance designated its representative in order to form the validation committee, so as to reflect the political configuration of the Senate following the elections.
After approving, most likely on Wednesday, the validation report by the plenum, the oath will be taken by the senators whose mandates have been validated, the chairman of the Senate and the other members of the Permanent Bureau will be elected and parliamentary committees will be formed.
Upon validation of mandates, senators will take the oath of office. The refusal to take the oath automatically draws the loss of the senator’s mandate.
Senate dean Leon Danaila: Authentic democracy impossible without strong, respected Parliament
The Senate’s most senior member, Liberal Leon Danaila who chaired the first plenary sitting of the Upper House in the 2016 – 2020 legislative term, told his fellow Senators that a powerful state cannot exist in absence of an authentic democracy and “an authentic democracy is impossible without a strong and respected Parliament.”
“We start the parliamentary activity in the 2016-2020 legislature. We inform you that 136 senators have been elected in the Senate. Out of this total, there are 126 senators in this room, and 10 senators are absent. Therefore, the working quorum is reached” Leon Danaila stated.
He has introduced some of his personal thoughts to his new colleagues.
“We open today the proceedings of the eighth legislative term of the democratically elected Senate of Romania. The December 1989 Revolution was the gate through which Romania entered a new historical stage, returning to an authentic democratic regime, based on free elections and political pluralism. After a quarter of a century, here we are, beginning to measure ourselves against the essential landmarks of democracy – free elections, respect for human rights, the separation of powers, the rulers’ accountability to the representative bodies. A strong state is impossible to imagine without an authentic democracy and authentic democracy is impossible without a strong and respected Parliament. (…) Parliament must regain the reputation and authority the citizens so much need,” Danaila said after the opening of the session works.
He added that newly elected Senators have the opportunity to contribute during their term in office to strengthening the institution of Parliament.
“I congratulate each of you for having succeeded to win the Romanians’ trust. Dear colleagues, we have the chance of a mandate during which we can contribute to strengthening the flagship institution of any democracy, ie Parliament. Over time, the Senate of Romania has abundantly proven its vocation as main promoter of Romanian democracy, a powerful forum of political debate for all the issues facing society. It is our role to contribute actively to maintaining the balance between the governing structures of the country, to defending democratic rights and freedoms and promoting national ideals,” Professor Danaila said.
Liviu Dragnea proposed Eugen Nicolicea and Serban Nicolae as the PSD group leaders for the Deputies’ Chamber and the Senate
On Tuesday, PSD President Liviu Dragnea proposed Eugen Nicolicea and Serban Nicolae as the leaders of the parliamentary groups for the Deputies’ Chamber and the Senate, stating that in January there will be final appointments for the first session of the Parliament.
“There will be certain people appointed in some positions, group leaders, committee chairmen, as well as other positions into the Parliament, on a temporary basis, until we’ll have the final discussion by the end of January, when we’ll have somewhat final appointments for the first session of the Parliament. To actually enter into the procedures, I propose Eugen Nicolicea as the group leader for the Deputies’ Chamber, and Serban Nicolae as the group leader for the Senate”, Dragnea stated at the first meeting of the PSD parliamentary groups, where the press was also allowed.
326 deputy mandates validated
The specially constituted committee validated on Tuesday the mandates of 326 deputies and postponed the validation of three deputies who didn’t bring all the necessary papers.
“The Validation Committee has validated the mandates of 326 deputies. It has been established that they (the deputies- e.n.) satisfy the legal conditions for validation. The mandates of three colleagues were postponed, namely two from Prahova and one belonging to national minorities. The Validation Committee continues its activity throughout these four years, and regarding the ones of whose validation was postponed they will have to bring from the organization – two of from the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the third from the Minorities- the necessary papers in order to be validated,” President of the Validation Committee Florin Iordache explained.
Andreea Cosma and Razvan Ioan Ursu from the PSD Prahova, as well as the Ukrainians Association representative are the ones of whose mandates were postponed.
Liviu Dragnea’s mandate, which was challenged by the Liberals is among the validated mandates.
The common report of the committee gathered 21 votes “in favor” and 9 “against.”
Deputy of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Gabriel Andronache requested that the proposals of invalidating Liviu Dragnea’s mandate and the ones which were postponed to be individually discussed.
Working Subcommittee validates Dragnea’s deputy mandate; PNL proposed invalidation
All the mandates of the deputies in Teleorman County, including the one of Liviu Dragnea, which was contested by the National Liberal Party (PNL) were validated on Tuesday by the specially constituted Subcommittee.
“Our Subcommittee validated all the mandates which were presented from the constituencies which were assigned to us. A special point was the request of the representative of the PNL group, namely Valeria Schelean who proposed to invalidate the mandate of Dragnea pleading the article 7, paragraph 3. Obviously we each expressed our point of view, I stated that article 7, paragraph 3 refers to committing a crime regarding the conduct of the electoral process. As you know, the respective case refers to the referendum. The referendum isn’t an electoral process and, therefore, not being an electoral process article 7, paragraph 3 doesn’t apply to this case. Electoral means regarding elections or electors, in connection to elections. The referendum means the direct consultation of citizens, it is not an electoral process. It is true that both of them involve votes, but the votes from the referendum aren’t electoral votes, but decision votes, for the decisional referendum and in respect to the consultative referendum the votes represent the direct expression of the citizens’ will, it’s not an electoral process,” Social Democrat deputy Eugen Nicolicea explained.
Deputy of the PNL Valeria Schelean stated that she proposed the invalidation of the PSD leader’s mandate. “I have proposed the invalidation of Dragnea’s deputy mandate, referring to the provisions of the article 7, paragraph 3 of the Deputies’ Chamber Regulation. The proposition was put to vote, it didn’t gather the necessary number of votes, being only one vote ‘in favor’ and two ‘against’,” Schelean stated. She added that the Regulation text reveals the necessity of a final sentence existing.