Social Democrat Party (PSD) chairman, Liviu Dragnea, should have led the Government from the very beginning and should take over as head of the Executive in case the law that does not allow him to do so is declared unconstitutional, said, on Sunday, Deputy PM Daniel Constantin, Minister of the Environment, at private broadcaster Digi 24.
“From what I understand, the Ombudsman said that a penalty applied by a court of law cannot be applied for life. You cannot, by a law, punish someone who has a one-year, two-year, three-year sentence or one with additional measures for life. From this point of view, the Ombudsman said: let’s solve that law, put it in agreement with the Constitution so that this penalty applies on the duration of that sentence’s exercise,” said the co-Chairman of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), Daniel Constantin.
Asked why such measures are taken “just now”, he answered that, probably, such a situation did not arise before – one in which someone be prevented to occupy a position in the Government.
Furthermore, when asked if in case the law is declared unconstitutional, he believes the Social Democrat leader should assume the position of Prime Minister, Constantin answered positively. “I believe Liviu Dragnea should have led the Government now. He led the electoral campaign, he led a government to its biggest victory in the past 20 years. History shows us that each time a party chairman led the party to victory he assumed the position of Prime Minister. I believe this should’ve happened now,” he stated.
When one of the show’s moderators suggested that maybe Prime Minister Grindeanu will not want to renounce his position as head of the Government, Constantin replied: “It’s a public debate that is just beginning: What Mr. Grindeanu wants, how he will collaborate with Mr. Dragnea, if Mr. Grindeanu will deceive the trust… I know Mr. Grindeanu very well, from the [Victor] Ponta Government. We have collaborated very well, I am convinced he will have a very good mandate, that he will implement the governing programme very well and that he will have a very good relationship with the entire PSD, with Liviu Dragnea at the top.”
Asked who Romania’s Prime Minister at this moment, Grindeanu or Dragnea, Daniel Constantin answered: “Sorin Grindeanu, but there is a very good collaboration between Mr. Grindeanu and Mr. Dragnea and I am convinced that this collaboration will give good results.”
Furthermore, when asked if, in his opinion, Grindeanu is capable to refuse the PSD chairman, Constantin stated that the relationship between the two will maintain. “I don’t want to talk of hypotheses. I believe that the collaboration relation between the two will maintain even after they exhaust their current mandate.”
On the other hand, when asked about the collaboration between the two political formations – PSD and ALDE – Constantin showed that, from his perspective, it will continue all throughout the governing act.
The Ombudsman directly raised a constitutionality challenge with the Constitutional Court (CCR) on the provisions of article 2 of Law no. 90/2001 regarding the organization and functioning of the Government and ministries, according to which only persons who were not convicted and are not found in a situation of incompatibility can be members of the Executive.
According to a press release sent by the Ombudsman on Thursday, “the provisions of art. 2 of Law no. 90/2001 violates the principle of ‘checks and balances’, they do not meet the constitutional requirements of predictability and proportionality of law, and do not allow the acknowledging of the right to difference for occupying, in conditions of equality and without non-reasonable restrictions, a position that implies the exercise of state authority”.
PNL demands Ombudsman’s resignation: He has become a convicted politician’s lawyer
The Liberals are demanding the resignation of Ombudsman Victor Ciorbea, accusing him of becoming the defender of “a convicted politician’s private interests” and stating that the PSD-ALDE majority’s goal is to “occupy the state,” News.ro writes.
“PNL is asking for Victor Ciorbea’s resignation from the office of Ombudsman; he has abandoned the role, the mission and the prerogatives of the institution he leads and is proving, not for the first time, the lack of the professionalism needed for the office he fails to represent honourably and skilfully,” PNL First Vice President Catalin Predoiu points out in a press release.
He declares himself “confident” that Constitutional Court judges will respect the law and will reject the Ombudsman’s challenge.
“His resignation is a minimum act of moral reparation for public interests, after which Mr. Ciorbea can become Mr. Dragnea’s paid lawyer,” Predoiu added.
PNL First Vice President Cristian Busoi had a similar message.
“As it is now, tied to PSD’s headquarters, the Ombudsman no longer has any institutional logic, apart from ensuring a comfortable office for Mr. Ciorbea, who would continue to serve his boss Liviu Dragnea. It’s time for Mr. Ciorbea to resign, because he does not represent the institution at the helm of which he resides but precisely the opposite of the role the Ombudsman should have,” Busoi points out in a press release.
Online petition for Ciorbea’s resignation
On Friday, in 24 hours’ time, 79,000 people had signed the online petition asking for the resignation of Ombudsman Victor Ciorbea. The civic initiative appeared after the Ombudsman filed with the Constitutional Court an appeal against law no.90/2001, which prevented Liviu Dragnea from being nominated for the Prime Minister’s office.
“Mr. Ciorbea, we are dissatisfied with the way you are working, paying very little attention to citizens and showing a lot of concern for politicians accused of or convicted for various illegalities. We are asking you to vacate the office and make room for someone who puts the citizen’s interest at the forefront. Mister lawyer, you are fired!” reads the petition launched on Thursday and signed until Sunday by over 100,000 persons.
“Ever since he has become Ombudsman, Victor Ciorbea has stood out only through the obvious deal he made with all those who hold human rights in contempt. When people were trampled in Pungesti he had no reaction. When thousands of persons with disabilities needed his involvement, he turned his back on them,” the online petition reads, also mentioning the support that the Ombudsman offered to “inmates-cum-writers” or to political party presidents with “legal problems.”
Justice Minister: Ciorbea’s decision to notify CCR about Law 90, normal and legal. Presidency has no reason to be agitated
Justice Minister Florin Iordache stated on Friday, on his arrival at the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) headquarters, that the Ombudsman’s gesture to notify the Constitutional Court about law no.90/2001 is “normal” and “legal,” adding that Presidential Spokesperson Madalina Dobrovolschi has no reason to be “agitated,” News.ro informs.
Asked how he sees the Ombudsman’s decision to file with the CCR a challenge to law no.90/2001, Iordache said that the overture is absolutely normal.
“I find the Ombudsman’s gesture absolutely normal because, as far as I know, if the Ombudsman, in the law that concerns him, notices some infringements, he is obligated to notify the Constitutional Court,” the Justice Minister said.
Florin Iordache pointed out that Presidential Spokesperson Madalina Dobrovolschi has no reason to be “agitated.”
“At the same time, I too have seen that the spokesperson of the presidency is very agitated. She has no reasons to be agitated; if in a rule of law the Ombudsman notices that a law is unconstitutional, this is a legal and normal overture. The decision that the Constitutional Court will take, and which will be inserted in the law in Parliament, must be respected,” the Social Democrat said.
Asked if he read the arguments that the Ombudsman brought in support of his overture, Florin Iordache said that “there are some legal arguments.”
“In my opinion, there are legal arguments. I am waiting for CCR’s decision and that is the decision that will then have to be inserted in the law,” the Justice Minister concluded.
Ombudsman hopes President spokesperson’s statements don’t represent Iohannis’ stance
The Ombudsman voiced his surprise at the statements made on Thursday by the President’s spokesperson Madalina Dobrovolschi, and the hope that they don’t represent the head of state’s stance.
“Referring to the statements of the Presidential Administration’s spokesperson on the dangers of the move to notify the Constitutional Court about Article 2 of Law 90/2000, the Ombudsman underscores that the unconstitutionality arguments are mainly aimed at the principle according to which the representatives of the three state powers must meet the same integrity and morality criteria to occupy a public office. The Ombudsman voices the opinion that it is natural that in a democratic society, such a requirement exists for all the dignitaries of a state,” reads a release of the Ombudsman on Friday.
The cited source mentions that by moving to notify the Constitutional Court, “the Ombudsman has pursued no other interest than that of contributing to ensuring a unitary, clear, coherent and constitutional legislation, in agreement with the international treaties and conventions Romania is part of and with the interests of the Romanian people.”