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Reactions to Grindeanu Government’s decision to rescind the ordinance amending the Criminal Codes

ALDE’s Borza: Protests no longer have a point; I’m calling for reasonableness, civic sense and responsibility

 

ALDE MP Remus Borza considers that a continuation of the recent protests is no longer justified, considering the Grindeanu Government’s decision to rescind the ordinance amending the Criminal Codes. He called for reasonableness, civic sense and responsibility.

“You see what the street’s new demands are: ‘Down with the Government,’ ‘Snap elections’ and, in the end, ‘My Government.’ Well, this state of prolonged instability will be fatal for Romania. And this is what every person must understand, whether young or old, public sector employee or from the entrepreneurial sector,” Borza stated.

In his opinion, “the rule of the majority is applied in any democracy.”

“In America too, you see every day millions of American citizens [protesting]. You think President Trump has budged? He moves forward with decisions that are much more controversial than Grindeanu’s ordinance,” the ALDE MP said.

He claimed that “from now on these protests no longer have a point.”

“I’m calling for reasonableness, civic sense and responsibility. From now on, these protests no longer have a point. And then, obviously, this makes me think there is a different scenario, a different mission and that they, these people, most of whom are of good faith, are just pawns. So, as long as protests continue we are at risk of civil war. And also, we all have to understand that 200,000, 300,000 or 500,000 Romanians in the street is not the same with the Romanian people. Eight million Romanians voted in December. This PSD-ALDE majority is backed by five million votes,” the ALDE MP stated.

According to Borza, the PSD-ALDE majority’s sympathisers and members are “fuming” because they have realised that this is “a manipulation as brazen and obvious as possible,” opining in favour of “a counter-protest.”

“My personal opinion: we should have a counter-protest across the country. We should all show that there is another protest. Albeit a silent majority. And, obviously, I wouldn’t want it to take place at evening, so that the two camps wouldn’t meet. At noon, for one hour, just to give the signal that this minority cannot change the rules of a democracy,” the MP said.

Answering a question from the press, Remus Borza added that the Ponta Government “had a lot of decency and a lot of common sense to step down for a fault that could not be pinned on it,” claiming that “this Government (the Grindeanu Government – editor’s note) is not in the situation of leaving after less than three weeks, bearing in mind it put into practice its electoral commitments.”

 

Calin Popescu Tariceanu: Iohannis has a plan to change the Government. Wise man always surrenders

 

The President of the Senate Cain Popescu Tariceanu claims that the Head of State Klaus Iohannis has a plan to change the Government, stating that PSD and ALDE decided to waive GEO no. 13 because “wise man always surrenders”.

“It seems that the discussion that I had with the President right after elections wasn’t just a bluff. It seems he has a plan to change the Government and to install his Government, the same way he did in 2015, after the accident at Colectiv. And this is a very serious matter, because President has to observe the constitutional order, he has to respect the result of the elections, either it’s a convenient one for him or not, he has to respect the people’s will. President wants to take advantage of these circumstances, and I believe that if he will not also give a message in order to show that this is the moment to end this disorder affecting Romania, and especially the most important cities, in the recent days, ha makes a big mistake” Tariceanu stated on Saturday evening for Romania TV.

He claimed that PSD-ALDE decided to withdraw GEO no. 13 because “wise man always surrenders”.

“We realized that if we tell people to come out in the street, too, the risk of causing violent clashes and everything to degenerate, the risk of blowing up Romania would be very high. This is the reason for which both we and PM Grindeanu thought at political level with all our responsibility, and we took this decision. Based on the known saying that is available not only in Romania – wise man always surrenders” Tariceanu explained.

He criticized the fact that DNA is involved in investigating the manner in which GEO no.13 was adopted.

“PM, together with the Government’s ministers, has the right to decide on political options, and DNA has not he right to investigate it. That’s the problem. It’s an unimaginable abuse of power. Next week, when I’ll have the talks with the ambassadors and with European Parliament’s representatives, I will point this thing out without any restraint. (…) There are forces out of control. DNA should be liable for this, since there is CSM (Superior Council of Magistracy – e.n.) which should notice these things. I see, by the statements it made, that CSM is concerned to become a political player, to indicate what the criminal policy in Romania that the Parliament and the Government should decide is. But it doesn’t see these things, that’s why I say that there is a serious disorder in terms of the functionality of the important institutions” the Senate’s President concluded.

 

PNL’s Turcan: The danger hasn’t completely passed. People should remain vigilant

 

PNL’s acting president Raluca Turcan stated on Saturday, following the Premier’s announcement on the rescinding of the government emergency ordinance (OUG) amending the Criminal Codes, that “the danger hasn’t completely passed” and that people should remain vigilant.

“It’s an important step forward. We believe a series of clarifications would be useful, which would give confidence that Mr. Dragnea, Mr. Grindeanu and Mr. Tariceanu have finally put an end to the attempts to save political protégés. There is the need for public assurances and there is the need to give up all attempts to administer blows to the DNA or to other institutions with responsibilities in the anti-corruption fight. These days we’ve seen PSD’s and ALDE’s natural tendency for abuse, for governing in the interest of a small circle of persons who have political protection. We believe the danger hasn’t completely passed. It would be murderous for Romania to revert to the legal arbitrariness of the 1990s,” Raluca Turcan wrote on Facebook.

She added that “people of good faith” must “remain vigilant.”

“Equality before the law is the strongest element of internal cohesion for democratic states. These days, the people’s message was very clear. Romanians want a European government, they want decisions that are in the interest of the many,” Turcan added.

 

Nicusor Dan says won’t take part in consultations announced by Sorin Grindeanu

 

Save Romania Union (USR) President Nicusor Dan asked on Sunday not just for OUG 13 to be abrogated but also for the bill on the granting of pardons to be withdrawn, announcing that USR will not take part in the consultations announced by Premier Sorin Grindeanu, consultations on the setting of criminal law in line with Constitutional Court (CCR) decisions.

“I believe Mr. Grindeanu is living in a different reality when he says PSD voters support what the Government did,” the USR leader said. He also criticised the Premier for “not admitting his huge mistake and passing the responsibility unto the Justice Minister.”

Likewise, he accused the Premier “of continuing to lie by claiming that the drafts are stemming from CCR decisions.” “They have very, very little to do with what was done through the two draft legislative acts,” Nicusor Dan argued.

He announced he will not take part in the consultations on the amending of the Codes, opining that Premier Grindeanu “has understood absolutely nothing” from what the hundreds of thousands of Romanians demanded in the street.

“I wasn’t contacted and Premier Grindeanu doesn’t have the legitimacy to chair such talks. First of all, he proposed two profoundly immoral and unconstitutional legislative acts. Secondly, legislating is the Parliament’s prerogative, not the Prime Minister’s. We are demanding the rescinding of OUG 13 and the withdrawal from Parliament’s debate of the bill on the granting of pardons. Both drafts are fundamentally flawed and stem from the needs of a group of corrupt people, not from the needs of society,” the MP emphasised.

He announced that if the Government does not send to Parliament the request to have the granting of pardons bill withdrawn, USR will ask on Monday morning, at the Senate’s Standing Bureau meeting, for the legislative act to be urgently rejected by Parliament next week.

The USR President concluded by saying that putting laws in line with CCR decisions should start “from scratch, from the CCR’s text and not from these profoundly flawed texts.”

On Saturday evening, following the Premier’s announcement that the emergency ordinance amending the Criminal Codes will be rescinded, Nicusor Dan said that the Government’s decision represents “a huge victory for the street.”

“It’s a huge victory for the street, one which all politicians will consider from now on. Respect for all those who took to the streets in cities in Romania and abroad. The pressure must continue at least until the urgent rejection of the bill on the granting of pardons, which the Government filed with Parliament. Grindeanu lied this evening too when he said that the draft ordinance was meant to put the Constitutional Court’s decisions in line with the Law,” Nicusor Dan wrote on Facebook.

He claimed that Premier Sorin Grindeanu should “only rescind the OUG and leave.” “With unlimited nerve, Grindeanu offered to discuss with the political parties’ representatives the amending of the Criminal Code, starting off from the current text of the OUG, except for the [RON] 200,000 ceiling. Grindeanu chairing the talks on this topic is out of the question, and the debate starting off from the current text is also out of the question. Grindeanu should only rescind the OUG and leave,” Nicusor Dar wrote.

 

MEP Monica Macovei explains the form of the GEO on the abrogation: Protests until the end of the parliamentary procedures

 

MEP Monica Macovei, former Justice Minister, explains how the GEO abrogating the GEO no. 13 should look, stating that protests must not end before the end of the route in the Parliament for the two normative acts.

“How the new GEO issued by the Grindeanu Government should look. With no legal ambiguities, without deceiving us. Let’s help them make the new GEO exactly as people asked them. The title of the new GEO: GEO abrogating GEO no.13/2017 (totally) and amending certain provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. We refuse titles like: cancellation, revocation, prorogation, etc. We accept only abrogation. The text of the new GEO: Article 1: ‘GEO NO.13/2017 is abrogated’. All of it. This is the only way in which the new GEO prevents the amendments to the Criminal Code to enter into force, which was scheduled for February 9, 2017, and limits the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code in time, until the moment of adopting the new GEO. From the date of adopting the new GEO, the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code are not in force anymore. Obviously, the new GEO must be immediately published in the Official Journal, no later than at February 8, and sent to the Parliament in the same day. Article 2: “The following (listed) articles of the Criminal Procedure Code are amended as follows:…”, and the texts of the articles of the Criminal Procedure Code in force before the GEO no.13/20017, amended by the GEO no.13/2017, will be written. This is necessary because after GEO no.13/2017 will be totally abrogated, the texts from the Criminal Procedure Code that have already entered into force on February 1, 2017, and that are currently part of the Criminal Procedure Code, must be amended by the new GEO” Macovei explained on Facebook.

She underlined that GEO no.13/2017 will be debated and subject to the vote in Parliament, and in order for the will of the hundreds of thousands of people who protest since 5 days to be fulfilled, it must be rejected by both of the Parliament’s Chambers.

“Protests must not end before the rejection of GEO no.13/2017 by the Parliament. In order for us not to be deceived. After the final rejection of the thieves’ ordinance – GEO no.13/2017 -, the new promised GEO will be debated into the Parliament, reduced to the amendments of the Criminal Procedure Code which have already entered into force and which must be amended by the new GEO. This must be the order. Briefly, GEO no.13/2017 must be entirely abrogated also by a GEO and by this Government. Anyway, GEO no.13/2017 will be debated and voted by the Parliament and it must be rejected. The new GEO, if it contains the provisions that I’ve listed before, should be adopted. In the future, any provision amending the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, implementing accurately, ad not deceptively, decisions of CCR (Constitutional Court of Romania – e.n.), will have to be made through bills, subject to real public debates” she concluded.

 

Former CCR judge: Abrogation between the date of the publication in the Official Journal and the date of entry into force is possible

 

Former judge of the Constitutional Curt (CCR) Tudorel Toader stated that normative acts can be abrogated by the issuing authority also in the period from the date of the publication in the Official Journal and the date provided for their entry into force.

He quoted the Art.I item (4), para. (11) of the GEO no.61 since June 3, 2009, amending and supplementing the Law no.24/2000 on the regulations of legislative technique for drafting normative acts, published in the Official Journal of Romania, Part I, no.390 of June 9, 2009, according to which “In duly justified cases, notwithstanding the provisions of the para. (1), normative acts of a special importance and complexity can be amended, supplemented or, where necessary, abrogated by the issuing authority, also in the period between the date of their publication in the Official Journal of Romania, Part I, and the date provided for their entry into force, provided that the interventions proposed will enter into force at the same date with the normative act which is subject of the legislative event”.

He also gave an example: Law no.301/2004 – the Criminal Code, published in the Official Journal of Romania, Part I, no.575 of June 29, 2004, with the subsequent amendments, as well as Law no.294/2004 on executing punishments and measures ordered by the judicial bodies during the criminal trial, published in the Official Journal of Romania, Part I, no.591 of July 1, 2004, with the subsequent amendments, have been abrogated before entering into force, by rt. No.446 of the Law no.286/2009 on the new Criminal Code, published in the Official Journal of Romania no.510 of July 24, 2009.

 

Economy Minister Alexandru Petrescu: OUG 13 was not a mistake. Iohannis should take on his role as mediator

 

Economy Minister Alexandru Petrescu stated on Sunday in Parliament that President Klaus Iohannis should initiate a process of mediation, stating that government emergency ordinance (OUG) no.13 was not a mistake but that things should be better analysed.

“I’m not a ministry that vets this overture, I wouldn’t want to express my opinion on the best option. I believe we must strike the right balance between the anti-corruption fight and the citizens’ rights and this balance is yet to be found,” Alexandru Petrescu stated.

He claimed OUG 13 was not a mistake but things should be better analysed.

“The Government hasn’t done a disservice to itself, it had to put order into all that the Constitutional Court said needed to be rearranged; investments and the economy are somewhat correlated with a fair and balanced judicial framework. Everything has to enter a consensus for the investment field to be attractive,” Petrescu added, being quoted by Mediafax.

Asked what is his message for the business sector, Petrescu said that Romania should be kept on the investment radar.

“Those from the business sector should continue to keep Romania on their investment radar. It’s very important. Romania has proven it can maintain accelerated economic growth, we want to boost the development level this year and in the coming years,” the minister said.

In what concerns Justice Minister Florin Iordache’s resignation, Petrescu stated that it does not help in attaining balance.

“It’s the minister’s unilateral decision and I don’t believe his resignation or the fact that he remains put is the way to reach that balance,” the minister commented on Florin Iordache’s possible resignation.

Petrescu insisted that a return to the negotiations table is needed in order to reach balance and President Klaus Iohannis should take on his role as mediator.

“We must return to the negotiations table. (…) The President must really take on his role as mediator and only then could we hope to move on to the next point in the evolution of the situation of recent days. What is happening now is damaging for the economy. (…) He should be the initiator of the mediation action,” he emphasised.

Petrescu concluded that “the economy takes precedence, investments take precedence, and if we fare poorly here we’ll fare poorly everywhere.”

 

Public Consultation and Social Dialogue Minister: I believe Romanian President could give up electioneering for a day and ask for calm

 

Romania must return to normalcy and President Klaus Iohannis could “give up electioneering for one day and ask for calm,” Public Consultation and Social Dialogue Minister Gabriel Petrea said.

“At this moment, Romania must return to normalcy. We have a good governing platform for which we received the Romanians’ vote and which must be implemented. I believe the Romanian President could give up electioneering for one day and ask for calm. Reconciliation calls for a mediator, not a biased president,” Minister Gabriel Petrea wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday evening.

At the same time, Petrea gave assurances that public debate will be an essential element of governance.

“I continue to be the adept of dialogue and I believe that dialogue must take place legally, constructively, for the proper informing of all. I assure you that public debate will be an essential element of our governance,” Gabriel Petrea added.

 

Minister for the Relation with Parliament, Gratiela Gavrilescu: We choose the legal option to alleviate the situation

 

Minister for the Relation with the Parliament, Gratiela Gavrilescu, stated on Sunday, related to the GEO amending the Criminal Code, that the Government will support “the legal option” to alleviate the situation in the street, stating that if there is a bill, the abrogation of the GEO is the best solution.

“I think that we will support the option that is legal, firstly. We’ll see at 14.00 what the proposal exactly is.  It will be a legal proposal for sure, so that the situation in the street can be alleviated. I also believe that we have much too many things to do from the government program” stated Minister Gavrilescu at the Parliament.

She said that all those who came out in the street will withdraw “tomorrow or a day after tomorrow” and “they will think on how they can raise their children better” and take care of “the whole national system”.

Gavrilescu stated that right after the decision will be taken by the Government, it wil be sent to the Parliament. “It will be sent to the Parliament tomorrow. First to the Senate, then to the Deputies’ Chamber” she said.

Asked if she will support the GEO’s abrogation or prorogation, Gavrilescu said that if there is a bill on abrogating the GEO, then this would be the best solution.

“A discussion will be held. We’ll chose the best option in legal terms. If there is a bill on abrogating this GEO that will be sent to the Parliament, this is the best option” explained the Minister for the Relation with the Parliament.

She refused to answer if Florin Iordache will resign, stating that nothing illegal has been done.

“I cannot answer to you. As long as we can and we were entitled by the Parliament to issue GEOs and GOs, and the Government was entitled to issue normative acts, and since all the Governments did the same, I believe it was a legal thing” Gavrilescu answered.

 

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