Lower Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea said on Monday that the reasoning released the other week by the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) for its ruling of February 27 clearly delimits advisability from legality and must be taken in all seriousness, and mayors must be held accountable for the legality of their decisions alone, not for their advisability.
“I want to refer to the reasoning the Constitutional Court released on Friday and which, leaving aside any other aspect, nails down something we’ve been talking about for many years now, specifically it establishes a clear distinction between advisability and legality and it’s not just about ministers, it’s also about the mayors, the rest of local elected officials. And this because too often most of Romania’s public audit institutions – the Court of Auditors, prosecution offices, others – have come to query the mayor as to why he built that road and not the other one, or why he carried out this and not that investment. I think this CCR ruling must be taken in all seriousness. (…) the mayor must be held accountable only as far as legality is concerned, he cannot be controlled as regards advisability,” Dragnea told the General Assembly of Romanian Municipalities.
He said that control instruments are in place for mayors too, and those instruments are the citizens who elected them, the referendum or the elections.
“As long as the Constitution says that the people exercise their sovereignty through structures established through free and fair elections – and, as far as I remember, mayors are the outcome of free and fair elections – which means that they too are part of the Romanian people’s sovereignty. Therefore, any attack on them that oversteps the law is actually an attack on the communities the respective mayors represent,” Dragnea said.
On the other hand, he also explained that each institution must take into account the other institutions’ decisions.
“CCR decision on DNA-Gov’t conflict applicable not only for ministers but also for mayors. I no longer accept mayors being considered presumptive criminals”
Lower Chamber Speaker and Social Democratic Party President Liviu Dragnea stated on Monday, at a meeting of the Association of Romanian Municipalities, that he no longer accepts mayors being considered presumptive criminals, pointing out that Parliament will put the laws in line with the Constitutional Court of Romania’s ruling on government emergency ordinance no.13 (GEO 13).
“And what I, and I believe Mr Tariceanu too, guarantee and what we will be able to do in Parliament has as main objective the unshackling of all energies in the local administration. I no longer accept mayors being considered presumptive criminals. [As if] it’s just a matter of time before they are caught. I believe mayors are honest people, people who have behind them legitimacy and must be helped, stimulated and allowed to develop their communities,” Dragnea said.
He pointed out that the substantiation of the CCR ruling on the DNA-Government conflict in what concerns the adoption of OUG 13 sets a clear delimitation between advisability and legality not just in the ministers’ case but also in the case of mayors and local elected officials.
“I believe that this CCR decision should be seriously taken into consideration, I’m convinced that the Government and the Parliament too… the laws that will have to be modified will be modified, because the mayor should be held accountable solely for legality, he cannot be audited in terms of advisability,” Dragnea said.
He pointed out that “far too often” most Romanian public audit institutions – Court of Accounts, prosecutor’s offices, other institutions – grilled mayors as to why they built this road instead of the other, why they carried out this investment and not the other.
Dragnea pointed out that there are instruments through which mayors can be controlled – namely the referendum and the elections – and pointed out that mayors are part of the people’s sovereignty.
The PSD leader also pointed out, in this sense, that any “attack” on mayors is an attack on communities.
“I’ve asked Sorin Grindeanu to include in the Prevention Law a chapter for local administration”
At the same time, Dragnea also stated that he asked Premier Sorin Grindeanu to include in the Prevention Law a chapter for local administration, so that audit institutions that note dysfunctionalities should not enforce sanctions but should present a conformation plan that local elected officials must take into account.
“In what concerns prevention, we talked a lot about the Prevention Law. I’m asking the Government, the Premier – the law is close to completion – to also introduce a chapter for local administration. Considering how demanded this thing is – for audit institutions to audit a businessman, to draw conclusions without enforcing punitive measures – why can’t the same be done for the local administration?” the PSD President said.
Liviu Dragnea explained that “audit institutions should note the dysfunctionality, should present a conformity plan and during that period the mayor, the County Council chairman, should fall in line [with it].”
Gabriela Firea: New wishing between mayors – “we are happy to be healthy and free” – is not a norm of normality
Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea stated on Monday, at the General Assembly of Municipality Mayors, that the new wishing among mayors is “we are happy to be healthy and free,” which is not “a norm of normality,” considering that local elected officials should be held politically accountable only before those who voted for them.
“I join those who really resist in Romania and resist in an extremely difficult, complex and risky domain. (…) Most of you, surprisingly, despite coming from different parts of the country, were saying the same things, the same aspects: “We are happy to be healthy and free!” This has become the wishing between mayors, which isn’t a norm of normality. The normal thing is for elected officials to be held politically accountable before those who elected them,” Gabriela Firea pointed out.
The Bucharest Mayor also stated that voters want mayors to be professional and honest, “anything beyond that being aspects that no longer have to do with democracy.”