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January 18, 2022

Constitutional Court defers again, for one week, ruling on law that prevents persons with criminal convictions from becoming members of Gov’t

The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) has postponed again, for May 4, its ruling on law no.90/2001 which does not allow persons who received criminal convictions to become members of Government, CCR sources told News.ro. This is the fourth time the ruling has been deferred.

According to the sources, this time the ruling was deferred because the Court’s plenum was not legally constituted to issue a ruling.

The Constitutional Court previously debated, on March 7, March 21 and April 4, the Ombudsman’s notification concerning law no.90/2001 which does not allow persons who were criminally convicted to become members of Government. The notification was lodged in early January by Victor Ciorbea, the day after the Grindeanu Government was sworn in at the Cotroceni Palace.

“It was postponed for April 4, because we were unable to reach a solution. More study is needed. Several solutions have been forwarded so far, none of which obtained a decisional majority, and so now we’ve pretty much closed in on two options on which we could possibly reach a conclusion. It’s the most difficult solution we’ve had to issue so far, because the problems are particularly problems of political assessment,” CCR President Valer Dorneanu stated after the March 21 meeting.

The CCR President stated that “very many” legal issues were raised, concerning both advisability and admissibility, the issue being “delicate.”

“We are not necessarily guided by media pressure, nor by political pressure, because that one exists all the time. In fact, they both do. Firstly, we want to be at peace with our conscience and to have the conviction that the solution we issue corresponds to the exact interpretation of the Constitution and of the lawmaker’s intention, to the extent it is in line with constitutional principles,” he added.

Following these statements, CCR judges asked Valer Dorneanu to no longer make statements before the press because he damages the Constitutional Court’s image, all decisions set to be announced through press releases.

In early March, CCR sources informed that the case concerning law no.90/2001, which does not allow persons who were criminally convicted to become members of Government, is similar to the unconstitutionality exception raised against the Bar’s law, which does not allow lawyers who were criminally convicted to exercise their profession and which was ruled constitutional by the CCR on April 4.

On January 5, Victor Ciorbea stated for News.ro that he sent to the Constitutional Court a notification regarding law no.90/2001, which stipulates that persons who received criminal convictions and do not find themselves in a case of incompatibility cannot be members of Government.

The Constitutional Court was notified about Article 2 of law no.90/2001. The article reads: “Can become members of Government persons who hold solely the Romanian citizenship and who reside in Romania, who enjoy the exercise of their electoral rights, who did not receive criminal convictions and do not find themselves in one of the incompatibility cases listed under Article 4, Paragraph 1.”

The Ombudsman pointed out at the time that “the provisions of Article 2 of Law no.90/2001 break the principle of the separation of powers, fail to meet the constitutional requirements of predictability and proportionality of the law and do not allow the recognition of the right to difference for holding – in conditions of equality and without unreasonable restrictions – an office that entails the exercise of state authority.”


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