The draft decision on the setting up of the commission of inquiry into the presidential elections of 2009 was sent back to the Judiciary Committees on Wednesday, for them to clarify its objectives, considering that the Prosecutor General’s Office has opened a probe. Lower Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea stated at the joint plenary sitting that sending the draft decision back to the Judiciary Committee does not represent a step back, there being only the need to reformulate its objectives, considering that the Prosecutor General’s Office “copy-pasted them.”
PSD group leader Marcel Ciolacu’s request to have the draft sent back to the Judiciary Committees was approved following a 278-17 vote.
“Considering that the setting up of the special commission of inquiry was forwarded to the Joint Standing Bureau on 20 April 2017, having certain objectives (…), and on April 24 the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Justice issued a communique in which it requested a probe into the suspicion that some public authorities and persons, others than those legally entitled to, got involved in the electoral process of December 2009, I’m asking you to send back to the Joint Judiciary Committees the report on the clarification of the objectives of the commission of inquiry,” Marcel Ciolacu stated at the rostrum.
Dragnea: Commission of inquiry’s objectives must be reformulated; the Prosecutor’s Office copy-pasted them
Lower Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea stated at the joint plenary sitting on Wednesday that sending the draft decision on the setting up of a commission of inquiry back to the Judiciary Committees does not represent a step back, there being only the need to reformulate its objectives, considering that the Prosecutor General’s Office “copy-pasted them.”
“I just want to point something out with the lack of immorality that characterises me. I want to point out that it’s not a step back. Only by taking note of the sudden awakening on the part of the Prosecutor General’s Office, which, eight years after the 2009 elections, has copy-pasted the objectives from the draft decision on the setting up of the commission, it was decided to send this draft back to the committee for the commission’s objectives to be reformulated. The decision to set up this parliamentary commission of inquiry, the political decision stays,” Liviu Dragnea stated.
The PSD leader pointed out that no panel of judges was able to pin electoral fraud on him.
“In what concerns the advice coming from a gentleman who was here at the microphone earlier, advice that this commission should follow… it is taken into account, with one observation: [despite] all pressures exerted on the panels of judges that tried me, not even these panels which issued a political decision in a political case managed to pin electoral fraud on me,” Liviu Dragnea added.
Basescu: PSD must make a complete fool of itself
During the plenary sitting, PMP President Traian Basescu said the parliamentary inquiry into the presidential elections of 2009 must take place because PSD must “make a complete fool of itself.”
“Contrary to the opinions expressed, I’m asking the joint Houses to adopt today the unfolding of this inquiry and the setting up of the commission of inquiry for the 2009 elections. I’ll give you several reasons: PSD must make a complete fool of itself, I believe it would be a good exercise. Maybe this commission will help PSD remember that in 2009 I had a single representative in polling stations and the great political alliance that was backing Mr Geoana had PSD, PNL, UDMR, PC representatives. Maybe you want to explain how one person managed to steal when four thieves were sifting through the ballot papers,” Traian Basescu pointed out.
The PMP Senator also said that the recount of cancelled ballots proved that the PSD-PNL-UDMR-PC alliance stole 3,000 votes from him in the presidential elections of 2009.
“The cancelled ballots were recounted, there were 134,000 cancelled ballots. The recount turned out that the PSD-PNL-UDMR-PC alliance had stolen 3,000 of my votes,” the ex-president emphasised.
In closing, Traian Basescu stated that he proposes that Liviu Dragnea should be “chairman of a commission that should assess electoral fraud.”
In her turn, PNL Interim President Raluca Turcan stated that the Liberals agree with sending the draft decision on the setting up of a commission of inquiry back to the Judiciary Committees.
“What’s politically fair is fair and I believe the fact that today PSD is taking a step back from an initiative meant to take to the space of public debate some settling of political scores precisely from within the PSD. PNL will accept the decision to send it back to the committee in case you won’t vote to reject the setting up of this commission of inquiry. This commission of inquiry is pointless since a criminal probe has been opened. We’re demanding the rejection of the proposal to set up a commission of inquiry. PNL will also vote to have it sent back to the committee,” Raluca Turcan pointed out.
The leader of PNL’s Lower Chamber lawmakers also said that this commission of inquiry would be “set up and chaired by a person who received a final conviction for electoral fraud,” which is “lack of professionalism one could rarely imagine.”
The Joint Judiciary Committees decided on Tuesday to adopt an amendment to the decision on the setting up of a commission of inquiry into the 2009 presidential elections. The amendment eliminated from the sphere of its prerogatives the offences probed by the Prosecutor’s Office in this case, namely abuse of office and the forgery of electoral documents. Lower Chamber Judiciary Committee Chairman Eugen Nicolicea did not want to explain what objectives are thus left for the commission, stating that those interested will be able to read the official communique.
The amendment concerning the commission of inquiry’s objectives was proposed by Lower Chamber Judiciary Committee Chairman Eugen Nicolicea. It was adopted with the votes of PSD, ALDE and UDMR, while PNL and USR voted against it.
The Supreme Court’s Prosecutor’s Office has opened a criminal probe into the presidential elections of 2009 and is investigating abuse of office and the forgery of electoral documents and evidence, the probe starting as a result of Dan Andronic’s public revelations.
Ponta: Turcan is the only profoundly immoral person in this story
Victor Ponta wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that he wants the commission of inquiry to start working as fast as possible, adding that Raluca Turcan is “the only profoundly immoral person in this story,” because she backed Traian Basescu back then and now she is the leader of PNL, party that backed Mircea Geoana in 2009 and that vehemently claimed electoral fraud had occurred.
“Now more than ever, I believe this parliamentary commission of inquiry must be set up as fast as possible! I don’t believe the 2009 elections will be redone, but we can find out more about the involvement, in a democratic electoral competition, of some institutions and persons that do not have the right or the legal prerogatives to get involved – and it’s very important for future presidential elections in Romania to establish this,” Victor Ponta wrote.
He is sceptical that penal responsibilities will be established as a result of the probe, as long as the Prosecutor General is Augustin Lazar, a person who “is making desperate and abusive efforts” to block the truth.
At the same time, he responded to Raluca Turcan’s statements that the postponement of the setting up of the commission of inquiry shows that PSD fears the results of the investigation since Geoana’s failure in the presidential elections was also possible because of the existence of traitors among the Social Democrats.
“The only profoundly immoral person in this story is precisely Raluca Turcan (who seems to have the same number of braincells like Vanghelie) because even though Ms Turcan was a member of PDL and officially backed Traian Basescu in 2009, and is today the head of PNL (how embarrassing), PNL officially backed the candidacy of Mircea Geoana in the runoff in 2009 and the idea that the elections were rigged (Crin Antonescu being the most vehement in this sense)!” Ponta concluded.
Prosecution Service: Statute of limitations for offences investigated in 2009 presidential election case set at eight years
The Prosecution Service with the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation said Wednesday that the statute of limitations for offences investigated in a recently opened 2009 presidential election case is set at eight years under the new Criminal Code.
“We are hereby informing that the statute of limitations for offences which criminal investigation has just started is set at 10 years under Article 122 (b) (c) in the old Criminal Code and at eight years under Article 154 (1)(c) in the new Criminal Code,” the service reported in a press statement released on Wednesday.
On Monday it announced having opened a criminal court case and conducting in rem investigations into allegations of abuse of office as criminalised under Article 297 para. 1, in application of Article 5 in the Criminal Code and forgery of electoral documents and recordings related to the December 2009 presidential election as criminalised under Article 391 para. 3 and 4 in the Criminal Code in application of Article 5 in the new Criminal Code (former Article 62 para. 3 and 4 in Law 370/2004 concerning the election of Romania’s president, as subsequently supplemented and recast).
“We are also informing that in accordance with Constitutional Court Ruling 265/2014, published in the Official Journal no. 372 of May 20, 2014 the provisions of Article 5 on the new Criminal Code (application of the more favourable law) are constitutional to the extent that they do not allow commingling provisions from successive laws in establishing and applying the more favourable criminal law,”, the service explained.
The case was opened based on public revelations by journalist Dan Andronic.
Journalist Dan Andronic has recently written that in the round-off presidential election of 2009, high ranking officials of Romania, including George Maior, Florian Coldea and Laura Codruta Kovesi, went to Gabriel Oprea’s house. He argued that Kovesi and Colde were invested in Traian Basescu winning the election.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea responded that the meeting at his home was just a dinner where invited were George Maior, Vasile Dincu, Anghel Iordanescu, Dan Andronic and Neculai Ontanu. He also avoided multiple times to say whether or not former senior intelligence officer Florian Coldea and then attorney general Laura Codruta Kovesi were also in attendance.