The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected on Monday, with a majority of votes (PSD, ALDE, UDMR), the bill tabled by PNL Senator Alina Gorghiu, which stipulated that persons who received final prison sentences should be barred from running for the office of Romanian President.
According to the bill tabled by Alina Gorghiu in May, “persons who, on the date of lodging their candidacy, suffered final convictions, cannot run [for the office of Romanian President].”
A first argument that the PNL Senator brought in favour of the bill was the Constitutional Court decision which bars persons who were criminally convicted from being members of Government.
“Our country is one of the few European states whose legislation does not include a clear restriction in this sense. In fact, not only countries from the European continent have restrictions concerning the possibility to run for any type of public office following a final conviction, but also states such as Canada, Israel, Australia etc. The lack of legislative coherence in establishing clear, objective and generally valid integrity criteria for holding offices belonging to the three branches of government that are part of a constitutional democracy is obvious, and this can injure the principle of checks and balances,” Gorghiu points out in the substantiation of her legislative initiative.
Nevertheless, the PSD-ALDE-UDMR ruling majority adopted a negative report on the bill. The Senate’s plenum will have a final vote on the bill.
“PSD-ALDE-UDMR decided today within the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a 7-4 vote: criminally convicted persons can run for the office of Romanian President. Apart from me, PNL’s Alina Gorghiu and Iancu Caracota and USR’s George Dirca voted in favour of the PNL initiative barring persons with final prison convictions from running for the office of Romanian President,” PNL Senator Daniel Fenechiu wrote on his personal Facebook page immediately after the vote within the committee.
The Senate is the first House notified in this case. The Lower House will have the final say on the bill.