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February 27, 2021
POLITICS

Cttee of inquiry into 2009 elections presents its conclusions

Three key characters did not take part in the marathon hearings: Laura Codruta Kovesi, Florian Coldea and Gabriel Oprea

 

The conclusions of the special parliamentary committee of inquiry into aspects related to the way the 2009 presidential elections were organised will be presented on Monday, in a press conference, by committee chairwoman and House lawmaker Oana Florea (PSD), Mediafax informs.

The committee was set up after PSD and ALDE demanded, in April 2017, a parliamentary inquiry into the aspects pertaining to the way the presidential elections were organised in 2009, and also the result of the elections, following journalist Dan Andronic’s revelations regarding the night of the elections and persons close to then-President Traian Basescu.

Andronic published an article in which he claimed that on the night of the presidential runoff he went, in his capacity as political consultant, to the home of Gabriel Oprea. There, he found Florian Coldea, First Deputy Director of the SRI at the time, and Laura Codruta Kovesi, Prosecutor General at the time.

Dan Andronic wrote that, on the night of the elections, Florian Coldea and Codruta Kovesi were preoccupied with Traian Basescu’s victory.

The joint committee had a bad start, the report on its setting up being returned to the committees because of the “interference” of the Prosecutor General’s Office, which demanded the start of an ‘in rem’ investigation.

Thus, on 20 April 2017, the bill on the setting up of the special inquiry committee was forwarded to the Speakers of the two Chambers of Parliament. It contained 17 objectives, including determining the potential involvement in the 2009 elections of institutions or persons other than those legally entitled.

On April 24, the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (PICCJ) demanded the start of an ‘in rem’ investigation into the existence of suspicions regarding the 2009 elections, and into the involvement of public authorities and/or persons other than those legally entitled.

The report was sent to the joint judiciary committees, which “clarified” the objectives of the inquiry committee.

Consequently, the parliamentary majority modified the Regulations of the Lower House, introducing the stipulation that the persons called before committees of inquiry must mandatorily show up. The political efforts that PSD-ALDE made in order for this committee to be set up were visible, intuition showing that the political interest was to bring Kovesi, Coldea and Maior before the committee.

On the other hand, the committee only heard one of the protagonists of the presidential runoff of 2009, namely Mircea Geoana. Traian Basescu was not invited to the hearings.

Nevertheless, Traian Basescu bantered the committee from the side lines. “PSD had to make a fool of themselves to the end. If they officially declare Geoana president, I have the right to run for office once again,” Basescu bantered the PSD overture.

Of the four persons named by Dan Andronic, only George Maior came before the committee, and admitted being present at Gabriel Oprea’s on the evening of the elections, where he took part in “a private event,” pointing out he is friends with Oprea.

Unlike Maior, Coldea, Kovesi and Oprea used letters to interact with the members of the committee. Thus, Florian Coldea, former First Deputy Director of the SRI, sent a letter to the committee, pointing out that on 6 December 2009, but also prior to and after that date, he “occasionally” had “activities of a private nature.”

Kovesi repeatedly refused to take part in the hearings, even though the committee issued successive invitations. However, Kovesi sent the committee several letters, pointing out she will not take part in the hearings, arguing that prosecutors cannot be subpoenaed and obligated to go before parliamentary committees as witnesses, or that she has no knowledge of aspects that would help in finding out the truth in relation to the committee’s stated objective.

Gabriel Oprea did not go before the committee either. He sent the committee a letter in which he asked the members of the committee to ask for the competent judicial body’s approval in view of him being heard in Parliament, bearing in mind that he had been heard at the PICCJ, as witness, in the same case, in a dossier in which an ‘in rem’ investigation had been ordered.

The committee asked the Prosecutor General’s Office for the copy of the dossier that concerns the 2009 elections. However, the Prosecutor General’s Office announced it cannot provide the committee with the copy of the dossier because the law does not allow it to offer information that constitutes the object of a criminal investigation.

In reply, the committee asked the Justice Ministry to notify the Judicial Inspection about the “attitude” shown by Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar. Toader pointed out he would talk to Augustin Lazar and would notify the Judicial Inspection depending on Lazar’s answers. Such a discussion, involving Toader, Lazar and also the members of the committee, no longer took place.

Because of Lazar’s refusal, the committee decided to ask House Speaker Liviu Dragnea and Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu to take the political decision of notifying the Constitutional Court about a juridical conflict of a constitutional nature between Parliament and the Public Ministry.

Some persons’ refusal to show up for hearings, but also some institutions’ refusal to provide the committee with copies of documents, prompted the committee members to draft a series of proposed modifications to the legislation in force, in order to strengthen the prerogatives of future committees of inquiry.

On September 5, the committee published a partial report whose conclusions include the fact that then-President Traian Basescu and the Boc Government carried out “concrete actions in order to favour the defrauding of the elections,” the setting up of a crime ring, forgery and use of forgery being indicated as potential crimes.

“The committee has noted concrete actions on the part of the presidential institution, represented by Traian Basescu, and of the Government led by Emil Boc, meant to favour the defrauding of the elections, to the advantage of candidate Traian Basescu. These actions on the part of the two institutions were perfectly synchronised, thus proving they were part of an ample and well-prepared plan, the actions being premeditated. In carrying out the plan to defraud the presidential elections, the representatives of the two institutions acted in force, with bad faith, in complete contempt toward the law,” the partial report reads.

The scale of the actions for which the ex-President and the members of the then-PDL Government are blamed was liable to change the result of the elections, the committee’s report points out among other things.

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