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February 1, 2023

Reactions to President Iohannis’s refusal to remove Kovesi from office

PNL, after Iohannis rejects JusMin’s request to dismiss Kovesi: In a normal country, the natural gesture for the JusMin would have been to tender his resignation


The National Liberal Party (PNL) supports President Klaus Iohannis’s decision to refuse the dismissal of DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, dismissal proposed by the Justice Minister but not endorsed by the Supreme Magistracy Council, and considers that in this situation the natural gesture would be for Justice Minister Tudorel Toader to resign.

“As a result of this decision, which represents the exclusive prerogative of the Romanian President, which cannot be censored, in line with the law in force, in a normal country the natural gesture for the Justice Minister would have been to tender his resignation,” the Liberals consider, adding: “Nevertheless, Tudorel Toader insists on posing as the advocate of those at odds with the law, of the PSD-ALDE leaders, announcing, on their behalf, the notification of the Constitutional Court.”

PNL considers that the Justice Minister cannot notify the Constitutional Court, only the Prime Minister and the Speakers of the two Chambers of Parliament being able to resort to such an overture.

“Moreover, the overture that Tudorel Toader announced has no juridical basis, because the Romanian President acted strictly within the limits of the law, and this is the conclusion drawn precisely from the current regulation that establishes the consultative character that the CSM endorsement has for the President. If the Romanian President were obligated to validate the Justice Minister’s proposal, the CSM’s endorsement would not have made sense,” the PNL argues.

The Liberals state that the entire substantiation of Tudorel Toader’s proposal to have the DNA Chief Prosecutor dismissed was abolished by the CSM, the constitutional guarantor of the independence of the judiciary.


Barna: There was no doubt Iohannis would reject proposal to dismiss Kovesi


Save Romania Union (USR) considers that there was no doubt that President Klaus Iohannis would reject the request to dismiss Laura Codruta Kovesi from the helm of the DNA, especially since Minister Tudorel Toader’s report was “full of mistakes.”

Save Romania Union salutes President Klaus Iohannis’s decision to reject the proposal to dismiss DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.

“There was no doubt President Klaus Iohannis would reject Minister Tudorel Toader’s proposal, relying both on the report and the explanations of CSM specialists and on the DNA’s proven results in the fight against corruption ever since Laura Codruta Kovesi took over the institution. It’s the correct and natural decision, especially against the backdrop of the assault on the judiciary that the PSD-ALDE coalition has launched in the last year and a half,” USR President Dan Barna points out in a press release.

According to the aforementioned source, Minister Tudorel Toader’s proposal was based on a report full of mistakes, one that DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi dismantled through the use of solid arguments during the confrontation at the CSM. The report was a political urgency in the context of the groundless promotion of the amendments to the judicial laws.

“We didn’t expect PSD-ALDE leaders to give up their plan to decapitate the DNA after this decision on the part of the President. The puppet Justice Minister already had the party’s order to notify the Constitutional Court. In the USR’s opinion, it is inadmissible for the Government to become a political instrument in the anticorruption fight, instead of solving the Romanians’ real problems,” the USR leader commented.


Tudorel Toader after Zegrean said he can’t notify CCR: “We’ll notify CCR” is not the same with “I’ll notify CCR”


After former Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) President Augustin Zegrean said that the Justice Minister cannot notify the CCR, Tudorel Toader pointed out that what he said was that “we will notify the CCR,” which is not the same with “I will notify the CCR.”

“For those who believe they know, or should know, the book of constitutionality: ‘We will notify the CCR’ is not equivalent to ‘I will notify the CCR’!” Toader wrote on Facebook.

After President Klaus Iohannis rejected the Justice Minister’s proposal to dismiss DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, Toader wrote: “We will notify the Constitutional Court about the President’s refusal to dismiss the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA!”

In response, former CCR President Augustin Zegrean said that the Head of State was not obligated to comply with the Justice Minister’s request to dismiss the DNA Chief Prosecutor and that Minister Tudorel Toader has nothing to challenge at the CCR, there being no document, nor could he issue a challenge, since the Government is the only one empowered to do so.

Referring to the Justice Minister’s announcement that the Constitutional Court will be notified, Tudorel Toader’s former boss and colleague within the CCR said that “the Justice Minister cannot request this, only the Government can, but even so it’s pretty unclear what you’re supposed to notify the CCR about since there is no resolution.”

“To challenge what, a refusal?” Zegrean commented.

According to the law, the Constitutional Court solves juridical conflicts of a constitutional nature between public authorities, at the request lodged with it by the Romanian President, by one of the Speakers of the two Chambers, by the Prime Minister or by the President of the Supreme Magistracy Council.


Ex-JusMin Cazanciuc: Iohannis will answer before voters


Former Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc stated on Tuesday that President Klaus Iohannis will answer directly before voters for his decision not to dismiss DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi. Cazanciuc claims the issue of impeaching Iohannis was not raised.

“The President will answer before voters for this decision. It’s a political decision on a proposal well-substantiated by the Justice Minister, I believe. The fact that the President had a different opinion is his responsibility, but the minister argued this request pretty well. As you have seen, subsequent events strengthened the Justice Minister’s arguments. It’s a pending procedure. Mr Toader announced he will challenge this decision at the CCR. Here we enter the juridical field where things are more complicated. Currently we have a law that speaks about a certain procedure, but we also have CCR decisions that show how the text of the law must be interpreted in the spirit of the Constitution. From this standpoint, at this moment the Romanian President has a formal rather than a decisional role,” the PSD Senator stated at the Palace of Parliament.

Asked whether there is an intention to impeach the President provided the CCR judges rule in favour of the Government, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said: “The issue of impeaching the Romanian President was never raised.”

Asked who should lodge the notification – the Government or the Speakers of Parliament –, Cazanciuc answered: “The actors who can do this are established by the Constitution: the Government, the Speakers of the two Chambers, the CSM. These are institutions that can lodge this notification. The Justice Minister will explain pretty well the announcement made yesterday, why this is a conflict of a constitutional nature. Any of the holders can do this (challenge the President’s decision at the CCR – editor’s note). The Government has the advantage of having the Justice Ministry in its structure, of having the most appropriate person to assess the letter and the spirit of the law.”


Basescu: Maintaining Kovesi in office has political arguments and national interest arguments


Ex-President Traian Basescu, leader of the Popular Movement Party (PMP), considers that the Head of State’s decision to keep the DNA Chief Prosecutor in office has “political and national interest arguments” linked, among other things, also to the fact that Romania is still under the Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification (MCV).

“He gave arguments related to Tudorel Toader’s report. The arguments are entirely different. Keeping [the DNA Chief Prosecutor] in office was based on political and national interest arguments, certainly not on the – more or less credible – report of Tudorel Toader,” Traian Basescu stated for B1TV on Monday.

Asked what the mentioned “political arguments” are, the PMP President said: “Foreign affairs.”

“At this moment, the real image in all chancelleries, and [French] President Macron confirmed it too by stating President Iohannis does not allow the country to fall in the hands of the corrupt. (…) So, let me explain to you once again why he couldn’t replace her. Because, at this moment, in all Western chancelleries, Mrs Kovesi is the image of the anticorruption fight. Accurate or not, that’s the image,” Basescu stated.

Asked whether in a country such as Romania, a sovereign EU member state, it is the business of foreign chancelleries who the chief of a judiciary authority is, the PMP President said: “As long as we have the MCV, the answer is yes.”

“The MCV is a system of oversight, in partnership, of what is happening in the Romanian judiciary, national oversight and oversight from Brussels,” Basescu added.

Regarding the possibility that in taking the decision Iohannis also made a “political calculus” in view of next year’s presidential elections, the PMP President said: “This too is an element, a domestic political calculus, but I want us to understand very well, I don’t condemn President Iohannis for the decision he took, because given the lobby that Mrs Kovesi has, had he replaced her the label put on Romania would have been: the corrupt have won, the President, alongside the corrupt, sacks the great anticorruption fighter.”

Basescu also claimed that President Iohannis “emerges a winner both on the international plane, and he also satisfied his hardcore electorate, the ones from #Resist.”

The leader of PMP also commented on Justice Minister Tudorel Toader’s announcement regarding the decision to lodge with the CCR a challenge against the President’s decision in the Kovesi case.

“What is the document he challenges, the written document? Iohannis hasn’t issued any written document, he simply made a public announcement. (…) The President told him ‘no,’ and he was nice about it, because he could have not given an answer for the rest of his term, he didn’t have to meet a deadline, he could have given the answer during his next term,” Basescu added.


Kelemen Hunor: Iohannis’s decision on Kovesi, absolutely predictable


President Klaus Iohannis’s decision to refuse the dismissal of DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi did not surprise anyone, the leader of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) told RFI. He added that there are far more serious things out there, for instance the protocols concluded with the SRI, protocols that, in his opinion, are unconstitutional, claiming that all branches of the judiciary were placed under the authority of a different power, of a different institution, and we can no longer talk about the independence of the judiciary.

Kelemen Hunor believes that President Klaus Iohannis’s decision to reject the Justice Minister’s request to dismiss the DNA Chief Prosecutor was predictable: “An absolutely predictable decision. I knew. I believe nobody was surprised by the President’s decision, because the President said some time ago, before the Minister’s request arrived on the President’s table, he said he is satisfied with Mrs Kovesi’s work and sees no reason to dismiss her before her term in office expires.”


“Protocols with SRI are far graver. All branches of the judiciary were put under a different power, we can no longer talk about the independence of the judiciary”


In the UDMR President’s opinion, the debate should focus on the judicial institutions’ protocols with the SRI, protocols that are unconstitutional in his opinion.

“There are far graver things in this country. If we are talking about the judiciary and the independence of the judiciary and about these aspects, it would be very good to talk, and it would be very important to clarify things. There were many protocols, all segments of the judiciary signed protocols. (…) Firstly, I believe we must talk very honestly and very openly about what happened and why it happened. After that, we must modify the laws, the legislation. It must be very clear that such protocols cannot be concluded, work under such protocols cannot take place. After that… who erred and where; I believe an inquiry would be good here, but I don’t want to go further, because I don’t want there to be the perception that I know while others don’t, or that there are some people who know what the consequences should be. But, at any rate, what they did exceeds the Constitution, the constitutional principles, and the separation of powers principle,” Kelemen said.

Asked whether the SRI protocols are unconstitutional, Kelemen Hunor said: “Absolutely. All branches of the judiciary were put under a different power, under a different institution. We can no longer talk about the independence of the judiciary. Let’s accept that at the Prosecutor’s Office there is the need for some collaboration – but there isn’t –, but what about the judges, what about the High Court of Cassation, what about the CSM?”


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