On Thursday, President Klaus Iohannis lodged with the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) a notification of unconstitutionality on the law that stipulates that the Official Journal is to be taken from under the authority of the Government and placed under the authority of the Lower House, a law adopted by Parliament.
“The systematic analysis of the provisions included in the criticised law outlines that placing the Official Journal under the authority of the Lower House is declarative, no provision in this law stipulating that the Lower House has prerogatives regarding the way this authority is exercised. In reality, the authority over the Official Journal is exercised either by the Secretary General of the Lower House, or by its standing bureau. Thus, according to Article 1, Section (9), of the law (Art.20(1) of law no.202/1998), the Standing Bureau of the Lower House has the prerogative to establish the tariffs for the publication of documents in the Official Journal of Romania, tariffs that represent an element pertaining to the functioning of the Official Journal, activity over which the Lower House exercises no kind of control,” reads a press release that the Presidency remitted to MEDIAFAX.
In the notification addressed to CCR President Valer Dorneanu, the Head of State claims that the way the law was modified does not clarify the rapports between the Official Journal and the Lower House.
“According to Art.2 of the criticised law, the Secretary General of the Lower House has the competence to appoint the board of directors, a board in which he appoints his own representative. When it comes to establishing the membership of the board of directors, once again, the Lower House has no right to decide. The unclarity of the rapports between the tutorial public authority and the Official Journal is also visible in the provisions of Article 3, Section (1), of the challenged law, which stipulates that the organisation and functioning of the Official Journal is approved via Government decision within a period of 7 days starting on the date the present law comes into force. Based on the normative content of the mentioned legal provisions amending and supplementing law no.202/1998 on the Official Journal, they are antinomic, an aspect liable to break the constitutional requirements concerning the clarity and predictability of the norm, stipulated under Article 1, Section (5), of the Constitution. Under the aspect of the unconstitutionality of the provisions regulating the rapports between the Lower House and the Official Journal, the criticised law is also unclear in what concerns the situation of the mandates of the current members of the board, which is placed under the sign of juridical uncertainty which, likewise, contravenes Article 1, Section (5), of the Constitution,” according to the aforementioned source.
On April 11, House lawmakers approved a bill placing the Official Journal under the authority of the Lower House, after the Victor Ponta Government had decided, back in 2012, to place the Official Journal under the authority of the Secretary General of the Government. The House had the final say on the matter.
On January 22, President Klaus Iohannis asked Parliament to re-examine the law, after the law was adopted by the House on 22 December 2017.
In June 2012, the Government led by Victor Ponta adopted an emergency ordinance which took the Official Journal from under the authority of the Lower House and placed it under the authority of the Government’s General Secretariat.