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December 4, 2022

PSD: CCR decisions are not open to debate. President Iohannis’s irresponsible statements undermine the Constitutional Court’s authority

The Social Democratic Party (PSD) claims that the statements that President Klaus Iohannis made on Tuesday are “irresponsible” and undermine the authority of the Constitutional Court. The Social Democrats tell the Head of State, in a press release, that “the CCR decisions are not open to debate.”

“The Social Democratic party considers that President Klaus Iohannis’s recent statements concerning the Constitutional Court Decision on solving the conflict between the President and the Justice Minister represent a very grave attack on the Romanian constitutional order. President Iohannis’s intention to put the decision of the Constitutional Court up for discussion, in a public debate, represents an act of aggression against an institution that is fundamental for the Romanian democratic system. The Constitutional Court’s decisions are final and mandatory – they are executed, not open to debate! In President Iohannis’s logic, any Romanian court decision would be open to debate, instead of being immediately executed,” the PSD communique reads.

The Social Democrats emphasise that, even more so, the Constitutional Court is the only institution able to establish the correct interpretation of the Constitution.

“Nobody else, not the President nor another state authority, and not even civil society, has the right to substitute the CCR’s authority to issue verdicts regarding the observance of the Romanian Constitution. Consequently, President Iohannis’s statements are the equivalent of an encouragement to insubordination before Romanian laws and courts. Based on President Iohannis’s example, any citizen can delay as they please the enforcement of a legal obligation, of a fine or of a sentence, arguing that they want to better understand the substantiation of those who issued the decision,” the party led by Liviu Dragnea claims.

PSD says that it is inadmissible for President Iohannis to insinuate that the CCR decision puts into doubt the independence of prosecutors.

“The CCR substantiation explicitly points out: ‘The Justice Minister’s oversight consists of the verification of managerial efficiency, of the way prosecutors carry out their duties. (…) The oversight cannot concern the measures ordered by the prosecutor during the criminal prosecution, nor the criminal solutions.” Nobody – not the Constitutional Court, nor the parliamentary majority, nor the Justice Minister, nor anyone else – questioned, not even for a moment, the independence of prosecutors in the handling of cases. In fact, even the new judicial laws, adopted with the vote of the PSD+ALDE majority, explicitly guarantee the independence of prosecutors in handling the cases. The amendment brought to Law no.303 on the statute of magistrates, Article 3, Section 1: “Prosecutors are independent in the disposing of solutions, in the conditions stipulated by Law no.304/2004 on the judicial system, republished, with subsequent modifications and supplementations.” Hence, the President’s suggestion that someone would want to interfere with the independence of prosecutors is a deliberate action to disinform the Romanian public opinion, which is unqualifiable considering the office of President of the Republic,” the PSD adds.

In the Social Democrats’ opinion, “President Iohannis’s statement that PSD or CCR seeks ‘the amputation of his prerogatives’ falls under the same registry of disinformation and misinformation of Romanian citizens.” “You cannot amputate something that does not exist. The Romanian Constitution does not give the Romanian President any role in the dismissal from office of Chief Prosecutors. Hence, it is a lie that his constitutional prerogatives were allegedly diminished through a PSD overture or through the CCR decisions,” the PSD states.

The party led by Liviu Dragnea also explains that the CCR recognises the President’s role in verifying the legality of the procedure to dismiss a Chief Prosecutor. “On the other hand, the CCR eliminates the President’s whimsical refusal of a dismissal request. If a Chief Prosecutor infringes upon the legal terms of his office, then he/she must be dismissed from office, because that is the law! President Iohannis’s whim cannot be above the law! That is why he cannot refuse a legal dismissal request! So only President Iohannis’s whim is amputated, his constitutional prerogatives are certainly not,” the source adds.

At the same time, PSD condemns President Iohannis’s sarcastic statements regarding the deep state, which, in his view, is just “a story.”

“The secret protocols through which the judiciary was subordinated to the intelligence services are a fact, not a story. Prosecutor Lucian Onea and Mircea ‘Orange’ Negulescu’s abuses, which are now being criminally probed, are a fact, not a story! Some courts’ decisions to reject DNA dossiers due to the fabrication of evidence or the distorting of interpretations are not a story, but a very concrete fact. The acquittals in the big political dossiers, opened based on the political agenda of those elected, also represent a fact, not a story. Mr Iohannis’s political short-sightedness in what concerns all these grave abuses seriously puts into doubt his decision-making autonomy, especially against the backdrop in which the DNA has confirmed the start of the criminal prosecution in a dossier that directly concerns the President of Romania. Last but not least, the PSD emphasises that in other recommendations addressed to Romania, the Venice Commission clearly pointed out that, even though political decisionmakers are free to be critical of CCR decisions, they have the obligation to point out that they will observe them, even if they disagree with them – a fundamental rule for the constitutional order of a democratic state, a rule that Iohannis trampled on immediately after meeting the representatives of the Venice Commission,” the press release reads.

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