This week, the Presidential Palace is expected to give a clear answer in what concerns the Constitutional Court’s decision and on whether the President will issue the decree dismissing Laura Codruta Kovesi. In case the decision is not in line with what the magistrates demanded, this summer could be like the summer of 2012, a Mediafax analysis shows.
Ruling coalition leaders say they have not talked about the potential impeachment of the President in case he does not observe the Court’s decision but mention that they are not ruling out this scenario either.
On May 30, the Constitutional Court established with a majority of votes the existence of a juridical conflict of a constitutional nature between the Justice Minister and the President of Romania, generated by the latter’s refusal to comply with the proposed dismissal from office of the DNA Chief Prosecutor. In the communique that followed, the Court announced what the President must do for the conflict to cease. More precisely, the Court, for the first time, clearly indicated the adoption of a measure: the issuance of a decree dismissing from office National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.
However, the President was in no hurry, announcing that the first measure is to wait for the Court’s substantiation. Considering previous cases, the publication of the substantiation was expected within a month’s time at most. Against a tense political background, the Court’s judges published the 133-page document after seven days, showing Klaus Iohannis where he erred in his relationship with Tudorel Toader. And indicating, once again, that he should issue the dismissal decree.
“I have read the Court’s substantiation. For confusion not to appear in the public space, I said from the get-go that I will read this substantiation until I understand it very well, so we have a bit more reading to do. However, while reading, several issues appeared, prompting me to assess certain overtures in a new light. At this stage, I admit that the substantiation brings to the surface more questions than clarifications, but a subsequent profound study may bring us closer to the truth, we will see,” Klaus Iohannis stated on June 12.
The Head of State also stated holding a referendum at the end of a public debate is not ruled out.
PSD talks about impeachment until President’s “reasonable deadline” expires
The PSD camp’s reaction was not late in coming. The President encourages the non-observance of the laws, the Social Democrats said. In a television interview, Lia Olguta Vasilescu, member of the Dancila Cabinet, settled the issue: if Iohannis does not give an answer within reasonable time, then this is a reason for impeachment.
“Since Louis XIV, I haven’t heard a state leader in the civilised world saying ‘I am the state.’ Nobody has had the courage to say what the President has said today. To come up and say that the deep state does not exist… I can give Mr Klaus Iohannis an example of deep state. (…) I want to tell Mr Klaus Iohannis that one cannot amputate something he doesn’t have,” Lia Olguta Vasilescu said on TVR1.
Less than 24 hours after the Labour Minister’s statement, Paul Stanescu, another important PSD leader, credited as possible the option of impeaching the Head of State if he fails to observe the CCR decision.
PSD Senator Niculae Badalau went even further than that and threatened the filing of a criminal complaint against Klaus Iohannis if he chooses to ignore the Court.
In the context of the public debates, the President is nevertheless certain that it will not come to this.
“Some politicians hurried to talk about impeachment. There will be no impeachment, because there are no grounds for impeachment, and if some Social Democrats talk about impeachment to look more interesting on television, then that’s their problem,” Iohannis said, giving assurances that he will announce the solution within reasonable time.
UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor relied on this “reasonable deadline” too when stating, on Friday, that there are no real reasons for impeachment and that he is convinced that the Head of State will announce his decision in the upcoming period.
All eyes are on the two leaders of the ruling coalition: Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu. Have they set a plan for the impeachment of Klaus Iohannis?
On 16 April 2018, when asked whether things could lead to an impeachment, Liviu Dragnea said: “No. We do not take into consideration, under any form, the idea of impeaching the President of Romania.”
Recently, following the CCR’s decision and substantiation, but also following the reaction from the Presidential Palace, the leader of Social Democrats nuanced his statements, saying that he hopes Iohannis would not commit “the fatal mistake.”
“I’m not a fortune teller and I don’t know what President Iohannis will do. But, if he makes the fatal mistake of not enforcing a CCR decision, this grave infringement of his constitutional prerogatives will not leave us indifferent. (…) We cannot sit idle. (…) We cannot allow a CCR decision to go unenforced and we will use everything we have at our disposal, from a civic standpoint, a legal standpoint, a constitutional standpoint,” Liviu Dragnea stated on June 10.
Asked whether there were talks on impeaching the President, Calin Popescu Tariceanu answered negatively on Friday. “I didn’t hear of such plans and I haven’t had a discussion – whether official or unofficial – with the leaders of PSD, with President Liviu Dragnea.”
From the Opposition, Ludovic Orban forwards a clear date in what concerns the impeachment plan. More precisely, Orban says that Liviu Dragnea’s goal is to link the impeachment of Klaus Iohannis with the day when the court must issue a sentence in the dossier in which he is accused of illegal hiring at the Teleorman County’s Child Protection Directorate.
“There was a meeting in which they discussed, and they took the decision to impeach the President. Of course, they are launching a constitutional nonsense: that they can suspend the President without reaching a referendum. I haven’t heard such craziness. (…) From what I know, Dragnea’s interest is for the procedure to start before the 21st [of June], in order to put extra pressure on the panel of judges set to issue a sentence in his case,” PNL President Ludovic Orban recently stated.
Dismissal wind blowing from Cotroceni, but toward the CCR
In this whole scandal, Constitutional Court Judge Petre Lazaroiu, who voted in favour of the dismissal of Laura Codruta Kovesi, came out on Friday and detonated the entire political scene. Presidential aide Simina Lazarescu contacted him and told him that his dismissal is being discussed, after an NGO asked President Iohannis to do so.