Presidential aide Simina Tanasescu, who had a discussion with Constitutional Court (CCR) Judge Petre Lazaroiu about his term in office, has resigned. The Presidency states there was no pressure, but the public opinion should harbour no kind of suspicion.
“In recent days, public speculations have appeared regarding the alleged pressuring of a Constitutional Court judge, as a result of a discussion that Ms Elena-Simina Tanasescu had with Mr Petre Lazaroiu. The Presidential Administration reiterates that there were no kind of pressures and the accusations levelled in this sense are completely false. However, bearing in mind that it is inadmissible for the public opinion to have any suspicion that an attempt to interfere with the activity of the Constitutional Court would have been possible, in order not to harm the institution of the President of Romania, Ms Elena-Simina Tanasescu tendered her resignation from the office of presidential aide today, June 20,” reads a Presidential Administration communique.
Constitutional judge Petre Lazaroiu recounted on Sunday evening the details of his meeting with presidential aide Simina Tanasescu, claiming that he told her that he voted for President Klaus Iohannis, that he never voted for PSD, but that it is unacceptable for the President to state that the Constitutional Court’s decision is taken based on what the ruling coalition says, pointing out that the Court’s mission is to defend the Constitution. He claimed that he informed his colleagues about it, the latter suggesting that he go public with the meeting, and that the judges mulled notifying the Venice Commission that very day but then decided to postpone it for Monday.
Constitutional Court Judge Petre Lazaroiu stated last Friday that he met presidential aide Simina Tanasescu, the latter informing him that the VeDem Just foundation has asked the President to issue a decree dismissing him from office.
Lazaroiu said that his mandate is perfectly legal and “generating pressure is badly sought.” Subsequently, the constitutional court judge told G4Media that Simina Tanasescu did not ask him to resign, nor did he feel pressured by her.
The Presidential Administration pointed out for DCNews that Simina Tanasescu is on leave and she met Petre Lazaroiu at the Law Faculty, the two engaging in a purely theoretical discussion on the request filed by the VeDem Just civic association, a technical discussion between two constitutional law professionals that did not involve in any way the institution of the Romanian President.
President Klaus Iohannis stated on Tuesday that the Presidential Palace is putting no pressure on judge Petre Lazaroiu, and the latter’s talk with presidential aide Simina Tanasescu was a theoretical discussion between two specialists but the whole issue was distorted out of purely political reasons, adding that he does not know why judge Lazaroiu entered this game.
“I know there was a discussion, I know a communique was issued, containing everything that had to be said, because I read it before it was released. There was a discussion, but I was very surprised how some interpreted this discussion as pressure allegedly coming from Cotroceni. There is no pressure and I’m not putting any pressure on some judge. It would be fundamentally wrong, and I know what Ms Tanasescu discussed, absolutely no pressure,” President Iohannis said.
He mentioned that he found it natural for Petre Lazaroiu to know about the notification lodged with the Presidential Palace.
“Ms Tanasescu told me there is a notification from some NGO and [asked] if I allow her to also inform Mr Lazaroiu that this request exists – it’s public, it’s registered with us. I thought it is fair for the person concerned to at least know [about it], without this issue being interpreted as pressure or an inappropriate overture. The whole issue was distorted out of purely political reasons. I don’t know why judge Lazaroiu entered this game,” the Head of State added.
“It was a theoretical discussion between two specialists, I haven’t decided absolutely anything on this issue and when I do you will find out through public communique,” the President added.
Constitutional Court Judge Petre Lazaroiu stated on Tuesday, after President Klaus Iohannis said that the issue of the pressuring of CCR Judge Petre Lazaroiu was distorted for political purposes, that he does not enter such games.
“I notice, from what the President stated, that it is confirmed that he has a complaint from an association, but that he did not think of issuing a decree. And the President also said that he did not think of such thing, but that it is good to tell the judge concerned, the person concerned, whether there is something there or not. Well, if we recall the whole story, we see from the start that first time it was said there was a discussion between two professionals. After that, it was said that certain topics were discussed, but there was certainly no discussion on this topic. Then, Ms Tanasescu came out and said she no longer comments, ‘the Presidential Administration has no connection with what I did.’ And now the President comes and says ‘yes, I knew.’ So, he denied all the time that there is a request, that we have a request, but ‘I didn’t decide to issue a decree.’ If we add it all up, then think what this is about pretty much. (…) I don’t do politics, I didn’t, and I don’t enter political games. I noticed the danger for the Court,” Petre Lazaroiu told Antena3.
Constitutional Court officially informs it has notified Venice Commission
The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) has notified the General Secretariat of the Council of Europe and the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) about a new overture directed against the CCR, namely the scandal that erupted in the case of judge Petre Lazaroiu.
“The plenum of the Constitutional Court of Romania, convened on 19 June 2018, decided, with a majority of votes, to notify the General Secretariat of the Council of Europe and the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) about a new overture directed against the Constitutional Court, which concerns, concretely, a certain situation that is liable to create pressure in what concerns the mandate of judge Petre Lazaroiu, but which seeks, first of all, to delegitimise the decisions pronounced by the current membership of the Constitutional Court. The text of the letter has been sent today to the aforementioned international bodies,” the CCR informs.
Petre Lazaroiu announced on Sunday evening that the Constitutional Court plans to notify the Venice Commission early this week.
Senate Speaker on presidential aide Simina Tanasescu’s resignation: It’s welcome. Her statements were unconvincing
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated on Wednesday that the resignation of presidential aide Simina Tanasescu is “welcome,” adding that her statements, made after her meeting with CCR Judge Petre Lazaroiu, were “unconvincing.”
“It’s very welcome. Yesterday I said that her resignation or the President’s gesture of sacking her is needed, considering the statements she made – unconvincing – and the statements of the CCR judge, something that, for me, signifies a very grave situation, namely direct pressure put on the members of the CCR in connection with the decisions they took, which is obviously unacceptable,” Tariceanu stated in Parliament.