POLITICS

Government notifies CCR on appointment of ministers of Transport and Regional Development. CCR to issue opinion by 13 December on Gov’t’s notification regarding President’s defer to appoint new ministers, President on Gov’t reshuffle: Issue is political, not constitutional, therefore is out of Constitutional Court’s hands

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila announced on Friday that the Government has notified the Constitutional Court of Romania about the fact that President Klaus Iohannis has not made a decision regarding the appointment of the new ministers of Transport (Mircea Draghici) and Regional Development (Lia Olguta Vasilescu).

In the opening of the Gov’t sitting, PM Dancila talked about the recent discussions the members of the Government recently had in Brussels with the European officials.

“”Romania is ready to face its responsibilities and the recognition of this fact could only make us glad, given some criticisms in the public space in the last period. The European partners noted after these discussions that each minister in part masters the files on the table, that there is total involvement from each ministry, and the discussions we have had within the College of Commissioners, on the challenges at European level, have shown that we are dealing with these issues, that we have an ambitious, realistic approach and at the same time we want the Presidency of Romania to the Council of the European Union be successful,” premier Viorica Dancila stated.

The prime minister added that “the only uncertain situation we have at this moment is the one created by President Klaus Iohannis by his blocking the appointment of ministers in two important fields.”

“I am referring to Regional Development and Public Administration and to the Ministry of Transport. I think that it is not the political game that should dictate during this period, I think Romania’s interest is important. We wish to successfully exercise the rotating Presidency in all areas of activity, and this can only be achieved by conferring all the authority and legitimacy to all Cabinet ministers. We cannot afford to change ministers after the files have been taken on, after the priorities have been established in each field. This is why today, I have notified the Constitutional Court of Romania to settle the lockout created by the president,” Prime Minister Dancila said.

The prime minister stressed that she did not want this demarche, but “Romania’s interest, the Romanians’ interest is above ambitions, political game or electoral campaign.”

“We find ourselves forced to lodge this notification with the CCR,” Dancila said on Thursday after she met PSD leader Liviu Dragnea at the Palace of Parliament.

She pointed out that she talked by phone with President Iohannis, who told her that he is still analysing the issue and will not take any decision before next week.

Asked whether she believes Klaus Iohannis is infringing upon the Constitution, Viorica Dancila said: “I don’t know whether he infringes upon the Constitution. He too is probably informed and will do everything possible not to infringe upon the Constitution. The important thing is the responsibility we have now, on the threshold of taking over the Presidency of the Council of the EU. I believe that this calls for more responsibility on the part of everyone. It is not a test for the Romanian Government or for Viorica Dancila. It’s a test for Romania and all of us will be judged, as a country, based on the way we will manage the takeover and exercise of the presidency.”

PSD leader Liviu Dragnea stated on Wednesday that “an action must be taken” in what concerns the reshuffling of the two ministers, and that on Thursday he will discuss with Viorica Dancila and Tudorel Toader in this regard. Dragnea said that the discussion on notifying the Constitutional Court has already taken place within PSD’s leadership bodies, but that “it will be the Prime Minister’s decision.” Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Tuesday, for Antena3, that the draft notification has been redacted.

On Wednesday evening, President Klaus Iohannis stated that he has not yet finalised his analysis on the reshuffle. Referring to the gridlock that would be created as a result of the fact that the outgoing ministers’ resignations will come into force, the President replied: “The solution is in PSD’s hands, it’s their own business to come up with efficient people.”

Referring to a potential decision regarding the appointments at the helm of the Development and Transport ministries, President Klaus Iohannis stated on Wednesday that the analysis is pending but the Government reshuffle is made for show, weak people being replaced with even weaker ones.

Asked what the solution for the Dancila Cabinet to get out of the deadlock is, the Head of State said: “The solution is in PSD’s hands. They should come up with efficient people. I haven’t finalised the analysis.”

Lia Olguta Vasilescu, whose nomination as Transport Minister was rejected and who has now been nominated as Development Minister, has stated that starting on Thursday the Transport Minister will enter gridlock because it no longer has a minister.

Last week, President Klaus Iohannis announced that he will take a decision after December 1st in what concerns the second Government reshuffle focusing on the Transport and Development ministries.

The President rejected Ilan Laufer as Development Minister and Lia Olguta Vasilescu as Transport Minister. Premier Viorica Dancila subsequently nominated Lia Olguta Vasilescu as Development Minister and Mircea Draghici as Transport Minister.

 

Constitutional Court registers Gov’t complaint over President Iohannis’s delaying appointment of two ministers

 

The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) registered on Friday the government’s complaint about a possible constitutional legal conflict following President Klaus Iohannis’s deferring the appointment of the Ministers of Transport, and Regional Development, respectively, CCR officials told AGERPRES.

On November 21, the Social Democratic Party’s National Executive Committee decided to propose Lia Olguta Vasilescu for Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration, and Mircea Draghici for Minister of Transport, in response to President Klaus Iohannis’s veto to the initial picks: Ilan Laufer for Regional Development and Lia Olguta Vasilescu for Transports. The head of state argued the two were not suited for the positions.

Back then, the President had also announced that he would consider PSD’s new proposals – Vasilescu and Draghici – after the National Day.

 

CCR to issue opinion by 13 December on Gov’t’s notification regarding President’s defer to appoint new ministers

 

The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) decided to issue on 13 December its opinion regarding the Government ‘s notification regarding the existence of a constitutional conflict after President Klaus Iohannis deferred the appointment of the new ministers of Transport and Regional Development, official sources told AGERPRES on Friday.

 

President on Gov’t reshuffle: Issue is political, not constitutional, therefore is out of Constitutional Court’s hands

 

President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday that the complaint filed by the Government with the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) in connection with the appointment of the new ministers of Transport and Regional Development, respectively, cannot solve the issue, which is actually political, not constitutional.

“Mrs. Prime Minister has sent the Constitutional Court of Romania a request for the settlement of a conflict. The Court will most likely give answer, we’ll see what the answer will be, but let me tell you that this will not solve the issue. CCR cannot sort it out because this is not a constitutional, but a political issue. I will also tell you what the two causes of this political problem are. The first is that ‘de facto’ Romania does not have a Premier; the second is PSD’s total inability to do politics, any kind of politics,” the head of the state said at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.

Iohannis reproached the Prime Minister “the inability to maintain at least an institutional dialogue” for settling an issue. The President then detailed, stating that the PM had sent him a written request for the government’s reshuffle, yet without contacting him, after which, “without waiting for his answer”, she sent another request on the same subject.

“She then went on sending me papers, all without looking for a discussion or dialogue with me. Eventually, Mrs. Prime Minister called me on the phone yesterday, and what do you think she asked me? If I had finished looking into the subject and when I was considering to give an answer. I told her very politely that this won’t be today and neither tomorrow, and that in the coming days I will let her know when I come to a conclusion. Frankly, throughout this period, I would have expected Mrs. PM to put in among her various visits abroad at least the time to call me, or contact me and ask: ‘Mr President, why don’t you give us an answer? What is the problem?’ This lady simply does not understand how the state works. We are not set here to send each other paperwork produced by secretaries, assistants or other collaborators. This is easy to do. We are here in office to solve the problems of the state, to solve the problems of Romania and this is done also through collaboration and institutional dialogue,” Iohannis said.

He added that the second cause of the current political deadlock is “the PSD’s total inability to do politics.” In this respect, he added that under Dragnea’s rule, the Social Democratic Party has lost all capacity to take political action.

“The PSD legislates poorly. Very poorly, and this is not a statement I make just because I do not like the PSD. I asked for certain data these days to look at the quality of the laws being passed by this PSD-controlled majority. I turned to the CCR in more than 30 cases because I considered that the laws promoted on and voted on by the PSD majority are flawed. The Constitutional Court has ruled me right in more than 25 cases, acknowledging that the said acts were partially or completely unconstitutional. Just think of this, more than 25 unconstitutional laws in one year alone. Apart from that, the PSD is simply no longer capable to negotiate politically. They don’t negotiate, they don’t event try to. The PSD tries to impose its will through the punch-in-the-mouth policy. This can be also seen in Parliament, it’s also obvious in the way the government works, and for me this is unacceptable,” Iohannis further said.

 

 Iohannis: I’ll wait for the CCR ruling to appoint new ministers

 

President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday that he is awaiting a ruling from the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) on a complaint filed by the government over his delaying in appointing the new transport minister and the new regional development minister following a recent reshuffle, and then act constitutionally.

“Since this stage has been reached, when they call on the Constitutional Court to say what we have to do, I will, of course, wait for the CCR ruling, after which I will act constitutionally. (…) There are many papers [coming from the Government] with annexes, and all these things will be explained in detail in the documents we will send to the CCR and you will see then that our point of view is a consolidated one, a fair one, and we will see how the viewpoint of the Government is rated (…) For now, I am doing nothing in this case until the CCR has issued a ruling,” Iohannis told a news conference at the Cotroceni Presidential Place responding to whether he would accept the proposals for the appointment of new transport and regional development ministers before a CCR ruling.

Iohannis said that “the prime minister has no patience” because after the first request for reshuffle she did not wait for the president’s arguments, but sent a second request for the removal from office of ministers. He added that he intended to discuss the subject of the reshuffle with Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, including Tuesday, at a meeting of the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT).

“That was exactly my intention, but the prime minister was in a great hurry. We have a CSAT meeting on Tuesday, on the side-lines of which it would have been a very good time for such a discussion, without attracting public attention that we are discussing reshuffle, so it would have been very elegant on her part as well to find about my arguments. Now the situation has changed and my arguments will be heard at the CCR,” said Iohannis.

At the same time, the president said that the definition of a “reasonable deadline” should be valid for all government leaders and mentioned to the point the fact that the Senate postponed until February a debate and vote on the request to start the criminal prosecution of national leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Calin Popescu-Tariceanu.

“A reasonable deadline for an organisational response at this level must be defined in such a way as to be for all who make up the leadership of the state. And, since I was expecting this issue to come up for discussion, I did some research into how the Social Democratic Party (PSD) [major at rule] work so that we may follow suit. We found, for instance, that an application was filed with the Senate for the criminal prosecution of a person, in court case the Senate chairman. I waited for a vote or a resolution from Parliament. And what do you know? Parliament, controlled by the PSD majority, argued that a reasonable deadline for an instituional request is about two to three months, and postponed the debate and vote until the February session. And so, we surely can find inspiration there and since we are dealing with the PSD, two to three months can be said to be a reasonable deadline,” he added.

Iohannis said that the postponement of a decision on the reshuffle “in no way hinders the activity of the government” and backed his statement by the statement of the dismissed transport minister, who has announced that he is carrying out his ministerial duties lawfully, until the decree for his removal from office is published in the Official Journal.

The president also reproached PM Dancila of having sent to him in writing, without contacting him first, a request for a Government reshuffle, and also of having failed to provide arguments for the proposed changes.

“Mrs Prime Minister could have very well show up with some arguments, speaking of which, let me mention something that is very bothering. She came with a request for reshuffling, with no explanation, without publicly saying why certain ministers will be removed or asked to be revoked. Removal is a political penalty, not a pleasure move. If that is the case, the same Mrs Prime Minister was under an obligation to appear before the nation and explain why certain ministers are being singled out for removal, something that has not been done. Mrs Prime Minister is mistaking the Government for the party. It is normal for the party to discuss these issues internally, but it is abnormal for the prime minister not to come out and explain to the nation why she is making a reshuffle and why only certain ministers are removed. We know this way of leading the party or to trying to lead the state from the party from a regime that ended in December 1989,” added Iohannis.

 

PSD’s Iordache: President Iohannis exceeds his constitutional role

 

Deputy Speaker of the Deputies’ Chamber Florin Iordache (PSD – the Social Democratic Party) believes that President Klaus Iohannis has exceeded his constitutional role in the case of the reshuffle at the Ministry of Development and the Ministry of Transportation and proves this is a political battle.

“President Iohannis exceeds his constitutional role, which is that of a guarantor of the Constitution. The fact that he did not answer to the proposal of reshuffle, which is clearly the prerogative of the Prime Minister, is blocking the Government proving this is a battle, a continuous political battle and he exceeds, thus, his constitutional role. He did not understand a thing. In the end, Mr. Prime Minister needed to address the Constitutional Court, in order to unblock the Government’s activity. The resignation is a unilateral act,” Iordache told AGERPRES on Friday.

He also added that the PSD will analyse the situation and make a decision with respect to what to do next.

“On Friday, Prime Minister filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court of Romania. Probably, the Court will issue an opinion, but allow me to say that it won’t solve the problem. The CCR can’t solve this, because this problem is not of a constitutional nature, but of a political nature. And I will also tell you what are the two cause of this political problem. The first cause is de facto that Romania doesn’t have a Prime Minister, the second one is the total inability of the PSD to make politics, any type of politics,” the head of state said at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.

Iohannis reproached the Prime Minister that “the inability to maintain a dialogue, at least at institutional level,” for solving a problem. He also went on to say that the Prime Minister wrote him, without contacting him, a request of Government reshuffle, after which, “without waiting for my response,” she sent another request on the same topic.

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