President Iohannis: I’ll wait for the CCR ruling to appoint new ministers
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila announced on Friday that the Government 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).
PM Dancila spoke in the beginning of the Government sitting about the recent discussions which members of the Executive carried out in Brussels with European officials on the takeover of the Presidency of the EU Council. In this context, she underscored that “the only uncertain situation” at the moment is created by President Iohannis “through blocking the appointment of new ministers in two important areas.”
On 21 November, the Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) National Executive Committee (CExN) decided to propose Lia Olguta Vasilescu for Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration, and Mircea Draghici for Minister of Transport.
The decision came after President Klaus Iohannis rejected 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.
The President announced then that he would consider PSD’s new proposals after the National Day.
On the other hand, President Klaus Iohannis announced on Friday, after the Government notified the CCR about a potential institutional conflict over the appointments at the helm of the Transport and Development ministries, that he will postpone a decision until the Court adopts a decision.
“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 accuses Iohannis of blocking two ministries: He’s driven by spite
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) believes that President Klaus Iohannis “blocks” Romania by deferring a decision regarding the Government reshuffle, adding that the Social Democrats will make use of “all the legal and constitutional means” to unblock the situation created.
“The Social Democratic Party condemns the irresponsible decision of President Iohannis to block the functioning of two key-ministries of Romania’s Government. Lacking any political, legal or constitutional argument, Iohannis is driven by a personal grudge and obsessions, bringing damage to the Romanian state, which he should represent. Iohannis is purely blocking Romania, so that the PSD+ALDE [the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats] Government do not invest in highways and local development. The scandals and conflicts created by Iohannis are the more irresponsible in the context of the Centennial Year and the repeated calls of the European officials on having a political consensus prior to Romania taking over the Presidency of the Council of the EU,” a release of the PSD sent to AGERPRES on Friday informs.
According to the quoted source, “Iohannis showed today a behavior lacking any decency and common sense toward the Prime Minister, despite the political peace message that she addressed at a solemn sitting of Parliament, organised on the occasion of the Centennial. ”
“Beyond the functions, President Iohannis should have shown his polite behavior and courtesy towards a lady. Under these circumstances, the PSD will use all the legal and constitutional means to unlock the situation created by Iohannis and determine him to observe the laws and the Constitution of Romania,” the release mentions.
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.
Rovana Plumb: Iohannis illegally and unconstitutionally assumes the right to decide the structure of the Government
Rovana Plumb, president of PSD’s woman’s chapter, stated on Friday that Klaus Iohannis is assuming, in an illegal and unconstitutional manner, the right to sabotage the Government. The European Grants Minister called the Head of State “national saboteur.”
“Now more than ever, during this Centenary Year, politicians should show more maturity and leave behind the logic of the conflict that has splintered us for years. There is the need for agreement on the major national objectives; however, President Iohannis proves that he is not only a divider – completely outside the European spirit and the spirit of unity in the Centenary Year – but an outright saboteur of Romania’s interests,” Rovana Plumb pointed out in a press release remitted to MEDIAFAX.
In the view of European Grants Minister Rovana Plumb, “we are witnessing national sabotage, Iohannis underestimates the common sense of Romanians who have seen that he is more preoccupied with tourism than with working as high-level dignitary. He ignores elementary logic, legal norms, the provisions of the Constitution, the country’s interest.”
“While the Government is continuing the governance programme through which it brings more money in the pockets of Romanians, by hiking the minimum salary, launching Start-up Nation 2018, allocating funds for disadvantaged areas of the country, President Iohannis does not want to find a minimum formula of collaboration with the Government and Parliament,” she added.
The European Grants Minister considers that “the Romanian President’s attitude is unspeakable and inadmissible, the Romanian President seeing fit to offend a lady, namely the country’s incumbent Premier, and to throw legal procedures into derisory. He risks compromising Romania’s European interests and affecting the activity of the Presidency.”
At the same time, Plumb considers that the Head of State does not respect women who hold public office.
“He has learned nothing from 2018 as the international year of the woman, and he remains only the First Tourist of the Country,” the Social Democratic minister concludes.
Former CSM member says President’s refusal to take note of ministers’ resignations violates Constitution
Adrian Toni Neacsu, former member of the Superior Council of the Magistracy (CSM), states that the President’s refusal to take note of the resignations of Minister Lucian Sova and Minister Paul Stanescu is the clearest violation of the Constitution, pointing out that “we have a new juridical conflict at the Constitution Court (CCR), whose result is expected.”
Neacsu wrote on Facebook that Romania probably has the most obscure and unclear Constitution in the world, since the CCR must constantly help the President, the Government and recently the High Court of Cassation and Justice understand it.
“In what concerns the Government’s notification, I don’t understand why they limited themselves to constitutionally challenging only the refusal to appoint the new Transport and Development ministers. President Iohannis’s refusal to take note of the resignations of ministers Lucian Sova and Paul Stanescu is the clearest infringement upon the Constitution. Even upon the CCR decisions, since as early as 2007 (Decision 356) it decided that the President is constitutionally obligated to take note of the ministers’ resignations as unilateral acts, and to declare the offices vacant. It is true that back then the CCR decided that a 20-day delay since the date of the resignation was a reasonable period, but only because the refusal had thorough grounds. Now we are obviously dealing solely with a political refusal (the PSD-ALDE Government is bad),” Neacsu points out.
The former member of the Superior Council of the Magistracy states that a minister’s resignation becomes irrevocable not within 15 days but from the moment the Premier takes note of its tendering.
“The minister’s resignation becomes irrevocable not within 15 days but, as clearly stipulated by Article 6 of Law no.90/2001, “from the moment the Prime Minister took note of its tendering.” The 15-day period is a maximum period in case the Prime Minister refuses to take note of a minister’s unilateral resignation, which isn’t the case here. Thus, the President has been late ever since the moment he was asked to take note of the ministers’ resignations (which were tendered on November 22 and November 26), and does not have the right to wait for the 15 misunderstood days to go by,” Adrian Toni Neacsu added, concluding that what he is saying is true “unless, of course, the Government and Ms Dancila forgot to ask the President to take note of the ministers’ resignations and to declare the offices vacant.”
PSD MEP: Iohannis’ irresponsibility affects Romania’s credibility at the head of the EU Council
The leader of the PSD MEPs Dan Nica stated on Friday that President Klaus Iohannis proves irresponsibility by blocking the appointment of the new ministers, particularly in the context in which Romania is taking over the EU Council Presidency.
“President’s actions in the recent period are more and more irresponsible and deprived of logic. What is Klaus Iohannis winning by blocking the Government’s activity, without any legal, political or constitutional ground? I see no other motivation than the personal frustration and the political vanity, which elements are totally incompatible with the status of a country president, which should be a model and a mediator. These personal humors are very damaging to the country, particularly in the context in which Romania is taking over the EU Council Presidency. How can we, as a country, have credibility and authority at the head of the EU Council as long as the President is dealing small political maneuvers, without a real stake and affecting the Government’s functioning? How can we deal with highways and sustainable local development without ministers? It is shameful that the political game has gone that far!”, Dan Nica stated in a press release sent to MEDIAFAX on Friday.
He also stressed that the head of state’s actions are all the more irresponsible as the European officials are making repeated calls on achieving a political consensus in Romania.
“We know very well that the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, asked Romania to reach a political truce, so that Romania’s mandate at the head of the EU Council will be a serious and substantive one. President Iohannis must understand that there are certain limits which we must not overcome – if we want the countries of the European Union to ever take Romania seriously in the future. For this reason, PSD will use all the legal and constitutional means to unblock this shameful situation and create the needed framework for a successful mandate of Romania at the head of the EU Council”, Nica concluded.