POLITICS

Reactions to President Iohannis’s intention to convene referendum on justice on the day of the EP elections

Olguta Vasilescu : I say we let the President sit and ponder calmly, just as he does every time. There is nothing to comment on for the time being

 

House lawmaker Olguta Vasilescu (PSD) stated on Wednesday, at the Palace of Parliament, that for the time being the PSD has nothing to comment on as regards the holding of a referendum on the day of the European Parliament elections. She said that the PSD is waiting for President Klaus Iohannis to finally be a determined man and say what is the question to be put on the ballots at the referendum.

“I say we let the President sit and ponder calmly, just as he ponders every time. There is nothing for us to comment on for the time being. Because, as you yourselves have said, he is almost determined. We are waiting for him to finally be a determined man, to come up and say what the question for this referendum is, and only then will we comment. For the time being, there is nothing to comment on, because yet another parasitic topic of debate has been launched in the public space, and that’s all,” Olguta Vasilescu stated.

She claimed that the PSD would not be affected “at all” if the President were to trigger a referendum for the day of the European Parliament elections.

“Why would that hinder us? It’s very good; we are expecting a high voter turnout. We have held focus-groups, we have conducted polls on the undecided, we really want a high voter turnout. (…) For the time being, we have no comment on the President’s idea. Let us first see what this is about, what the topic is, and we will comment afterwards,” Vasilescu added.

 

Iordache on referendum announced by President: We’re waiting for the question. Maybe his term will end by the time he’s done thinking

 

House Deputy Speaker Florin Iordache sarcastically stated on Wednesday that President Klaus Iohannis’s term in office might expire by the time he is done thinking about the question to be put on the ballots at the referendum.

“We are waiting for the question. Maybe his term will end by the time he is done thinking. The President is electioneering and is backing the PNL; the President has come out to electioneer for them. For the time being, we are waiting for him to finish thinking. Maybe he will keep thinking for one year. I cannot say what question the President will ask until he is done thinking,” Iordache said.

In what concerns the fact that the President has called the PSD Government “an accident of democracy,” Iordache replied: “An error of democracy occurred four and a half years ago when Mr Iohannis was elected; mistakenly, I believe.”

He added that “the way the President despises a certain part of the political class denotes he has learned nothing while in office.”

 

“Accident of democracy happened four years ago, when Iohannis wrongly elected”

 

Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Florin Iordache also said on Wednesday that “an accident of democracy” occurred four and a half years ago when Klaus Iohannis was elected president.

“An accident of democracy happened four and a half years ago, when, I think, Mr. Iohannis was wrongly elected. (…) I was thinking that at least now, at the end of the mandate, he could respect and be a President for those who voted for him and those who did not vote for him. The way he addresses and how he despises a certain part of the political class denotes that he did not learn anything during the four years he spent at Cotroceni. [Presidential Palace, ed.n.] (…) The president, going back and forth from Sibiu to Bucharest probably does not have enough information because of the draught, and as we have been accustomed to, unfortunately, after four years of Sibiu-Bucharest commute, he did not understand. (…) Perhaps he expresses himself that way because of the lack of motorway,” Iordache said in Parliament.

 

Daniel Barbu (ALDE): Who triggered referenda in Romania? Marshal Antonescu, Ceausescu, and Basescu

 

A referendum on the judiciary, to be held simultaneously with the European Parliament elections on May 26, would sponge on the said elections, ALDE’s EP elections candidate Daniel Barbu has stated for RFI. Barbu has said that Marshal Antonescu, Nicolae Ceausescu and Traian Basescu triggered referenda in Romania in past decades and if President Klaus Iohannis wants to join this illiberal gallery, he is welcome to do so.

Daniel Barbu has stated for RFI that French President Emmanuel Macron announced on February 2 that he wants to hold a referendum on May 26, and his Government explained to him that it is absolutely inadvisable to sponge on the European elections with a referendum on national topics.

The ALDE candidate stated that the rule of law is not a European topic; the rule of law is a European value.

“What could be put up for debate regarding the rule of law? You see, there is an old campaign with very sharp propagandistic accents regarding the attempts to politicise the judiciary. There is nothing more political than to encourage the whole society to have a say on an issue concerning the judiciary. Justice must be done by professionals, in line with the law. (…) Of course, it’s part of his prerogatives. Now, who has triggered referenda in Romania in past decades? Marshal Antonescu, Nicolae Ceausescu and Traian Basescu. If Klaus Iohannis wants to enter this illiberal gallery, he is welcome,” Daniel Barbu stated.

Regarding the fact that Parliament did not hesitate to green-light the referendum on amending the Constitution’s definition of the family, Barbu replied: “That was a citizens’ initiative. I did not subscribe to it. I believe last year’s referendum was an error; it’s my entirely personal opinion. Parliament only had to note, following the CCR endorsement, that all constitutional conditions required to hold a referendum were met, so it was not possible to make a different choice. In this case, obviously, it’s a political matter.”

He added that if in society there probably is a certain desire to organise a referendum, then it can be held a week before or after, next autumn, or at any other moment.

“Nevertheless, I believe that just as the European Commission also indicates, Europe is the topic on May 26, the reform of European institutions, the role of each member state in a European construct that must be relaunched, new vigour must be imparted on it, extra democracy. These are the topics, European topics, and I believe any hijacking from this European direction is playing into the hands of anti-European forces such as Putin, China, and so on,” the ALDE candidate added.

 

Cristian Preda: By saying he is “almost determined” to hold the much-promised referendum on May 26, the President wants to force his opponents to say how they will seek to prevent the voting

 

MEP Cristian Preda (PLUS) claims that, by saying he is “almost determined” to hold the much-promised referendum on May 26, President Klaus Iohannis wants to force his opponents to say how they will seek to prevent the voting.

“By saying he is “almost determined” to hold the much-promised referendum on May 26, the President wants to force his opponents to say how they will seek to prevent the voting,” Cristian Preda wrote on Facebook.

The MEP points out that in 2007, in a similar situation, then-Premier Calin Popescu Tariceanu set up distinct polling centres for the EP elections and the referendum on two-round elections respectively.

“This time, I agree with the President’s cautious attitude. The top objective is for the voter turnout threshold to be reached,” Cristian Preda pointed out.

 

Several civic organizations are asking again President Iohannis to call for a referendum on Justice and ample consultations on the questions that might be addressed. The petition for supporting the referendum was signed by more than 7,500 people

 

On Wednesday, several civic organizations asked President Klaus Iohannis to organize a referendum on Justice and establish ample consultations on the questions that might be addressed. The petition launched to support the referendum was signed by more than 7,500 people.

The signatory organizations, who were active at the street protests following the issuance of GEO 13 and the proposals to amend the Laws on Justice and Criminal Codes are asking the head of state to issue a decree for organizing a national referendum on the continuation of the fight against corruption and ensuring the integrity of the civil service on May 26, 2019.

They are also asking him to organize consultations with organizations of the civil society and professional associations of prosecutors and judges, in order to listen opinions on one or more questions to be formulated and included on the ballot paper at the referendum.

The signatories of the petition motivated their request by speaking of “the continuation of politically subordinating  the judiciary institutions to the Government and Parliament” and “establishing politically subordinated judicial structures by which they try to intimidate and eliminate from the professional branch the magistrates who are inconvenient for the political power, in contradiction to the requirements expressed by the European Commission, Venice Commission or the Group of States against Corruption of the Council of Europe”.

In addition, the civic organizations refer to “the amendments brought in the last 2 years to the Laws on Justice and Criminal Codes, weakening the capacity of fighting against corruption at high level (and not only) of the independent institution of the state” and to the risk of activating Article 7 of the EU Treaty, which may cause the suspension of certain rights of Romania as a EU member state.

The signatories of the document made some suggestions to the head of state on how to formulate one or more questions to which Romanians should answer at the requested referendum.

“Do you agree with the tightening of the criminal law for the corruption- and office-related offenses?”, “Do you agree that citizens who are finally convicted to sentences involving the deprivation of liberty for intentional offenses must not have the possibility of being elected in the bodies of the local and central public administration until a situation that removes the consequences of their conviction occurs?”, and “Do you agree that the Laws on Justice and the criminal policy of Romania should be exclusively made in Parliament, after the consultation of, and in compliance with the recommendations of the Venice Commission, GRECO and the European Commission through the reports on the Cooperation and Verification mechanism?” – these are the questions suggested by the civic organizations.

They remind that a petition was launched to support the referendum, and by Wednesday at noon it was signed by more than 7,500 people.

The document requesting for the organization of a referendum is signed by #activAG Pitesti, Actiunea Civica, Aradul Civic, Brasovul Civic, Coruptia ucide, Evolutie In Institutie, Geeks For Democracy, Initiativa Romania, Initiativa Timisoara, Oradea Civica, 2017, ProCivic Baia Mare, Reactiv Brasov, Reset, #REZISTENTA, #rezist Constanta, #Rezist Ingolstadt, Si eu sunt din Romania, Rezist Milano, Stafeta Steagului Uniunii Europene, Umbrela Anticoruptie Cluj, Valea Jiului Society, VeDem Just – Asociatia Voci pentru Democratie si Justitie and Va vedem din Sibiu.

 

Read also:

President Iohannis: I am almost decided to convene referendum on 26 May, when we have elections to European Parliament. PSD – accident of democracy; remedy – going to vote

 

 

 

 

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