President Klaus Iohannis announced he has sent on Thursday to Parliament the topics to be subject to public consultation at the 26 May referendum.
“I have sent today to Parliament the letter referring to the two topics of national interest that will be subject to public consultation at the referendum on 26 May, alongside the European Parliament election. A first matter: the ban on amnesty and pardon for corruption crimes, and the second matter: the ban on the adoption by the Government of the Emergency Ordinances (OUG) in the field of criminal offenses, punishments and of the judicial organisation correlated to the right of other constitutional authorities to directly notify the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) on the OUGs. These are the two topics to be subject to the people’s consultation,” the President of Romania said at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
“The citizens must decide whether they want the effects of corruption convictions erased and whether they want the Government to adopt GEOs in areas that are sensitive for the functioning of the judicial system,” the Head of State added.
The President states that the real order of business of Government meetings is not known.
“Yes, zero tolerance for the phenomenon of corruption by banning amnesty and pardon represents the best way to continue the fight against corruption, but it is also a guarantee of assuring the integrity of public office.
“What is happening during the PSD governance, this assault launched by the Social Democrats, has entailed the assessment of chances, the preparation of means, and the choosing of the appropriate moment, hijacking a constitutional mechanism that we, the Romanian society, must re-think.
“Society lives with fear when a Government meeting is announced, a meeting whose real order of business is not known. Only the Ombudsman can challenge GEOs at the CCR. It is time for citizens to decide whether other authorities should have the right to notify the Court in order to stop these ordinances,” Iohannis added.
“Had the CSM had the possibility to notify the CCR, we would not have ended up in this situation. They have so many criminal problems that it seems they are willing to risk the stability and even the future of Romania just to whitewash their dossiers,” the Head of State said.
President Klaus Iohannis announced several days ago a new consultation of Parliament, in order to widen the span of the referendum, against the backdrop in which Parliament had adopted, in February 2017, a favourable report on the anti-corruption referendum.
Likewise, in informal talks at the Cotroceni Palace, President Klaus Iohannis told journalists that he will invite the political parties to consultations on the topic of the referendum.
On Monday, the Romanian President announced that he will send Parliament a new consultation that widens the span of the referendum, to make it “stronger and more efficient.”
Last week, the Head of State and the representatives of civil society held consultations on the topic of the referendum.
I am calling on the Gov’t not to adopt any emergency ordinance in the field of justice and criminal policy
Klaus Iohannis on Thursday urged the Government to no longer adopt an emergency ordinance in the field of justice and criminal policy, pointing out that the May 26 referendum “is in the homestretch” and that any act issued by Executive in this area would be “illegitimate”.
“I am once again calling on the Government to no longer adopt an emergency ordinance in the field of justice and criminal policy! The referendum is in the homestretch, any such act issued by the Government would be illegitimate, against the spirit of the Constitution and a defiance against the Romanians,” said Iohannis, at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
The president also said that the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD)’s amendments to the judiciary laws have been harshly and constantly criticized by European institutions, and the adoption of new ordinances in criminal matters, which in reality are “masked amnesties”, will have very serious consequences on Romania’s status in European Union.
“The critical moment in which we find ourselves is the result of poor PSD governing. PSD legislates non-transparently, breaching the very regulations of the rule of law, and there are discussions and reactions in the public space about the imminence of new emergency ordinances to amend the criminal codes. The Social-Democrats have so many criminal issues that they seem to be willing to risk the very stability and future of Romania only to clear their files. It wouldn’t be any wonder if tomorrow- the day after tomorrow they give by emergency ordinance that a certain politician X is honest. It would be the last straw!” said Iohannis.
He specified the provisions of an article in the Constitution.
“Today, more than ever, it is necessary to remind us of a text in the Constitution, which those in power would like us to forget. It is paragraph (2) of article (2) of the Constitution of Romania: “no group and no person can exercise sovereignty in their own name. The sovereign will of the people is best expressed through a referendum!” Iohannis showed.
In this context, he invited the Romanians to referendum.
PSD won’t oppose referendum tabled by President, yet won’t accept Romania to be attacked on fake issues
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) will not be against the organisation of a referendum tabled by President Klaus Iohannis and has nothing against the topics launched by the president on the Judiciary, yet it will never accept Romania to be attacked from the outside by reason of the Judiciary’s fake issues, the ruling party specifies on Thursday in a release.
“As announced before, PSD will officially express a view upon the referendum questions proposed by Iohannis only after they are released. PSD will not be against the organisation of a referendum proposed by Iohannis, yet it will never accept the reduction or cancellation of the minimum wage or the halt in the increase of incomes formulated in the ruling programme, as the opposition parties wish for. PSD has nothing against the topics launched by Iohannis on the Judiciary, yet it will never accept Romania to be attacked from the outside by reason of the fake issues in the Judiciary. The PSD MEPs will never criticise their country abroad and will never vote against Romania in the European Parliament, the way the PNL [National Liberal Party, ed.n.] or the USR [Save Romania Union, ed.n.] MEPs have done,” the Social-Democrats’ release stresses.
UDMR’s Kelemen: I would eliminate GEOs for both the judiciary and for the other areas
Chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) Kelemen Hunor proposes the emergency ordinance to be eliminated for both the judiciary and for the other areas, saying that from this point of view he is more strict and severe than the President Klaus Iohannis.
Asked by the journalists on Thursday at Cluj-Napoca how he comments on the themes proposed by President Klaus Iohannis for the referendum, Kelemen Hunor said that everything will depend also on how the question will look like, and that the question should be easy to understand.
“These themes are mainly those I have anticipated, since all the debate is around these themes. Of course, it also depends on how the question will look like, it shouldn’t be a technical question, but it’s ok, the answer can be YES or NO.
However, I am more strict than the President and more severe regarding the emergency ordinances, and I wouldn’t limit the restriction only to crimes and the criminal matters, I propose GEOs to be eliminated, since the Constitution will have to be amended, anyway, this is not possible without amending the Constitution, because the institution of the emergency ordinances exists in the Constitution. I would completely eliminate this possibility of the GEOs for everything that the judiciary means, I don’t agree that it should be regulated by GEOs, but also for the other areas”, Kelemen stated, according to Mediafax.
“If we are going to amend the Constitution, I think we should completely eliminate them”
He says that simple ordinances should be kept only based on the Government’s empowerment during the Parliament’s holiday, as well as in case of a disaster or war.
“Otherwise, GEOs shouldn’t be kept in the Constitution for any area. If we are going to amend the Constitution, I think we should completely eliminate them, we should go the whole way. Let’s see if there will be any change after the consultations and how the questions will look like, because there will probably be two questions. The two issues cannot be cramped in only one question”, the leader of the Alliance added.
Asked if at the consultations to be held at Cotroceni he will propose the GEOs to be eliminated, Kelemen answered he will say what he thinks on this issue and he will only express a point of view.
Former CCR President Augustin Zegrean on the themes of the referendum: Both of them imply the amendment of the Constitution
Former President of the Constitutional Court of Romania, Augustin Zegrean, stated on Thursday for MEDIAFAX that both themes proposed by President Klaus Iohannis for the referendum of May 26 imply the amendment of the Constitution and we will probably have another referendum without consequences, which only could help from a moral point of view.
“According to the law, the President chooses the themes he wants to submit to the public opinion. No one can censor him in this regard, and we have nothing to comment on this matter. What we can comment about these themes is that both of them imply the amendment of the Constitution. If there would be questions on these two themes, if the referendum would pass, Constitution should be mandatorily amended, since according to the Constitution of today, the Parliament’s right to adopt laws on amnesty and pardon cannot be restricted. The theme is referring exactly to this issue: if people agree that amnesty and pardon shouldn’t be regulated by the law or emergency ordinance anymore. Constitution doesn’t differentiate between amnesty and pardon and pardon on other themes. He says amnesty and pardon shouldn’t be decided for the corruption deeds, but this is not provided by the constitution”, Zegrean stated.
The former CCR President says the scope of the amnesty and pardon cannot be restricted, and he asked a question: “Is corruption more serious than murder?”
“The Constitution only establishes that amnesty and pardon are adopted by the law. The scope of the amnesty and pardon cannot be restricted, and I have an additional question for people: is corruption more serious than murder? Will amnesty and pardon continue to be possible for murder, but not for corruption? Or who knows, other serious crimes against humanity, genocide, or other very serious crimes. This theme mandatorily implies the amendment of the Constitution, as well as the second one, which is related to removing the ability of the Government to issue emergency ordinances. The Constitution currently establishes that the Government can adopt ordinances and emergency ordinances, and the scope of these ordinances, the limits within which these ordinances can be adopted and the circumstances in which these ordinances can be adopted, are strictly provided by the Constitution. If this interdiction would be established by the law, this theme also implies the amendment of the Constitution. The referendum itself does not oblige the parliamentarians to amend the Constitution. No one can say after the adoption of the referendum ‘that’s it, you can no longer issue ordinances on amnesty and pardon because the people said no’. No one will notice you, because those who issue them say the Constitution in force allow them to do so”, Augustin Zegrean added.
The former CCR President said we might have another consultative referendum without consequences, since the referendum “only helps from a moral point of view”, but people need a decision now.
“This consultative referendum only creates a moral obligation to change the law for the parliamentarians, but it firstly implies the amendment of the Constitution. But to amend the Constitution, two thirds of the votes in Parliament are required, and no one has two thirds now, and I don’t think this could be achieved. We might have another consultative referendum without consequences, because unfortunately the President has not the right of legislative initiative in order to amend the Constitution, he can initiate the amendment of the Constitution only at the Government’s request. But the current Government will not ask the President to amend the Constitution, but it might be useful in the future, perhaps we will have another Parliament willing to respect people’s will to amend Constitution, but we need it now”, the former CCR President also said.
Augustin Zegrean also stated that the referendum will be valid regardless of the question, which will be established by the President by a presidential decree that cannot be appealed.
Senate’s Tariceanu: President uses referendum as a tool to get in political game thinking of the autumn elections
Senate President Calin Popescu-Tariceanu stated on Thursday evening that President Klaus Iohannis is not interested “in the issues of justice” and uses the referendum “as an instrument to get in the political game thinking about the elections in autumn.”
“The President is not interested in the issues of justice, the President uses the referendum – not the subject of the referendum – as an instrument in order to get in the political game thinking of the autumn elections. Justice is not the President’s biggest concern, but his re-election and he uses the referendum with two topics, which we can discuss, as a trampoline to jump in the political game, because, otherwise, he can’t participate in the elections to the European Parliament and also he wants to jump the gun for the presidential elections,” Tariceanu argued at Antena 3 private television station.
When asked if he will vote in the referendum, Tariceanu responded that the European institutions don’t agree with the organisation of some other elections or “referendums” on the day dedicated to the elections to the European Parliament.
“If we’re talking about the loyal collaboration with the European institutions and want to take into account the Venice Commission, the European Commission’s opinion, the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), the Venice Commission and the Verification Commission I tell you the following thing: do not organise other elections or referendums on the day for the elections to the European Parliament, because everyone realises that the national subjects are more powerful than the European subjects and then, everybody is aware that we should now mainly focus on the elections to the European Parliament,” Tariceanu stated.