On Wednesday, President Klaus Iohannis and the parliamentary parties continued their consultations on implementing the May 26 referendum on the judiciary. After the PNL, USR and UDMR took part in the consultations on Tuesday, Wednesday it was the turn of the PMP, ALDE, Pro Romania, PSD and the parliamentary group of ethnic minorities to discuss with the Head of State, after the latter had announced as early as last Thursday that he will summon the parties to consultations in order to put into practice the results of the May 26 referendum on the judiciary.
According to the Electoral Bureau, 7,922,591 Romanians answered the question “Do you agree with banning amnesty and pardon for corruption offences?”, 6,459,383 of them choosing “YES” as the answer.
7,923,869 Romanians answered the question “Do you agree with forbidding the Government from adopting emergency ordinances in the field of offences, punishments and judicial organisation, and with extending the right to directly challenge ordinances at the Constitutional Court?”, 6,477,865 of them choosing “YES” as the answer.
The consultations started at 11 a.m., with the delegation of the Popular Movement Party (PMP). The representatives of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) entered the talks at noon, followed by the representatives of the Pro Europe parliamentary group (1 p.m.), and those of the parliamentary group of national minorities (2 p.m.).
The representatives of the PSD entered the consultations at 3 p.m. Their delegation consisted of acting PSD President and Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila, acting PSD Executive President Paul Stanescu, House Speaker Marcel Ciolacu, PSD National Council Chairman Mihai Fifor, and Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici.
PMP Chairman Tomac: Referendum outcome should be transposed into law as fast as possible
Chairman of the People’s Movement Party (PMP) Eugen Tomac said on Wednesday that his formation supports the transposition into law, as fast as possible, of the outcome of the May 26 referendum, adding that the future changes to the Constitution should also take into consideration the electorate’s vote in the 2009 referendum.
“Our point of view is very clear: PMP demands the transposition into law of the result of the referendum as soon as possible, and we will back this approach in Parliament. We consider that at the time the Constitution is amended, the 2009 referendum should also be taken into account. We believe that this institution – the referendum – should not be neglected and the will of the citizens must be respected. We do need a 300-member Parliament,” Tomac said at the end of consultations with President Iohannis.
“Diaspora should be able to vote over two days”
PMP Chairman Eugen Tomac also announced on Wednesday that, at the consultations with President Klaus Iohannis, his party upheld the organization of the diaspora vote over two days.
“In the talks with President Klaus Iohannis, I informed the Presidential Administration that the People’s Movement Party is calling for a two-day vote for the Diaspora. Our Party has submitted in Parliament a legislative initiative in this regard. We consider that the presidential elections must be thoroughly prepared, and in this regard our proposal is to hold snap elections. Romanians from abroad should have the right to vote over the course of two days, from Saturday morning until Sunday evening,” Tomac said.
ALDE’s Tariceanu: We have very serious reservations as to extension of right to challenge Gov’t ordinances at Constitutional Court
Chairman of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said Wednesday that the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats has “very serious” reservations regarding the extension of the right to challenge at the Constitutional Court the ordinances issued by the Government, as this would result in an “extremely weak” executive.
“I told [the President – ed.n.] that we agree to prohibit the amnesty and pardon of corruption deeds, which constituted the first question at the referendum. As to the second question, regarding the prohibition of the adoption by ordinance of amendments as regards the sentences and crimes, as well as the Justice reform, I told him we agree in this case as well. I have explained to him that we have very serious reservations with regard to the extension of the right to challenge at the Constitutional Court the ordinances issued by the Government. For a simple reason (…) What would result would be a very weak government, which would no longer be able to exercise the legislative power delegated by Parliament and, obviously, even worse, we would further transform the Constitutional Court into a political arbitrator. I have explained to the president that at the referendum we were not against the questions, but the way in which the referendum was organized, simultaneously with the elections to the European Parliament. So, not against the topics,” said Tariceanu at the end of the ALDE delegations’ talks with President Klaus Iohannis.
Tariceanu explained that ALDE was not against the questions asked in the referendum but against the way the referendum was organised, simultaneously with the European Parliament elections.
“I want you to understand very well that we opposed this gimmick of holding the referendum simultaneously with the elections, because the result was a chronic lack of debate on European topics, which are very important,” Tariceanu added.
The ALDE leader stated that the party asked that if another referendum is needed to amend the Constitution then it should take place “immediately,” not simultaneously with other elections.
Moreover, Tariceanu pointed out that 2.5 million Romanians either said “NO” in the referendum or did not vote in it.
Moreover, the leader of ALDE said that the problems of the judiciary – the tapping of communications, the secret protocols – will not be solved by this referendum.
Pro Europe wants Constitution to specify Romania’s EU, NATO membership
The PRO Europe parliamentary group is pushing for a change in the Constitution according to the will expressed in the May 26 referendum, but would also like to introduce other issues in the fundamental law, if there is a favorable majority for them, the group’s representative Daniel Constantin said on Wednesday at the end of talks with President Klaus Iohannis.
“We would like to incorporate other aspects that are currently unclear in this process of amending the Constitution. They are not things that require extensive citizen consultation and ample debate in the Romanian Parliament, because that would take time. A first aspect is related to the fact that in the current Constitution there is no mention of the fact that Romania is a member of the EU and NATO. (…) Second thing: guaranteeing the constitutional right to vote for the Romanians from in the country and abroad. One thing that needs to be clarified is a clarification on which I think all parties have to agree, especially after the problems that we faced in the May 26 elections, especially with the vote abroad. Another clarification: there is in the Constitution a mention of serious violations’ of the Constitution; they are not defined and so they are debatable. We want to come up with these changes so that we no longer have to notify the Constitutional Court, to waste time (…). Make things as clear as possible at constitutional level,” he explained.
Constantin pointed out that he also discussed human rights with Iohannis.
Pro Romania MP Sorin Cimpeanu said that the group’s representatives favour holding the referendum to amend the Constitution on the same day with the presidential election.
“It is logical to tie in the referendum to amend the Constitution with the presidential election or local elections or the parliamentary election, and because the presidential election is the closest I think it is an argument to support having the referendum and the presidential election at the same time,” Cimpeanu said.
Pambuccian: Half of the members of the national minority parliamentary group would vote for censure motion
The leader of the national minority parliamentary group, Varujan Pambuccian, said on Wednesday that about half of the members of this group would vote in favour of a no-confidence motion.
“As you know, our group is made up of different organisations, each one of us represents a different organisation. There is still the idea with the public that it is like a party group; not at all, I for example it is useless for me to tell Dragos [Gabriel Zisopol], how to vote, because he will wants as he pleases. I will never put Dragos on the list of the Hellenic Union. I will never vote for Dragos, because that would me voting for me. And hence, there are not among us the same rules that exist within a party. From that point of view, my prediction – we have not discussed this issue yet in the group meeting – but it will probably be the group divided into about two equal halves. At least that is what I believe right now if I have to take an educated guess,’ Pambuccian told a news conference at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
Early in the day, the delegation of the national minority parliamentary group participated in talks with President Klaus Iohannis, to which parliamentary parties were summoned to establish “guidelines for the implementation of the May 26 national referendum.”
“We support restricting OUG use more than requested in referendum”
The leader of the national minorities’ parliamentary group, Varujan Pambuccian, after the consultations at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace with President Klaus Iohannis, pleaded for restricting the use of emergency ordinances more than it was requested in the referendum and for this instrument only to be used in extreme cases.
“We brought to mind that ever since 2003 (…) we have requested the complete removal of emergency ordinances as instrument. We now think they must remain only for the cases of calamities, state of war, extreme things and that they are useless as concerns all the rest. If there is political will for a law to pass very soon through Parliament, this thing can happen, an emergency ordinance isn’t needed, namely in the legislation areas we would like to restrict them more than it was requested in the referendum to topics of this kind. In the second question, everyone agrees with what was voted and with the question, it is left to be seen how the text actually looks like and we suppose a legal formula will be found for the constitutional text. From this point of view, we support the President’s demarche,” Pambuccian said after the meeting of the parliamentary delegation of national minorities with President Iohannis.
PSD suggests parliamentary group be set up to amend Constitution
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, also the acting national chair of the majority Social Democratic Party (PSD), said on Wednesday that the Social Democrats suggested President Klaus Iohannis at their consultations on Wednesday that a working group be set up at parliamentary level for the revision of the Constitution. She pointed out that they do not support a referendum for the revision of Constitution being held at the same time with another ballot.
“We reiterated the position of PSD, namely that the outcome of the vote is very important, that beyond statements it is important to act to implement the results of this consultative referendum as soon as possible. Given that the referendum is an advisory one, we have to move on to concrete things. That is why I suggested to President Iohannis the formation of a group at parliament level, led by Chamber of Deputies Speaker Marcel Ciolacu, to discuss with all political parties, because there is a need for consensus, we need two thirds to put into practice these objectives and to make this group operational as soon as possible, so that we may take the first steps for the constitutional revision to be put into practice as soon as possible. We want, at the same time, the referendum not to be tied in with an election, because that would violate the recommendations of the Venice Commission,” Dancila said after PSD delegation’s talks with President Klaus Iohannis.
She mentioned that Ciolacu will start the formation of the group on Thursday. She also explained why she supported the implementation of the results of the referendum, although she did not vote in it on May 26.
“I want to remind you that initially I said that I was going to vote in the referendum. After the statements of the president, with an attack at the government and connecting the referendum to some bad governance, I said I did not want to politicise the referendum and that I would not vote. I have seen the vote, and to me is important what citizens, what Romanians want. Because there was a large voter turnout in the referendum and because the Romanians want it, it is normal for us to listen to their will,” said Dancila.
She added that an extended revision of the Constitution can also be discussed within the working group to be set up.
“I think that in order to have an extensive – and I do not mean that is good or bad – an analysis needs to be done. A consensus has to be built because if we do not have those two thirds of votes, of course we cannot speak about an extensive revision of the Constitution. Yet, it might be good to consider other things alongside the two objectives mentioned in the referendum, but this again involves dialogue, discussion, sitting at the table, and seeing what is good to change, what support we have for each change and I think that can be done as part of the discussions inside the working group that we are going to set up,” said Dancila.
Dancila: We’ve understood the citizens’ vote in EP elections. We’ve also allowed the will of the citizens to be reflected in the election of county council chairmen too
Premier Viorica Dancila says that when adopting the GEO on direct elections for county council chairmen she took into consideration the peoples’ vote in the European Parliament elections, pointing out that she has allowed the will of the citizens to be reflected when it comes to this issue too.
When asked, at the end of the consultations at the Cotroceni Palace on Wednesday, whether she talked with President Klaus Iohannis about county council chairmen being elected in direct elections, Viorica Dancila stated: “I haven’t discussed this topic with the President. I believe the vote must be sovereign and any person elected by vote must take into account the result of the vote.”
The Premier says that until now the chairmen of county councils were elected on the basis of negotiations between the elected county councillors, and she considers that this office, which holds special importance for a county, must be held in line with the will of the citizens.
“Until now, county council chairmen were elected through negotiations. There are situations in which the chairman who chairs the county council may have won a small number of votes, may only have two representatives, but the negotiations resulted in them chairing the county council. I believe this office, an office of special importance for a county, must be held in line with the will of the citizens, expressed at the polls, and I believe this is very important. We have understood the citizens’ vote in the European Parliament elections and we have understood that this is the most important, the most democratic way of expression, we have allowed the will of the citizens to be reflected in the election of the county council chairman too,” Viorica Dancila explained.
Iohannis: I am inviting parliamentary parties to sign political pact for European Romania
President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday said he was inviting the parliamentary parties to sign a national agreement for a European Romania.
“The wide majority of parties agree that the results of this referendum must be implemented as the people voted, that Romania’s European path must be consolidated. In order to properly capitalise on this vote and consultations, I have decided to invite the parliamentary political parties to sign together a national agreement for the consolidation of Romania’s European path or a political pact for a European Romania,” the head of state said at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.