National chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Ludovic Orban said on Tuesday that the party’s Executive Bureau adopted a constitutional revision draft, including a ban on convicted persons running in parliamentary and European elections.
“Today, the Executive Bureau adopted a draft for the revision of the Romanian Constitution following the will expressed by the Romanian citizens at the referendum on May 26. We adopted this draft, in which we introduced, besides the changes that are required as a result of the will expressed by the citizens of Romania at the referendum, a bill on integrity in holding public office, namely a ban on criminal convicts running for seats in the Romanian Parliament and the European Parliament,” Orban said at the end of a meeting of the PNL Executive Bureau.
He specified that the BEx decided to mandate the leaders of the PNL parliamentary groups, MP Raluca Turcan and Senator Florin Citu, to start a dialogue and discussions with the parliamentary groups, especially with those who signed the Pact on Strengthening the European Route of Romania, to operate the constitutional provisions ensuing the May 26 referendum.
“We decided on and approved the draft with which the leaders of the National Liberal Party (PNL) will be represented in the Special Committee on the Amendment of Electoral Laws, in which we clearly support the introduction of the postal voting for the elections to the European Parliamentary and the presidential elections. We also support an increase in the number of days Romanian citizens aboard can exercise their right to vote. We support internal organisation measures at the level of the electoral bureaus of the polling stations so as to streamline the voting procedure and increase the number of polling stations aboard. As for postal voting, we are for it to be extended also to Romanian citizens who reside in Romania but who, for reasons beyond their control, on election day are in other places than those where they can exercise their right to vote,” Orban said.
Contents of PNL’ s bill amending the Constitution: Constitutional review of GEOs can be triggered by the President and the ICCJ too, persons who received final convictions cannot run for public office, interdictions regarding the granting of amnesty and pardon for corruption crimes, judicial laws cannot be regulated via GEOs
PNL’s bill amending the Constitution stipulates that the constitutional review of government emergency ordinances (GEOs) can be triggered by the Romanian President or the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) too, that persons who received final convictions cannot run for public office, contains interdictions regarding the granting of amnesty and collective pardon for corruption crimes, and establishes that the structure and functioning of the Superior Council of the Magistracy, the courts of law, the Public Ministry and the Court of Audit cannot be regulated via GEOs, thus modifying seven articles of the Constitution.
According to the PNL, the topics of national interest validated by the May 26 referendum and impacting constitutional directives are the following: interdicting the granting of amnesty and pardon for corruption crimes; interdicting the adoption of government emergency ordinances in the field of crimes, punishments and structure of the judiciary.
“Correlatively, it is necessary to include in the bill the regulation that interdicts the right to be elected in the case of persons who received final prison sentences for crimes perpetrated with intent, the proposed legislative text being a copy of the popular initiative greenlighted by the Constitutional Court and currently undergoing the parliamentary procedure for debate and adoption. Including it in the present bill allows for a unitary legislative process and the holding of a single referendum to amend the Constitution,” the Liberals point out.
Another topic is extending the right to trigger the constitutional review of government emergency ordinances to the Romanian President or the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
The bill integrates the initiative regarding the integrity of public office, included in the Cotroceni Pact.
The Liberals propose that Article 37 of the Constitution – “Right to be elected” – be supplemented with a new paragraph: “(3) Citizens that received final prison sentences for crimes perpetrated with intent cannot be elected to local public administration offices, to the House and Senate, or as President of Romania until a situation that removes the consequences of the conviction emerges.”
A simultaneous modification also concerns Article 38, “Right to be elected to the European Parliament”: “Following Romania’s accession to the European Union, Romanian citizens shall have the right to elect and be elected to the European Parliament. Citizens who have received final prison sentences for crimes perpetrated with intent cannot be elected to the European Parliament until a situation that removes the consequences of the conviction emerges.”
Another modification concerns Article 73 – “Classes of laws” –, where “the granting of amnesty and collective pardon for corruption crimes is forbidden” is added to the paragraph which states that organic laws shall regulate the granting of amnesty or collective pardon.
Article 74 on “Legislative initiative” is another constitutional article amended.
The following phrase is added to the paragraph which stipulates that “a legislative initiative of the citizens may not touch on matters concerning taxation, international affairs, amnesty or pardon”: “a legislative initiative of the members of the House or Senate may not consist of the granting of amnesty and collective pardon for corruption crimes.”
Likewise, the paragraph which states that the Government exercises its legislative initiative by introducing bills to the Chamber that has the competence to adopt them as a first-notified Chamber is supplemented as follows: “The Government’s legislative initiative may not consist of granting amnesty and collective pardon for corruption crimes.”
Paragraph d) of Article 94 of the Constitution, which refers to other prerogatives of the President, is amended so that even though the President grants individual pardon, “the granting of individual pardon for corruption crimes is forbidden.”
Paragraph (6) of Article 115 on “Legislative delegation” is amended and supplemented, and will read as follows: “Emergency ordinances cannot be adopted in the field of constitutional laws, in the field of organic laws whose regulatory object is stipulated by Article 73, Paragraph (3), Letters h), i) and l), cannot affect the status of fundamental institutions of the state, the rights, freedoms and duties stipulated in the Constitution, electoral rights, and cannot establish steps for forcibly transferring assets to public property.” The three paragraphs refer to: crimes, punishments and their execution; the granting of amnesty or collective pardon; the structure and functioning of the Superior Council of the Magistracy, the courts, the Public Ministry and the Court of Audit.
Article 146 on the prerogatives of the Constitutional Court is also amended.
A new paragraph is introduced, according to which the CCR “rules on the constitutionality of ordinances, when notified by the Romanian President, 50 House lawmakers or 25 Senators, the High Court of Cassation and Justice, or the Ombudsman.”
At the same time, Paragraph d) is amended, the provision according to which constitutionality challenges can be brought up directly by the Ombudsman being eliminated.
The new paragraph reads: “d) decides on constitutionality challenges to laws and ordinances, raised in courts of law or commercial arbitration.”
The bill amending the constitution in order to transpose the referendum was approved by PNL’s Executive Bureau, the party whips being mandated to discuss it with the other Opposition parties so that it could enter the legislative procedure, since it requires the support of one fourth of House or Senate lawmakers.
The amending of the Constitution can be triggered by the Romanian President at the Government’s proposal, or by at least one fourth of the number of House or Senate lawmakers, as well as by at least 500,000 citizens of voting age.
The bill must be adopted by the House and Senate with a majority of at least two thirds in each Chamber.
The amending of the Constitution is put to a referendum.