Romania’s Parliament has operated both in committees and in plenary as it is a constitutional obligation, an open letter sent to Prime Minister Ludovic Orban by the leadership of the Chamber of Deputies reads.
“Esteemed Mr. Prime Minister, discussions were held at the sitting of the Standing Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies on 27 April 2020 on the statements you made in the public space regarding the interruption of Parliament’s activities during the state of emergency period and your possible participation in parliamentary debates after the resumption of parliamentary activity. The Standing Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies informs you that, throughout this period, the Romanian Parliament has always functioned, both in committees and in plenary meetings, being, as a matter of fact, a constitutional obligation, provided for by art. 93 of the Constitution of Romania, republished. An eloquent proof of Parliament’s functioning is the very approval, in the joint meeting of the two chambers, of the state of emergency throughout Romania and its extension, respectively,” reads the document signed by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Marcel Ciolacu.
According to the document, throughout this period, Parliament has carried out its work through a procedure of debate and remote electronic voting, in compliance with the rules imposed and the recommendations submitted by the authorities with powers during the state of emergency.
“At the same time, the Standing Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies reminds you that Parliament’s role in the rule of law is that of the sole legislative authority of the country, as provided for in Article 61(1) of the Constitution of Romania, republished. Such statements, which you have transmitted in the public space, induce a false image of the activity of the legislative authority, requiring a restoration of the truth regarding the activity and role of the Romanian Parliament. To this end, the Standing Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies considers it necessary to ask you to make the necessary corrections in regard to your previous statements,” the letter reads.
At the end of the Standing Bureau’s meeting, the leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) deputies, Alfred Simonis, maintained that Prime Minister Ludovic Orban “does not recognize the functionality of the Romanian Parliament and wants some kind of dictatorship, in which only he and the Government legislate, although Parliament is the priority legislative forum of the country”.
“And this while Parliament has granted two state of emergency requests, passed several laws that the PNL [the National Liberal Party] challenged at the CCR [Constitutional Court of Romania, ed. n.] – just to recall, the suspension of bank rates for Romanians and the suspension of utility bills, both laws passed by the PSD in the Chamber of Deputies – the decision-making chamber. (…) Ludovic Orban also challenges the online functioning of the vote in the Romanian Parliament, because the Standing Bureau and the debates are conducted physically, in the plenary of Parliament’s meeting. He challenges the functioning of the online vote, given that Mr Orban led the Government for two weeks in the online system. Government meetings were held at Villa Lac 1 when Ludovic Orban was in quarantine. (…) It is yet another proof that Mr Orban has a troubled mind at times,” Simonis said in Parliament.
On 24 April, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said he would appear in Parliament when the activity is resumed, if invited.
“I think I have announced every parliamentarian. Where should I go to Parliament? That lawmakers stay home and give birth to all sorts of legislative initiatives in isolation, without serious contact. (…) I regularly inform citizens of the decisions we make, the measures we take. (…) When the parliamentary activity resumes and, through a parliamentary or constitutional process, I am invited to Parliament, I will certainly be present,” Orban stressed, according to Agerpres.