The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies met on Monday in a solemn sitting dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution in force.
The meeting was chaired by the presidents of the two legislative forums, Florin Citu and Marcel Ciolacu.
Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca and the President of the Constitutional Court, Valer Dorneanu have also participated.
The session kicked off with the performance of the national anthem.
The presidents of the two chambers, as well as the representatives of the parliamentary groups held speeches.
PM Ciuca: Constitution in force represents the cornerstone of our democratic society
The in force Constitution represents the cornerstone of our democratic society, and state reform is still needed, PM Nicolae Ciuca said on Monday.
“In the national referendum, carried out on December 8, 1991, Romanians voiced their being in favour of democracy, freedom and rule of law. (…) The Constitution act represents the cornerstone of our democratic society, inspired and made legit by the ideals of the December 1989 Revolution. (…) I believe state reform is needed (…) to put to the core the citizens concerns, to efficiently increase the quality of public services and to enhance the accountability of public office holders,” the Prime Minister told Parliament’s solemn sitting devoted to the 30th anniversary since the adoption of the Constitution of Romania.
COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of the state ensuring the balance between democratic liberties and the right to life of all citizens
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of the state ensuring the balance between democratic liberties and the right to life of all citizens Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca said, mentioning that the state of alert is just as important as the need to preserve rights and liberties and taking all the necessary measures to overcome this crisis.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown once more how important it is to ensure balance between democratic liberties and the right to life that the state must guarantee to all, including by medical services that all Romanian citizens should benefit in equal measure. The state of alert, is, together with the legitimate and legal limitations of citizens’ liberties in a restricted timeframe, just as important as the need to preserve the rights and freedoms that give essence to the democratic state. The need for this balance is obvious today when we are going through a period of health crisis in which some regulations are necessary to combat COVID-19. We must surpass together this period and I will take all the measures necessary for the country to surpass this crisis with the support of experts and specialty personnel, the state institutions, in collaboration with European and international partners, but especially with the support of the citizens of Romania,” said Ciuca, at the solemn session of Parliament dedicated to the 30th anniversary since the adoption of the Constitution.
According to the Prime Minister, at the center of the Government’s preoccupations are the Romanian citizen and the common good.
“Together with all the ministers of this Government we commit to doing everything in our power so that the economic, social and health situation of Romanians to improve. People have legitimate expectations from us to nurture respect for the rule of law, to defend truth, justice, social unity and solidarity. We work for the citizens, taking at the appropriate time, in good faith and without partisanship, decisions that would lead to a life in safety, to development, to respect for the dignity of all and a better life,” Nicolae Ciuca added.
The Prime Minister asked the support of MPs and of citizens to build a “more powerful and prosperous” country.
“Our objective is, by the measures we will implement, to ensure the development and prosperity of our country. The constitutional values and liberties exist in each of us, they bind us together, make us stronger as a nation, and the joint ideals represent the bond between citizens and state institutions. That is why, I am asking for your support, but also that of all citizens to build a more powerful and prosperous country, bringing people together around a common objective: the development and welfare of Romania and Romanians,” he said.
Constitutional Court president: The country’s fundamental law – a genuine Bible
President of the Constitutional Court, Valer Dorneanu, underlined on Monday that the country’s fundamental law represents “a genuine Bible” and must be revised “responsibly, wisely, with a sense of duty towards the people”.
“In my capacity as guarantor of the supremacy of the Constitution (…) I would like to remind you that the fundamental law of the country is a genuine Bible, and it is by no coincidence that at the beginning of our activity each of us takes the oath of allegiance with the hand on the Constitution and on the Bible. We celebrate today 30 years since the ‘moment zero’, since the setting of the statal milestone of Romanian democracy, 30 years since the beginning of a consequential period for the Romanian nation, of an epoch desired to be one of freedom and hope, of trust and enthusiasm to succeed the long, oppressive and dark years of communism, 30 years since the adoption of the Constitution of Romania,” Dorneanu told the plenary sitting of Parliament that marked 30 years since the adoption of the Constitution.
He brought to mind that the design of a new fundamental law was no easy task, given the need to get the society out of the behavioral automatisms and attitudes unwittingly formed under the burden of the times, during the half century spent in the communist regime. It was also necessary to bring a new, democratic lease of life, in line with the European spirit, capable of resonating with the aspirations and ideals of the December 1989 Revolution, and at the same time provide concrete and efficient legal mechanisms that met people’s expectations, the president of the Constitutional Court explained.
Valer Dorneanu highlighted the desire of the members of the Constituent Assembly to elaborate a fundamental law of the Romanian state that would be in accordance with the relevant international standards, that would encompass the European democratic heritage and would elevate the legal, political and economic life of the Romanian society to a level similar to that of the states with democratic systems consolidated by a long tradition.
“For this overwhelming creative endeavor, the Constituent Assembly (…) had 18 months. Let us appreciate and respect this tremendous effort made with all conviction and in good faith. Of course, being a human creation, our Constitution could not be perfect, without flaw, but its content manages to provide enough touchstones for a system to be built on it allowing the proper functioning of the public institutions and of political and economic life overall. In time, as a result of social evolution, of the development of the complex of interpersonal and inter-institutional relations, of the reshaping of the social and political landscape, certain aspects no longer matched the new realities, which were different from those considered in the original Constituent Assembly. This is exactly the reason why the possibility of revision is enshrined in the Constitution, and 2003 was the moment when our supreme law was refreshed,” Dorneanu went on to say.
He also expressed his regret that the idea of revising the Constitution was “not infrequently used as an electoral stake”.
“But the revision of the Constitution must be done responsibly, wisely, with a sense of duty towards the people, with the sincere desire to benefit the act, and not out of a unilateral, even if inspired, desire. Unfortunately, the idea of revising the Constitution was not infrequently used as an electoral stake, devoid of serious substance in terms of motivation and rational justification, and was transformed into an instrument of manipulation for electoral gain on the back of unrealizable promises. Such a destructive attitude cannot but sow doubt, induce a state of uncertainty about the constitutional order, weakening the very democratic construction of the state. Fortunately, probably anticipating such opportunistic initiatives, the legislator has instituted a complex revision procedure,” Dorneanu said.
According to him, “in the political battle, the idea of always blaming the failures and non-fulfillments of the political class on the alleged imperfections of the Constitution should be set aside.”
“The state mechanism will be able to function perfectly on the basis of the current constitutional regulation if the provisions of the fundamental law are observed both in letter and spirit; the rule of law, which is an essential requirement of the state governed by law should be a real beacon, a guide for all participants in public life. (…) Many happy returns to the Constitution of Romania!,” Valer Dorneanu said in the conclusion of his address.
Citu: Constitutional norms will have to be adjusted to reality we live in
The President of the Senate, Florin Citu, pleaded from the Parliament rostrum, for the amendment of the Fundamental Law, deeming that constitutional norms will have to be adjusted to the reality we live in.
“PNL [National Liberal Party] was always the party dedicated 100 pct to the European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Romania, protecting the values of the rule of law and the development of a democratic society. This is not a moment for celebration, but one for evaluation for the Constitution and for all that means the institutional organization of the Romanian state. Reforms are inevitable because that’s what citizens want. In time, with professionalism, without passion, politics and hidden interests, we will have to modernize its structures, the way in which they function and how they serve the citizen. Constitutional norms will have to be adjusted to the reality we live in,” said the Liberal leader in the solemn session of Parliament dedicated to the anniversary of 30 years since the adoption of the Constitution.
Citu hailed the fact that the governing programme includes the possibility of amending the Constitution “in case an authentic constitutional moment occurs.”
Chamber Speaker Ciolacu: Clarification as to the President’s duties should be introduced in the Constitution
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Marcel Ciolacu declared that a clarification as to the president’s duties should be introduced in the Constitution, as well as a constructive vote of no confidence.
“In general, I believe that the Fundamental Law must strengthen the institutions so that we have a state capable of guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of its citizens. (…) Secondly, I believe that an effective government system is one that generates a mutual control between state powers and does not allow any institutional actor to concentrate power in its hands. Unfortunately, this fundamental principle has not always found its application in practice in Romania. I have often witnessed a process of personalization of power. Those who have come to hold various positions in the state have shaped the institution according to their own desires and interests. Eventually, this coercion has led to a disruption of the balance between state powers and to conflict. We need to think whether it is time to overcome the anguish of the communist dictatorship in what regards the state and the role of the president,” Ciolacu said in a joint plenary solemn session of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution in force by the Constituent Assembly.
He added that a balanced system was established three decades ago for citizens to directly elect their president, but his powers were limited so that he would not become a ‘dictator’.
Ciolacu mentioned he would like there would be a certain interest in parliament in regulating the constructive vote of no confidence, based on the German model.
Csoma Botond: We need Constitution amendment; national minorities become constiuting factors of Romanian state
The leader of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) deputies, Csoma Botond, stated, on Monday, at the solemn session of Parliament dedicated to the Constitution, that the fundamental law must be amended, in the sense of becoming a parliamentary republic, mentioning that it is also necessary for “national minorities to become constituting factors of the Romanian state.”
“The adoption of the Constitution in 1991 was a very important step on the path to forging a democratic society after decades of totalitarianism. Sure, that Constitution of 1991 reflected both the political moment, as well as the existing parliamentary majority or the majority in the Constitutive Assembly, but it also reflected that euphoria because people were finally free to say their opinion freely in this country. (…) The idea of a semi-presidential republic was chosen, which is not similar to France, nor to the United States. (…) Here the Prime Minister is not subordinate, but the President designates the candidate for the position of Prime Minister and if we look in the past 15 years there has been a major conflict (…) especially when we speak politically, of cohabitation between the President and the Prime Minister and I believe this permanent conflict, which has existed in the Executive branch, has done Romania no service and from this point of view I believe we need a constitutional amendment to straighten out some matters,” said the UDMR deputy.
He said that it’s necessary to amend the Constitution in regards to Parliament as well.
“We propose to maintain this bicameral system, but with separate attributions for the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. And we can think of a distinct system to elect the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Surely that through the 1991 Constitution there was a mechanism and balance instituted, which in many cases functioned, in many cases didn’t work, for example when the President of Romania, in many cases, I believe and we in the UDMR believe, regardless who the President of Romania was, exceeded his constitutional attributions, not having a mediation activity and having a mainly political activity in certain moments in this country,” Csoma Botond added.
The deputy stated that a discussion on the status of minorities in Romania also needs to be had, mentioning that certain documents adopted by the Supreme Council for the Country’s Defence (CSAT) and other institutions “national minorities represent a risk factor to national minorities,” adding that “after 30 years it’s time (…) for national minorities to become constituting factors of the Romanian state,” as well as that a reconversion in the executive power could also mark Romania’s becoming a parliamentary republic, as the EU member-states are parliamentary republic as a majority.
USR’s Mihail: The Constitution of modern, free and prosperous Romania should have started with Point 8 of the Proclamation of Timisoara
The Constitution of modern, free and prosperous Romania should have started with Point 8 of the Proclamation of Timisoara, with the conscious and assumed parting with the totalitarian past, Save Romania Union (USR) senator leader Radu Mihail declared in Monday’s joint plenary solemn session of Parliament dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution.
“We are a state that is slipping into failure and the 1991 Constitution is no stranger to what is currently happening. The Constitution of modern, free and prosperous Romania should have started with Point 8 in Timisoara [the Proclamation of Timisoara], with the conscious and assumed parting with the totalitarian past. The 1991 Constitution came after the “Sunday of the Blind Man” [e.n. – name given by the opposition to the elections of May 20, 1990, which coincided with the holiday] in 1990 and established the restoration of former communist and Securitate [e.n. – communist secret police] agents in Romania. It was written in the image and likeness of its recipient and author, Ion Iliescu, also known as a communist with a human face, and Antonie Iorgovan, also known as a communist with a law degree. Romania’s constitution validated in the 1991 referendum was written by a president of the Association of Communist Students of the University of Bucharest for the president of the Union of Communist Youth. 30 years ago (…) I was asking people who were going to vote for the Constitution if they read the text and why they were voting for it. The answer was about the same for everyone – Ion Iliescu told us it was good. USR appeared because the Romanians were tired of being told by a chief and his cronies what to do,” Mihail said.
He added that now the “system’s people” keep talking about changing the Constitution, so that the president is no longer elected by the Romanians, “but by them”.
“People without a face want the position of president of the Romanians to be put up for sale and traded between parliamentary groups, a currency in political exchanges, far from the eyes of the world and the eyes of the citizen. USR has defended, is defending and will defend the rule of law and the values of liberal democracy from all attempts to put state institutions, whatever they may be, at the disposal of criminals, tax avoiders, thieves from the state budget and the political conspirators who back them,” Radu Mihail added.
Muzzled Sosoaca: The Constitution is the Romanians’ Bible. In the last 2 years you have killed it
Senator Diana Sosoaca attended, on Monday, Parliament’s joint plenary solemn session dedicated to the anniversary of the Constitution, with a muzzle, claiming that the fundamental rights and freedoms of Romanians have been annulled by Parliament, by the president and by the government.
“The Constitution is the Romanians’ Bible. For 30 years you have been violating the Romanian Constitution step by step. (….) In the last 2 years you have killed it. You cannot demand a change of the Constitution, because you have took an oath on this Constitution not to change it, but to respect it. It is not possible for this Constitution, which has brought you here, with all your rights and adjoining obligations, to be violated by you, to demand that it be changed, given that you do not even respect this one. (…) I asked Saint Nicholas to give me a gift for the anniversary of the Constitution. This is what he left me. It is a muzzle, by which the Constitution, the fundamental rights and freedoms have been annulled by the Parliament, the President and the Government, said Diana Sosoaca.
She said the state of alert violates the rule of law.
“I ask the CCR [Constitutional Court of Romania] representative to have more courage, as he had in Decision 457 of 2020, in which they mentioned that the state of alert violates the rule of law, is artificially created and there is no constitutional basis for its existence. Long live free Romania, long live the right to free speech. Down with the muzzle!,” she also stated.
Compiled from Agerpres