Chamber’s Legal Committee vetoes prosecution request against PM Ponta

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The Chamber’s Legal Committee on Monday vetoed the prosecution request against premier Victor Ponta, after 18 members of the committee voted against the prosecutors’ request. There were only 7 votes in favor and one abstention. According to the committee’s vicepresident Ciprian Nica, there were some debates during the sitting, but they cannot be unveiled as they are confidential.

Thus, the Legal Committee will draft a report saying that no criminal proceedings should be initiated against Ponta. The plenum session tomorrow will have the final say on the prosecution initiation.

PM Victor Ponta was heard at the Chamber’s legal committee before the vote. After the hearing, the premier informed he told deputies that political actions cannot be censored by a prosecutor.

“I told them what I think as a magistrate, not as a deputy or as a politician, namely that political actions cannot be censored by a prosecutors, but only the legal actions, as the Constitution also stipulates. The other decisions, what the party decided, what the Parliament voted, what the President signes as decree, are all political actions and nothing else, any other interpretation is absurd,” Ponta stated.

Before the hearing, previously in the morning, PM Ponta was declaring that he should be heard as soon as possible, as things should not be delayed in his respect.

“I have one request for the Legal Committee’s members: let’s not delay things. I will come at the committee at 4 p.m. to say my point of view. I don’t need to study my file or to come with a lawyer. I come only to say my point of view (…) My colleagues from the legal committee make a report and I would like the vote in the plenum to be tomorrow (Tuesday),” the premier said while leaving the Legal committee’s session in the morning, which debated the Prosecutor General’s request to start prosecution against the prime minister.

Asked if he is curious to see what’s in the five volumes that prosecutors sent to the Legal committee’s deputies, Ponta answered: “The lawyers will study them, after that.”

MEP Preda asks Ponta’s hearing in the European Parliament

EPP MEP Cristian Preda asked on Monday morning that PM Victor Ponta should give explanations in the European Parliament.

“I’ve already asked this morning that the European Parliament debate the political crisis in Romania during the session starting this evening. I think that Victor Ponta’s hearing is mandatory considering the democratic deficit conditions in the Romanian Parliament. I believe he should account for this thing and in my view, the solution is a European one,” Preda argued.

“If Victor Ponta isn’t to yield an inch, this will have an impact on maintain CVM, on Romania’s marginalization. Let’s not figure there are only domestic costs for the crisis that Victor Ponta is maintain. There are also serious external costs,” the MEP added.

Reactions

Social Democrat members along with the other parties in the ruling coalition seem to stay by the prime minister’s side.

Although the legal committee has not had enough to study all the file’s volumes, the committee’s  vice chairman, Social Democrat Ciprian Nica has already unveiled his intention to veto the prosecutor general’s request.

“If you ask me personally, without mentioning the party I belong to, I am against it, as I don’t see the procedure normal,” he said.

Senator Dan Sova, in whose file PM Ponta is now prosecuted, stated on Monday while leaving the Ilfov Police station stated that Victor Ponta has done nothing illegal, so he didn’t see any reason why the premier should resign on that. Dan Sova is subject to legal restrictions pending trial in Turceni Rovinari case.

Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, president of the Liberal Progressive Party which is part of the ruling coalition, also commented on the case, slamming the prosecutor dealing with Ponta file. In his view, it’s abnormal that Ponta should be charged with conflict of interest, wondering “if it’s normal that in a democratic country a 27 year-old prosecutor should topple two governments in two months.” Tariceanu opinated it’s “a coup d’etat” attempt.

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