Parliament passes law banning criminal convicts from running for president

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The plenary sitting of the Chamber of Deputies has passed on Wednesday a draft law that bans candidates who have criminal convictions  from running in the presidential elections.

Deputies have passed the bill by 223 votes “for”, one “against” and 22 abstentions, the legislative proposal for the amendment and completion of Law no. 370/2004 for the election of the President of Romania.

“People who, at the date of submission of the candidacy, have been definitively sentenced to imprisonment for intentional crimes, unless rehabilitation, post-conviction amnesty or decriminalization have intervened, are banned from running for Presidency”, according to an amendment of PSD, USR, PNL, UDMR and the group of national minorities, adopted by the plenary.

USR MP Stelian Ion stated that this important project was rejected by the Senate in 2017, because “at that time it was unthinkable that such an initiative would pass”, and asked the President of the Senate, Florin Cîţu, “to take out of the drawers ”and to put to the vote the citizens’ initiative “No criminals in public office”, in order to start the revision of the Constitution.

“After the Romanian society gave a very clear signal in the sense that it no longer wants criminals in public office, by the fact that almost one million Romanians signed the initiative to revise the Constitution” No criminals in public office “, all parties they retreated. This idea came from the bottom up, from the grassroots of society to the political parties. (…) What we have today is a small step forward. It is not a revision of the Constitution, it is a legislative change only for the position of President of Romania, it has certain vulnerabilities because the Venice Commission said that such regulations should be of constitutional rank “, the USR MP explained.

The current bill is drafted by the Liberals, initiated in 2017, said the leader of the PNL deputies, Gabriel Andronache, who announced that the second part of this legislative approach will follow on the plenary agenda – “without criminal convicts for the Parliament”. “It is very easy to explain that there has been no political consensus to adopt this regulation so far. This political consensus has been reached. (…) What the citizens have asked us to do will be fulfilled “, added Andronache.

AUR deputies abstained from voting because the amendment tabled by PSD, USR, PNL, UDMR and the group of national minorities “says without some criminals in public office”, argued the party leader, George Simion. “It’s not without criminals in public office, it’s just without some criminals in public office,” Simion said.

In retort, Gabriel Andronache stated that the amendment was in line with a decision of the Constitutional Court according to which the text must have the content contained in the amendment. “If we want to adopt a constitutional law, then we support the amendment, if we just want to do politics, without regulating the constitution, then maybe your opinion would be taken into account,” the PNL deputy added.

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