President Iohannis – consultations with opposition parties on the referendum on justice. PNL, USR, PMP leaders supportive

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President Klaus Iohannis has had consultations with the opposition parties on Thursday, on the issue of the referendum on justice on May 26.

PNL, USR, PMP, UDMR had talks with the head of state, along with the national minorities.

After the first round of talks, President Klaus Iohannis stated that “PSD’s assault against justice” must receive a response from Romanians.

“We discussed about the situation of judiciary. All those attending discussions today voiced concern about the development on judiciary. I told them directly that, in my opinion, this assault of PSD against judiciary that has been lasting for 2 years, must get a response from Romanians. And this response was obviously a referendum,” the head of state said.

The President mentioned that all the parties attending consultations today “have embraced the idea of a referendum” and showed that Romanians must be encouraged to participate in this referendum.

Klaus Iohannis also stated that he would formulate the questions for the referendum after he receives an answer to the consultation letter on the referendum due on May 26.

Most probably, there will be two questions on the ballot paper: “Do you agree with banning amnesty and pardon for corruption deeds?” and “Do you agree with banning the government from adopting emergency ordinances on criminal matters, sentences and judiciary organisation?”

PNL Chairman Ludovic Orban said after the consultations with the President that “the attack from offenders should cease.”

“All the damages made by PSD-ALDE to the judiciary must be repaired. PNL stands by the President and fully supports the referendum. We urge all Romanians to decide that criminals in Romania cannot avoid justice for corruption offenses, whatever the political power is. If the referendum is approved, amendments to the Constitution are needed on the individuals’ right to run and to be elected. We will initiate the amendments and we’ll start procedures to amend the legal framework. In regard to emergency ordinances, PNL has initiated a draft bill allowing other institutions besides the Ombudsman to challenge them to the Constitutional Court. Although this Parliament supports the criminals and is against the judiciary, I believe Romanians will know at the next elections to elect a new legislating body able to amend the legislation in accordance with the country’s needs,” Orban said.

In turn, USR leader Dan Barna said after the consultations at Cotroceni Palace that the two questions on justice for the referendum are very close to the topics announced by the President.

“We have discussed about the questions. He told us they are very close to the topics mentioned in the letter addressed to the Parliament. Romania needs to amend the Constitution. In the current form we have a Presidency emptied of attributions. If we recall the Kovesi case, the president’s attributions have been artificially diminished by the Constitutional Court decision.” Barna said on Thursday.

People’s Party Movement (PMP) leader Eugen Tomac said after the talks with the President that his delegation has proposed a question for the referendum for reducing the number of MPs, or the elimination of special pensions or electing the mayors in two rounds.

“PMP has had a good meeting with President Iohannis.. We had three proposals, because we want the referendum to be a success. (…) We believe another question could be added, involving the amendment of a law right after the referendum and not the amendment of the Constitution. The referendum in 2009 wanted to disband one of the chambers of Parliament and involved the amendment of the Constitution. We proposed the President to analyse if he wants to introduce another question. (…) One refers to cutting the number of MPs to 300, i.e. 100 senators and 200 deputies. The second one is about eliminating the special pensions and the third one would be to elect the mayor in two rounds,” Tomac said.

PSD and ALDE delegations are expected to consultations on Friday, starting at 11.00h and 12.00h respectively, but the leaders of the two ruling parties, Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu said they will not come to Cotroceni Palace.

In retort to the President’s first round of consultations with the Opposition parties, ALDE chairman Calin Popescu Tariceanu told Digi 24 late on Thursday that he won’t go to Cotroceni tomorrow, accusing Iohannis that he just wants to inform parties on the referendum, and not to consult with them. PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea also said he won’t participate.

President Klaus Iohannis announced on April 1 he will send to Parliament a new consultation to extend the area for referendum, to make it more effective and more powerful.

Four days later the head of state announced the topics for the May 26 referendum.

The first topic is to ban amnesty and pardon for corruption deeds. The second one is to ban the Government from adopting emergency ordinances on criminal offenses, along with the right of other authorities to notify the Constitutional Court on ordinances.

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