The vote protecting Dan Sova against detention stirs more controversies
The Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) said on Thursday that the recent situations in Parliament blocked or pressed the justice action, noting that the MPs and former ministers’ immunity should not hamper the judicial procedures.
CSM expressed concern regarding the recent gridlocks in Parliament related to the Parliament’s blocking the prosecution or arrest of some MPs facing corruption charges. CSM underlines that all citizens, regardless of their position are equal in the eye of law.
Romanian Parliament vetoed three immunity-lifting requests since the beginning of the year.
The Senate rejected on Wednesday the National Anti-corruption Directorate’s preventive arrest request of PSD senator Dan Sova, while also vetoing on February 12 the Prosecutor’s Office prosecution request against PNL senator Varujan Vosganian.
On March 11, Chamber of Deputies rejected the prosecution request in the case of UDMR deputy Laszlo Borbely.
Tangly voting procedure, possible Constitution breach
The National Liberal Party informed after the vote on Sova Wednesday that it considers challenging the decision on Sova at the Constitutional Court, while contemplating the judicial resources to do that at this moment.
The vote blocking Sova’s arrest was kind of controversial, as it was not followed by an official decision of the Senate. Practically, Dan Sova, former PSD spokesperson and former Transport minister for three months last year, got out of the pre-trial detention, as the quorum for the request in his case was not met. However there were 79 votes against 67 and five abstentions, but 85 favorable votes were needed for the approval. The total number of senators is 168, so the majority would be 85.
“The decision was that in Sova case the vote would be by normal majority, like for organic laws. The number of votes were not enough in Sova’s case,” liberal senator Cristian Bodea said, adding there was a decision of the Senate Speaker, Calin Popescu Tariceanu.
Precisely for this reason, Liberals are now searching judicial solutions to appeal the vote, on the ground that it doesn’t respect the Constitution article stipulating that the Chamber’s decision regarding the arrest approval must be enforced with the majority of MPs present in the plenum session.
The move was slammed also by former Romania’s president Traian Basescu, who said that the Senate Speaker made a serious abuse of office in Sova’s case, also breaking previous rulings of the Constitutional Court.
Basescu explained for B1TV that Tariceanu should be sued for abuse of office, assessing that the Senate will not issue any resolution in this case as it was not considered any voting process, so PNL will have nothing to appeal at CC. In retort, PM Victor Ponta said Basescu is usually telling “so many lies and nonsense.”
However, president of Constitutional Court Augustin Zegrean mentioned on Thursday that Constitutional Court could be challenged also for the lack of a decision. Yet, Zegrean avoided commenting whether a potential appeal of the Liberals would have judicial ground and if Constitution was infringed on Wednesday in Sova’ s case.
President Iohannis asks Constitutional Court to settle constitutional conflict
President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday sent a request to the Constitutional Court President, asking him to solve the legal constitutional conflict between the Public Ministry (the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice) and the Parliament, pointing out that the Parliament’s attitude in cases such as the one of senator Dan Sova led to an institutional gridlock.
According to a press release issued by the Presidential Administration, the head of state says that the Parliament failed to align the legal provisions with the Constitution regarding the necessary majority to adopt the arrest requests and this caused the justice activity’s blocking.
Also on Thursday, DNA Chief Prosecutor Codruta Kovesi sent a letter to CSM president asking the institution to notice Constitutional Court in order to solve the constitutional conflict following Senate’s denial to answer the prosecutors’ request regarding Sova detention.
Foreign media also reported on Dan Sova’s avoiding arrest due to the Senate vote, also reminding the stance adopted by some Western embassies in Bucharest, by issuing press releases in which they expressed concern over the vote.