Update: Călin Popescu Tăriceanu resigns as Senate Speaker. ALDE threatens to oust Teodor Melescanu from the party

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Călin Popescu Tăriceanu has announced his resignation as Senate Speaker, after his party, ALDE, has quit ruling and stepped out of the Government. PSD senator Serban Valeca is taking over his position, considering that the MPs have just taken note that the position is becoming vacant during the plenary session of Monday. Tăriceanu has held the Senate Speaker office for the past 5 years.

The draft bill that made the position vacant has passed by 89 votes, with no vote against and no abstention. However, the senators have not voted Tariceanu’s successor now, this vote is to be cast in a future plenary session.

As for Tariceanu, in his speech delivered in the plenary session, he said he is not clinging tot this position, resuming the stance of “the justice system’s abuses”.

I did not cling to this position. (…) I will continue to be politically involved,” Tariceanu said addressing the Senate’s plenary session.

“Today is my last day as Senate President of Romania. It was, undoubtedly, an honor and privilege to be for five years at the helm of an institution whose history started more than a century and a half ago. In the name of this promise I have acted over these five years to be a fair, balanced and equidistant Senate Speaker. Moreover, I promised that I would be an involved president, that I would not attend passively to what is happening in the Romanian society and on the political scene. I have advocated for something that seems to me essential for our democracy, namely that the rights and freedoms of the citizen should be real and not just a slogan that many use in the electoral campaign. From this forum, not just once have I denounced the abuses of the justice system. (…) It is sad for me to note that, unfortunately, the Opposition has not understood this struggle to give back justice to the citizen, to remove the influence of the intelligence services from the act of justice and to release the judges from any pressure. They understood that ensuring the independence of justice is an assault on justice,” said Tariceanu, in the Senate plenary session.

He argued that it is natural he steps down from this position where he has been backed up by a political alliance that does not exist anymore.

Conflict around Melescanu’s nomination

The group of PSD senators decided to nominate former FM Teodor Meleşcanu at the helm of the Senate, with Viorica Dăncilă explaining that the seat has belonged to ALDE and PSD wants to be fair and respect this.

PNL has proposed Alina Gorghiu for Tariceanu’s former position.

However, the decision to nominate Melescanu, an ALDE member, for the vacant position of Senate Speaker stirred controversies within ALDE. Melescanu himself admitted: “not all the colleagues endorse me”. PM Dancila explained that Melescanu had accepted to be nominated for he does not agree the alliance his party has made with Pro Romania, led by Victor Ponta.

On top of all, ALDE has decided on Tuesday to endorse Ion Popa for the position of Senate Speaker, while also deciding that party members who accept positions without ALDE’s consent will be ousted. Teodor Melescanu is undoubtedly target by this decision. However, in the ALDE meeting, Melescanu has reportedly apologised to his party fellows for this situation.

Asked later this afternoon if there is any possibility of a bridge with PSD or an alliance for the local elections, Tariceanu replied that PSD should respond to this question, for the ruling party has been the one that “adopted an aggressive attitude towards ALDE”.
Questioned to comment the moves of some ALDE local branches which announced they will maintain the local alliance with PSD, Taricenau said sometimes alliances had worked, sometimes hadn’t .

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