Update: Senate passes new controversial amendments on the Criminal Code

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The Senate has adopted the draft law amending the Criminal Code on Tuesday, by 74 votes to 28 and nine abstentions. The bill is to be also voted by the Chamber of Deputy, which is the decision-making body in this case.

The special parliamentary committee for the laws of justice has previously adopted, on Monday, the PSD proposal to introduce a threshold for abuse of office, the gross minimum wage of RON 1,900. The committee has also voted an amendment to repeal the article on negligence in office committee by the civil servant, part of the draft to amend the Criminal Code.

The PSD MPs have changed the phrase ‘patrimonial material benefit’ to ‘undue material benefit’. They have also amended article 297 of the Criminal Code regarding the abuse of office, by eliminating the word ‘non-patrimonial’. The amendment was adopted with 13 votes for and 7 against.

Another controversial amendment adopted was that a public servant is considered to have broken the law if his deed has brought a financial benefit to him or to his first and second degree relatives. At the same time, the special committee has deleted the provision according to which drafting, issuing or approving legislative acts by the Government or the Parliament could fall under the offense of abuse of office.

More details here.

The amendments have thus passed despite the Opposition’s boycott and although UDMR have not voted them.

Cseke Attila, leader of the UDMR senators, announced that UDMR would not endorse the draft law unless the amendments related to the abuse of office and negligence are rejected. Yet, the Magyars have assured the quorum of the sitting when the Opposition parties have left plenary hall.

UDMR is against the latest amendments operated on the abuse of office, namely against the decrease of the maximum jail time from seven to five years and against the new provision that considers the abuse of office as crime only if the offender obtains a financial benefit for his, husband/wife and first and second degree relatives.

UDMR cannot agree these two issues,” the leader of the UDMR senators said.

The representative of the Magyars have though assured the quorum of the plenary sitting after the Opposition had decided to boycott the vote.

MPs of the PNL, USR and PMP have left the plenary hall, in an attempt to damage the quorum. The USR lawmakers have displayed banners with the message „No criminals!” on the hall of the Senate.

However, the Opposition senators have returned to the plenary hall after realizing their move has not impact on the quorum, as 73 MPs were attending the plenary session, thus enabling the vote.

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