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Update: President  Iohannis: Can magistrates still be independent if there is a super mighty Justice Minister?
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Update: President Iohannis: Can magistrates still be independent if there is a super mighty Justice Minister?

President Klaus Iohannis has taken the first stance on the reasoning that the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) has released last week on the issue of recalling anti-graft chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi and also on the accusations launched during the weekend rally by Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea against magistrates and their alleged abuses against politicians.

After meeting the representatives of the Venice Commission at Cotroceni Palace on Tuesday, the head of state argued that the CCR decision comes „precisely in line with the PSD’s stance, which is trying to amputate the President’s power,” while wondering if magistrates could still be independent and what is the role of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) anymore if the justice minister has super-powers over them.

I’ve read the reasoning of the CCR’s ruling. I have said from the first time that I will read this reasoning until I understand it very well. So, we have a little bit more to read it. So, while reading the motivation, some things have come up to make me assess certain approaches in a new light. I have to admit that in the first instance, the reasoning is bringing to surface more questions than clarifications. But a subsequent more in-depth action will bring us closer to the truth,” said Klaus Iohannis.

The entire debate started around the anti-corruption fight. There is a legitimate question: if so many politicians are discontent, do we still need anti-corruption? The answer is clear and firm. Romania needs the anti-corruption fight and Romanians should be confident that it is a fair fight,” he pointed out, while stressing that the anti-corruption fight is a success in Romania and it will go on.

We can easily see that PSD is trying to amputate the president’s powers. A party is trying to amputate the president’s powers for the incumbent president has obviously different opinions than the Social Democrat majority in Parliament,” Iohannis argued, adding that the justice laws and the ANCOM law have been examples where the president’s power has been cut.

„Unfortunately, the CCR ruling comes in the precise line and logic to diminish the role of the President in the procedure of dismissing a prosecutor. And hence the questions: What is left from the Statute of prosecutors? Are they still independent in order to be efficient in the anti-corruption fight? Or are they taken under the minister’s subordination rather than under his authority, as the Constitution reads? Another question is: do we have a new super-Justice minister? Who decides and the President must execute? Without taking into account the CSM opinion? Then, what is still left from CSM? How can CSM carry out its main role if it doesn’t count anymore in the procedure of recalling a chief prosecutor?”, the Romanian head of state asked.

Iohannis also mentioned the possibility of a referendum to clarify justice matter in the Constitution. “I am willing to launch these questions into a public debate. A referendum can be held at the end of this debate. Maybe, a clarification is needed in the Constitution,” he explained.

Asked by the mass media representatives if the DNA head Laura Codruta Kovesi’s resignation is an option and if he talked to her about that, the President said they had had no discussion about a resignation and that this is not up to him.

“There is no parallel state”, president says

At the same time, the president retorted to the ruling coalition leaders’ latest accusations regarding the alleged abuses of the judiciary and of the so-called parallel state against them.

Iohannis said that „the parallel state” is one of the PSD’s inventions so that they could justify the controversial amendments on the justice laws.

Asked by the journalists to comment Dragnea’s statement that „NATO and EU have financed the parallel state”, Iohannis said.

It is a very bad and counterproductive statement. There is no parallel state in Romania, it is an invention made by the Social Democrats who try to motivate their anti-justice actions. There is one single state in Romania and I represent this state! I can assure Romanians that there is no parallel state in Romania and all the rest are fairy tales.

About Dragnea: „How dares a politician, who is also an offender, threaten magistrates?”

President Iohannis also slammed the warning launched by Liviu Dragnea against magistrates.

The magistrates have rightly raged, seeing that a politician, who is also an offender, is on TV, threatening prosecutors, after summoning a mediocre anti-judiciary rally. We cannot let the state enter a period of uncertainty for we’ll be off the course and we’ll find out that we have to give up democratic values for the sake of one guy who wants to be stronger than it’s healthy instead of enhancing the Romanian democracy,” Iohannis stated.

About Alina Grigoras Butu

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