Bucharest’s public life has recently been dominated by disputes between the ruling parties and opposition as well as by the strife lately opposing politicians to magistrates
Romania's new Liberal government
led by Ludovic Orban, which came to power in November upon the sacking of
Viorica Dancila's PSD cabinet through a no-confidence vote, has proved its
vulnerability. The Liberals, who have only 20% MPs, have soon realized that
even the backing they can get from their USR and PMP partners may not allow
them to promote their projects.
Depending on the punctual and
selective support of a conjectural majority, the Executive in Bucharest
preferred to repeatedly assume responsibility for a series of legislative
amendments. The latest, on returning to the two-round voting system for mayors,
has sparked off debates once again.
As other voices in Romania's
political life and civil society, Prime Minister Orban argues that the latest
amendments to voting legislation has been imposed by the necessity to increase
the mayors' legitimacy. The present system, under which the candidate who
musters the largest number of votes in the first round wins the election, led
to strange situations as it happened in Galati, south-eastern Romania, where
the present mayor was voted by only 9% of the voters.
The Social-Democrats (PSD) have
blocked the draft in the special Parliament committee and have made public
their intention to table a censure motion, a move also backed by the Democratic
Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania, which wants to preserve its political
monopoly in numerous cities and towns in Transylvania.
The PSD interim leader Marcel
Ciolacu says the Prime Minister shouldn't have come before Parliament to assume
responsibility, after the Constitutional Court had already ruled the procedure
as unconstitutional when referring to documents under debates by the
Legislature. Ciolacu has added that if the censure motion fails to get the
right endorsement, the PSD will notify the Court.
The Social Democrats have also
reported the issue to the Venice Commission but the European Parliament has
turned down their request that the issue be discussed in plenary session in Strasbourg.
Another hot issue these days proves
to be the abrogation of the so-called special pensions, which is currently
opposing politicians to magistrates. On Tuesday, the Chamber of Deputies passed
with a land-sliding majority of 247 yes-votes and none against, the elimination
of special pensions for MPs, judges, prosecutors and the auxiliary specialized
personnel of courts and prosecutor offices.
The move also affects the civil
servants with special statutes, members of the diplomatic and consular corps,
of the Constitutional Court as well as aviation personnel. All these categories
have benefited from pensions exceeding their work contributions, which were 15
times bigger than average pensions in Romania.
Judges with the High Court of
Cassation and Justice as well as the Higher Council of Magistracy decided to
notify the Constitutional Court. According to the magistrates the law on
scrapping special pensions would be entirely unconstitutional, brutally
infringing on the principles of democracy and inamovility of judges.
(translated by bill)