Less than two years after she was appointed, Romania’s Ombudsman is now dismissed.
The Romanian Parliament on Wednesday
dismissed Renate Weber from her position as Ombudsman with 247 MPs voting in
favour and 32 against. The parties in the ruling coalition, namely the Liberal
Party, the Save Romania Union and PLUS Alliance and the Democratic Union of
Ethnic Hungarians, accuse her of overstepping her powers and violating the Constitution
and say she did not support the authorities and did not initiate actions with
respect to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism and did not investigate accusations
of illegal actions from the administration or of corruption from public
The chair of the Senate's
legal committee, the Liberal MP Iulia
Scântei, explains why the legal committees also previously rejected the
Ombudsman's activity reports:
"The Ombudsman did not act constantly in the relationship
with Parliament and the other authorities, based on the principle of loyal
cooperation. Neither did she fulfil, in 2020, her role and duties with respect
to the defence, protection and promotion of the rights of children, who were
strongly affected by the restrictions adopted during the pandemic."
Save Romania Union MP Andrei
Lupu accused Renate Weber of being in the service of those who appointed her:
"I am absolutely convinced
that you are a competent person, but there is one major problem in your
activity more recently. You have done your job in a selfish way, in your own
interest and of those who appointed you to your post."
From the opposition, the
Social Democrats, who refused to take part in the vote in Parliament, say they
will challenge the result in the Constitutional Court because the Ombudsman's
dismissal is not justified. The Social Democrats are accusing the Liberals of
wanting someone in this position who won't challenge the government's orders.
The Social Democrat MP Titus
"The Ombudsman safeguards the fundamental rights and
freedoms of citizens, not of those of the government, of those in power. This clearly
shows the unsophisticated manner in which the current right-wing government understands
democracy and seeks to subordinate a fundamental institution that should be
independent in any western-type democracy."
The leader of the Alliance of the Union of Romanians Claudiu
Târziu described the dismissal of the Ombudsman as a "public execution". At the
end of the debates in Parliament, Renate Weber said she has nothing to blame
herself for while Ombudsman:
"I believe I have acted with dignity in this office. For
me, rights and freedoms are sacred."
The ruling coalition is yet to propose a replacement but
promised to do so before Parliament goes into recess.