Weekly Policy and Political Report Political Evolutions July 9– 16, 2018
The Parliament ends the extraordinary session this week on July 19; this means that until either a new extraordinary sitting is called, or the autumn ordinary session begins, the Government cannot adopt Emergency Ordinances.  On July 11, in an interview for Antena 3, PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea presented a scenario that is nothing short of a ‘revolution’: “Romania needs more than a fiscal reconciliation, more than a fiscal pacification, it needs a general one, political and social. (…) Romania needs a new beginning, we must look forward, otherwise we will remain prisoners of the past. I do not know if we are capable, because I do not know if the rest have my courage, the courage to accomplish what we promised to do.” Dragnea argued that Romania needs a “clean slate” when it comes to the judicial system, taxation and economy. By that Dragnea referred to the legislative package on the reform of the judiciary, and on the expected fiscal amnesty. The PSD leader was followed suit by ALDE President Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu who echoed the same concerns.


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Weekly Policy and Political Report Political Evolutions July 2– 9, 2018
On July 9, President Klaus Iohannis signed the decree to remove from office National Anticorruption Directorate Head Prosecutor Laura Codruța Kovesi. The announcement was made by Presidential Administration Spokesperson Madalina Dobrovolschi, who stated that the President signed the decree to remove DNA's Head Prosecutor “as to enforce Decision 358/2018 of the Constitutional Court (CCR)".  This comes in the context of the statement made a day before by Senate President Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, who said that ALDE is to unconditionally endorse a decision to launch impeachment proceedings against President Klaus Iohannis if such a proposal were to arise. Tăriceanu went on to add that the ruling coalition is to take all necessary steps to ensure Parliamentary majority in case a decision to impeach the President is made. After the Presidency made the announcement about dismissing Kovesi, former JustMin Florin Iordache informed that an impeachment is off the table.  However, PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated that discussions are to continue within the party and the coalition, since this option is seriously (still) being considered.   General Prosecutor Augustin Lazăr appointed Anca Jurma to serve as interim Head Prosecutor until a replacement is found. The Ministry of Justice already launched the selection procedures, which are to be completed by the end of July. The interview is to be held with JustMin Tudorel Toader, aided by secretaries of state. At the appointment of Laura Codruța Kovesi back in 2012, the interview committee comprised the Minister of Justice, three prosecutors and a psychologist.  


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Weekly Policy and Political Report, June 25 - July 2, 2018
Special Committee on the Criminal Codes  The Special Parliamentary Committee for the Justice Laws met on Monday, July 2nd and decided to pass a report on the Criminal Code (L238/2018). The bill is due for a vote in Senate's Tuesday session. The main amendments concern the following:  Repealing article 289 of the Criminal Code regarding misconduct in office;  Redefining an “organized crime group” (The group occasionally formed with the purpose of immediately committing one or several crimes does not represent an organized criminal group.)  Modifying article 277 of the Criminal Code. The new version states that a person disclosing classified information from a certain file could face up to two years in prison.   Threshold for abuse of office set at the gross minimum wage. The deed is punishable if the damages incurred surpass the gross minimum wage. Furthermore, issuing or approving documents from the Gov’t or Parliament does not count as abuse of office.   On a related note, PNL President Ludovic Orban asked to postpone the debate on the Criminal Codes until the Venice Commission issues an opinion on the proposed amendments.   Activity in Parliament  The Parliament has convened for an extraordinary session early in July. Among the subjects included on the agenda of the Chamber of Deputies' plenum during July 2-19 are bills such as:  Draft bill on Offshore Drilling  Legislative proposal regarding Romania's Administrative Code  Legislative proposal on amending the Justice Laws (statute of judges and prosecutors)  Draft bill on approving GEO No. 110/2017 regarding the Program for supporting SMEs - IMM INVEST ROMANIA  Senate’s plenary sessions scheduled during the 3rd and 19th of July have on the agenda:  The legislative proposal on the presumption of innocence - Criminal Code (due for a vote in Senate's Tuesday session)  The Draft bill for the approval of the GEO No. 46/2018 regarding the establishment, organization and functioning of the National Office for Centralised Procurement  Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) Leadership - updates  PSD MP Gabriel Vlase, the proposed candidate to take the helm of the Foreign Intelligence Service - SIE received a favourable notice from the joint committee overseeing the activity of SIE. The next step is for the Parliament to vote upon this issue in a joint plenary session.  (...)


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Weekly Policy and Political Report, June 18 - 25, 2018
On June 21st, Liviu Dragnea, President of the Chamber of Deputies and of PSD received a prison sentence of three and a half years for inciting to abuse of office. The ruling is not final and goes to the 5-judge panel at the High Court of Cassation and Justice.  The Executive Committee of PSD convened the next day, on the 22nd of June and decided that the party would stand beside Dragnea. After criticizing the sentence and the ubiquitous deep state abuses, he vouched for “a more radical and harsh attitude”, while apologizing to the “thousands of people wrongly imprisoned (…) due to a Soviet era article”, alluding to the abuse of office.  The Federation of Trade Unions in the National Penitentiary Administration replied and stated that only 73 people are currently imprisoned for abuse of office, not thousands. Given that PSD members argue that debates on the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code have been delayed without reason, three options have been publicly tabled that can deal with the issue. The first takes the form of a Government Emergency Ordinance, while the second refers to Government assuming responsibility over the legislative change, while the third one is suspending President Klaus Iohannis. All options bypass the ordinary legislative procedure and satisfy SocDems' quest for a speedier adoption of the Criminal Codes. 


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Weekly Policy and Political Report Political Evolutions June 11– 18, 2018
Romanian Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE). On June 14, President Klaus Iohannis notified the Presidents of the two Chambers of Parliament of his proposal to appoint Gabriel Vlase as head of the Romanian Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE). The position has been vacant since 2016 after the resignation of Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu. Vlase is currently the vice-President of the Chamber of Deputies, member of the Committee for Defence and the Joint Special Committee for analyzing national security laws.  Formerly, he was the President of the parliamentary committee overseeing SIE. The Presidency's proposal for SIE comes at a moment when Iohannis is expected to decide whether he dismisses head DNA prosecutor Laura Codruța Kovesi at the request of JustMin Tudorel Toader.  Reactions. Marian Neacșu, Secretary General of PSD stated on June 15th that the proposal is highly welcomed, even if PSD did not make an official request in this regard. Nonetheless, he confirmed that there have been internal discussions on who would be best suited for the position, Vlase being the favorite candidate. ALDE President, Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu mentioned he was not informed of the nomination, but that Vlase seems like a suitable candidate.  Even PNL President Ludovic Orban did not voice concerns, stating that Iohannis "must have had extremely valid grounds” for his choice.


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