Romanian Parliament adopts disputed version of criminal code; Iohannis calls move “tyranny of the majority” and pledges to fight the changes

Anca Alexe 04/07/2018 | 15:40

The Chamber of Deputies has adopted the changes proposed by the ruling PSD-ALDE coalition to the criminal codes, despite criticisms from the opposition, magistrates and civil society.

Among the most important changes are the total decriminalization of negligence in office and partial decriminalization of abuse in office, which could help PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, among others, escape his criminal conviction.

The project was passed with 167 votes for, 97 against and 19 abstentions. PSD and ALDE together have just 168 MPs in the chamber, but nine of them were not present. Instead, nine members of national minorities and one member of the opposition party PMP voted for the changes.

President Klaus Iohannis reacted to the vote by saying that it was “downright revolting”: “It’s simply inadmissible how PSD has transformed the parliamentary procedures and how the Parliament is acting today. What’s happening right now is called the tyranny of the majority and it is profoundly damaging to democracy,” Iohannis said.

The president also stated: “We have a number of politicians in Romania who claim that we need to pay more attention to Parliament. For this to happen, the Parliament needs to give itself the attention it deserves. PSD passed the criminal code through Parliament in record time, with a simulated debate in the Deputies’ Chamber, and this is deeply harmful. PSD has managed to destroy the dignity of legislating in a very short time. It has managed to transform Parliament debates into debates lacking transparency, with a predictable result. The Opposition’s arguments are steamrolled.

Talking about the content of the new criminal codes, Iohannis said he would hold a longer presentation when he notifies the Constitutional Court about the codes. He added that he would also send the criminal procedure code to the Court.

“The changes made are either useless or actually toxic or harmful, and I plan to use all the constitutional tools available to challenge these two laws,” the president added.

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