Constitutional Court to discuss President Iohannis’s notice regarding proposed changes to the referendum law today

Aurel Dragan 19/06/2018 | 11:42

The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) will discuss on Tuesday the unconstitutionality notice by President Klaus Iohannis on an amendment proposed by the PSD-ALDE coalition to the referendum law.

President Klaus Iohannis sent a notice of unconstitutionality to the Constitutional Court on May 18 regarding the Law for Modifying and Completing Law no. 3/2000 on planning and conducting a referendum, which seeks to amend some provisions regarding referendums organized as part of the process of revising the Constitution.

“Although it has been subject to constitutional review, at the request of MPs (…), we find that the Law for amending and completing the Law No. 3/2000 on the planning and conduct of the referendum still contains unconstitutional provisions. The provisions of that law contravene the provisions of Article 1 (5), Article 142 (1), Article 146 (a), Article 147 (2) and (4), Article 150 – Articles 152 and 156 of the Constitution,” said the president.

According to the notice, Article 6 (1) of the Criminal Law introduces in Law 3/2000 a type of norm that is not the subject of this normative act.

“Law no. 3/2000 can’t include – without going beyond its subject-matter – exhaustively rules regarding the initiative and the procedure of revision of the Basic Law,” the petition says.

At the same time, it is argued that the provisions of art. 1 of the law are “unclear, unpredictable, because (…) the legislator does not exhaust all aspects of the matter in the normative content,” it states in the petition.

Circumscription of the legal regime of the initiative and revision procedure to art. 150 and 151 of the Constitution and Law 3/2000 excludes from application other incidents, such as those concerning the exercise of the legislative initiative by the citizens or those of the parliamentary regulations, the document states.

The referral also states that Article 6 (3) of Law 3/2000 – the sole article item 2 of the law criticized – states that the draft of the constitutional law adopted by each Chamber of Parliament or by the Chambers in case of divergence ( …) is immediately sent to the Constitutional Court, which proceeds according to the law. If it is found that the revision legislative initiative exceeds the limits of the revision, it is considered to be incomplete and forwarded to Parliament, the procedure being resumed.

The head of state warns that “it can’t be deduced precisely what obligations the Parliament has at this stage and what is the Constitutional Court’s power to exercise control over the new law on revision adopted by Parliament following the resumption of the procedure.”

“The legislator has the duty, regardless of the field in which he exercises this constitutional competence, to pay particular attention to the observance of the principle of clarity and predictability of the law,” the president said.

According to the document, the law on revision, once adopted by the Parliament, is transmitted to the CCR, which has the obligation to rule on its constitutionality.

“The legislator considers only the date of the Parliament’s adoption of the law of revision as a reference, ignoring both the role of the Constitutional Court as the guarantor of the supremacy of the Constitution, including the revision procedure and the moment when its decisions are effective”, considers the president.

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