Constitutional Court ruling on July 29 referendum published in Official Journal

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The ruling passed by the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) on the observance of the procedure for the organisation and conduct of the national referendum from July 29 on whether to impeach President Traian Basescu and the confirmation of its results was published in the Official Journal late on Monday.

The Official Journal also published the ‘separate opinion” of three Court judges – Ion Predescu, Acsinte Gaspar and Tudorel Toader – by which they express disagreement with the decision of declaring the referendum result not valid and they say the referendum should have been validated.

The Court Ruling no. 6 of Aug. 21 says the referendum was conducted in observance of the instructions set by the law and there were found no violations or incidents likely to lead to either meeting or not meeting the voter turnout quorum or to modify the referendum result.

„The CCR confirms the results of the national referendum of July 29, 2012 communicated by the Central Election Bureau and ascertains that out of a total 18,292,464 persons registered on the voter rolls, turning out to the ballot were 8,459,053 persons (46,24 percent), out of whom 7,403,836 (87,52 percent) answered Yes to the question „Do you agree with impeaching the President of Romania” and 943,375 (11,15 percent) answered No. It ascertains that attending the referendum were not at least half plus one of the number of the persons registered on the voter rolls required for the referendum to be valid in accordance with the provisions of article 5, para (2) of Law no. 3/2000 on the organisation and conduct of the referendum. Mr George-Crin Laurentiu Antonescu ceases to be the Acting President of Romania on the date the current ruling is published in the Official Journal, Part 1. Mr Traian Basescu resumes exercising his constitutional and legal powers as the President of Romania starting the date on which the current ruling is published in the Official Journal, Part 1,” the document says.

Judges Predescu, Gaspar and Toader say the referendum should have been validated and argue the 18,292,464 persons registered on the voter rolls, which was the figure considered on adopting the decision, does not reflect the structure and size of the current electoral corps.

The opinion published in the Journal stresses that the disagreement expressed over the decision to invalidate the referendum results relies on the fact such decision was adopted „by taking into account the provisions of article 2, para 1, letter c of Law no. 370/2004 on the election of the President of Romania, a solution anticipated in the so-called erratum from Aug. 6, 2012 relating the Constitutional Court Ruling no. 3 from Aug. 2, 2012,” on the adoption of which erratum they were not consulted, which is „an unprecedented procedure in the constitutional jurisprudence”.

The three judges underscore that in accordance with the legal regulations in force, „the state of fact (the Romanians reside) overlaps the legal status (the Romanians have the residence), for which reason the Romanian citizens residing abroad cannot be included in the voter rolls, but they can exercise their voting right by being included in the additional voter lists”.

„Including the 1,101,809 Romanian citizens who live or reside abroad, to whom adds part of the other 1,468,369 citizens in the same situation, of whom some are underage, is likely to affect the result of the referendum. /…/ We consider the voter rolls cannot either include the 512,379 eligible-to-vote Romanian citizens, whose identity papers had expired and had not been renewed by the voting day.

According to article 2 letter d of Law no. 370/2004 on the election of the President of Romania, the identity papers must be valid on the voting day. Otherwise, maintaining such category of persons on the voter rolls is likely to set up a new category, i.e. those who cannot exercise their voting right, persons who objectively will be absent.

On the assumption that the voting right is exercised by means of a temporary identity card, the relevant persons are also registered on the additional voter lists. Given the above-mentioned reasons, the figure of 18,292,464 persons registered on the voter rolls, which is the figure considered on adopting the ruling, does not reflect the structure and size of the current electoral corps”, the Court judges explain in the document.

With respect to the shrunk Romanian population, they stress: „Starting from the statistic data officially supplied, from the need to eliminate the deceased, the persons who have lost the Romanian citizenship or the electoral rights from the electoral lists, and taking into account the voter rolls cannot include the Romanian citizens living or residing abroad nor those whose identity papers are no longer valid, we find the final data can lead to validating the referendum results.”

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