Ponta: Constitution should be amended to spell out the powers of the President

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Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Monday that Romania’s Constitution should be amended to spell out the powers of the President.

 ‘First of all, we would like clear mentions in the Constitution of the powers of the President in relation to the Government and Parliament. The President, as it happens in many European republics – and Austria and Ireland come to my mind – is directly elected by the people but has no executive powers and the two countries are functioning perfectly well without cohabitation crises or other kinds of crises,’ Ponta said at the end of a meeting of the ruling Social Liberal Union (USL).

He added that the Constitution should also specify the procedures regarding national referenda and the powers of the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR).

‘Secondly, we have to establish clearly how things work in relation to referenda, who can call a referendum, because we can find ourselves in a situation in which we consult with the Romanians, 88 percent of those who show up to vote decide something, but the court then tells us in not enough. Maybe if the voter turnout had been110 percent it would have been enough. Thirdly, we have to decide clearly what the powers of the CCR are and how judges are appointed to the CCR, we have to depoliticise the court. The fact that five out of nine judges decided by their own power that Romania must be a presidential republic is a mistake that we cannot accept and that we can rectify only by amending the Constitution,’ said Ponta.

He added that the Constitution should also mention region as the administrative and territorial unit in the of organisation of Romania.

‘Fourthly, we have to talk about the administrative and territorial organisation of Romania. Counties stay, because this is the option of USL embraced by all the European countries similar to Romania – France, Italy, Poland – but at the same time we have to have an organisation that is not written down in the Constitution, and show it, as far as this is possible, under organic laws; we have to see that the limits of the power in this instance is as mentioned in the Constitution,’ said Ponta.

He added that the Constitution should also provide solutions to settle conflicts among state institutions.

USL co-chair Crin Antonescu voiced support for these principles to be followed when modifying the Constitution, indicating that monarchy is his intimate option.

‘There are people who one day started claiming they are monarchists; well I have always said I am a monarchist. This is an intimate option that I made public, which does not mean that when we discuss an ample project that involves more people I am not supporting the very articulations of the common project the Mr. Prime Minister just mentioned,’ said Antonescu.

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