Romanian government split over judiciary investigation section

Prime Minister Florin Citu is running against the incumbent president, former prime minister Ludovic Orban, and seems to be the favourite in the race. [EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT]

Parties that form Romania’s centre-right coalition are at odds over the proposal of abolishing the section that investigates offences within the judicial system (SIIJ).

The three parties – the National Liberal Party (PNL), the Hungarian minority party UDMR, both from the EPP and the Renew Europe-affiliated USR PLUS – all claim they want to abolish the controversial section, yet cannot agree on a replacement.

The government proposed to revert back to the solution a few years ago when the corruption accusations against magistrates were investigated by the anti-corruption directorate, or DNA. But the socialist government, with the support of the UDMR, decided to set up the special section, which is functioning independently, but under the umbrella of the General Prosecutor’s Office.

Both the EU Commission and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe criticised the decision at the time and over the years called for the termination of the SIIJ.

UDMR introduced an amendment to the government’s draft that would move the special section to the General Prosecutor and not really abolish it. USR PLUS said the change is “toxic” as it mocks the idea of reform in the justice system.

In this context, the idea of convening a special session of the parliament to adopt the changes to the body that investigates offences within the judicial system is “premature and not working” as long as a solution is not agreed within the coalition, said deputy prime minister Dan Barna, a leader of the USR PLUS.

The prime minister washed his hands of the problem, despite the fact that it could break the governing coalition. Florin Citu said the government has already adopted an act that abolishes the special section and the solution needs to be found in the parliament. (Bogdan Neagu | EURACTIV.ro)

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