BREAKING Final vote: Amendments to the Criminal Code, which removes the threshold for abuse of office, passed the Chamber of Deputies and will go to promulgation / The amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure, which allows intelligence service wiretaps to be used as evidence in criminal trials, also passed
The amendments to the Criminal Code, which remove the threshold for abuse of office, were voted on Tuesday in the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies, the decision-making chamber. The amendments to the Penal Code will go to promulgation if there is no referral to the Constitutional Court.
The amendments to the Penal Code passed with 191 votes in favour, 55 against and 12 abstentions.
Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure, which allow intercepts made by secret services to be used as evidence in criminal trials, passed with 168 votes in favour, 75 against, 20 abstentions.
The draft Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code were voted on Wednesday in the Chamber of Deputies without debate on the articles.
„I support these drafts because they are in line with the Constitution and I will vote for them,” Justice Minister Cătălin Predoiu said from the floor of parliament.
An AUR MEP, Titi Stoica, warned that „there were serious procedural flaws” in the vote on the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes.
Ionuț Moșteanu USR said that „it is regrettable that Minister Predoiu comes to Parliament after making a mockery of the whole parliamentary process. After supporting the 250,000 lei threshold, he got scared of people’s anger and hid behind the doors of the PSD”.
„You won’t get rid of people’s anger and you will see it at the vote,” Moșteanu added
For his part, the USR leader, Cătălin Drulă, said from the Chamber of Deputies plenary: „What you have done these days is mind-numbing and you should ask yourselves if you are sane. You supported the 250,000 lei threshold and now you have voted without it. You make Florin iordache look like a Minister of Justice with a backbone”.
In response, Justice Minister Cătălin Predoiu virulently attacked the USR.
„These projects, as they were voted today, these projects have been in the hands of your dear colleagues in opposition for about 12 months. You sat and looked at them and then they were taken over by this coalition. After hard, difficult debates, this draft was adopted. How can we understand that it is better for you who do nothing or for us who debate and vote,” Predoiu said.
„This coalition voted to abolish the SIIJ, the justice laws you looked at for 12 months unable to do them, the whistleblower law, the ANABI law. The lack of political common sense has a limit. You have a limit both in criticism and in insults. All you do is talk and wrap yourselves in cords from which you will leave nothing in history. For better or for worse, this coalition has done”, the Minister of Justice said from the floor of the Chamber of Deputies.
George Simion to UDMR: Now I can only wonder what was the price for the vote you gave, I hope it is not about issues related to the respect of the Constitution.
Moșteanu: Predoiu didn’t have the backbone to vote for his own bill, even though he is in the room.
Predoiu: As I said, I came to this microphone to publicly announce that I am voting for this bill. Due to a technicality, so that there would be no ambiguity about my position, I made this public announcement.
Several AUR MPs have announced that they will challenge the two Codes, Criminal and Criminal Procedure, at the Constitutional Court, but the problem is that the party led by George Simion does not have enough signatures to initiate a challenge to the CCR on its own.
Stelian Ion (USR): Some will go down in history for having done something, some for being liars, some for having removed criminals. Surely Mr Predoiu fits the bill. A few days ago he was giving interviews saying that we need a threshold to the abuse of office, now he says he is voting for an unconstitutional bill. In 2022 he held up this bill, which is why the CCR declared unconstitutional an article that closed thousands of corruption cases with billions of euros in damages. My cheek would crack from shame.
All the projects he directs to the benefit of the criminals.
Ionel Dancă (Forta Dreptei): Forta Dreptei MPs will refer to the CCR the amendment of the CPP because it is an abuse of the PSD-PNL-UDMr coalition at the command of the intelligence services regarding the rights of Romanian citizens.
The Legal Committee of the Chamber of Deputies adopted on Tuesday, with the votes of the PSD-PNL-UDMR coalition, the draft amendments to the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, in the form sent by the Government to Parliament, which allowed wiretapping to be used in corruption cases and without any threshold for the crime of abuse of office.
This vote came just minutes after the same coalition MPs had removed corruption from the list of offences for which interceptions are allowed. The reversal came after a break of a few minutes, during which committee chair Laura Vicol (PSD) was called into her office for „an emergency”. When she returned to the committee she announced the change in the coalition’s position.
The new votes were taken without debate, in an unprecedented procedure that USR MEPs warned was unconstitutional.
For both bills, Vicol put to a vote the wholesale elimination of everything adopted by the Senate, as the first chamber to deal with the bills. However, procedurally, the Chamber of Deputies must start from the form adopted by the Senate, to which it can adopt amendments, USR representatives explained.
. Laura Vicol did not take these comments into account: she put to a block vote the deletion of everything adopted by the Senate and the block adoption of the projects as they arrived from the Government to the Senate. The coalition deputies complied, voted by majority what Vicol announced, and the session was declared closed, despite protests from the USR.
„It was considered that the form that came from the Government was the best. I was called by absolutely all the government representatives who asked that the form coming from the government should remain in force,” Laura Vicol said after the meeting of the House Legal Committee, according to News.ro.
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