Former Romanian PM gets new mandate as Senate president, promises to strengthen Parliament

Former Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, the co-president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), was voted for a new mandate as president of Romania’s Senate on Wednesday, December 21.

The president of the Senate is the second most important position in Romanian administration after the country’s President. In fact, the Senate’s president takes over the President’s attributions if the President is suspended or incapacitated.

Calin Popescu-Tariceanu has been president of the Senate from March 2014. He was supported for a new mandate by MPs from the Social Democratic Party (PSD), ALDE, and the Democrat Magyar Union (UDMR). PSD and ALDE have a cooperation agreement to form the new Government.

Tariceanu said that the vote given by Romanians in the December 11 parliamentary elections represents “a renewed legitimacy”.

“The Parliament is accountable to the Romanian citizens who have granted it the vote of confidence. The control over the legislature is exercised by the true masters of Romania, and not by the ephemeral leaders of institutions,” Tariceanu said.

The institutions he refers to include the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), which has investigated many MPs in the past four years and even has several of them sent to jail for corruption.

Tariceanu, who was indicted this year for lying under oath in a corruption case, is a declared opponent of DNA, which he has accused of being driven by foreign interests that want weak state institutions in Romania. He has made several attempts in recent years to reduce DNA’s power via legislative initiatives.

The new Senate president also said on Wednesday that the “Parliament is not a multinational and doesn’t operate under the logic of a multinational. MPs don’t have a boss and don’t have an imperative mandate,” he added.

He noted that Parliament is “the cornerstone of liberal democracy” and a strong Parliament may represent only “a good thing” for Romania.

“It is time that we decide whether Romania is a sovereign state, where important decisions are made in the country by those whom the Romanians have elected or if it’s a second-hand state where decisions are dictated by others and executed by people appointed and not elected,” Tariceanu said.

The ALDE co-president said that 2016 has been “a lost year” because Romania has been managed by a technocrat government.

“In a few days, the Parliament will be called to end a state of abnormality in any democracy, during which we’ve had a technocrat government,” he added.

The PSD-ALDE majority yesterday proposed Sevil Shhaideh, a former regional development minister, for Prime Minister. President Klaus Iohannis will nominate the PM today.

Social-Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea voted president of Romania’s Chamber of Deputies

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