No special pensions: Romanian MPs announce resignations two weeks before the parliamentary elections
MPs from both the Save Romania Union (USR) and the Social Democrat Party (PSD) announced they would resign from Parliament over the issue of 'special pensions.'
By resigning before the end of their mandates, the MPs would not receive special pensions, namely those not based on the recipients' previous contributions. Among those receiving such pensions are magistrates, the military staff, the intelligence service staff, and Constitutional Court judges.
The resignation announcements come two weeks before the parliamentary elections, scheduled for December 6.
The first to announce his resignation was PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu, on November 23, ahead of the USR MPs, who had planned on making the announcement on November 24, Hotnews.ro reported. In a Facebook post, Ciolacu reminded the public that he also resigned four years ago, for the same reason. Alfred Simonis, the leader of the PSD deputies, also announced his resignation.
Meanwhile, USR president Dan Barna said that all USR MPs would resign today, November 24, so that they would not be among those receiving special pensions. "The special pensions defy all honest people in this country. Representing the will of the people is an honor, not a chore," Barna wrote.
On Monday, PM Ludovic Orban, the president of PNL, labeled the resignations as "demagogic," Stirileprotv.ro reported. He argued Ciolacu and other PSD MPs who announced their resignations already benefit from special pensions as they held several other mandates in the Parliament.
A total of 768 former senators and deputies receive special pensions amounting to over EUR 10 million per year, G4media.ro reported.
This January, the Chamber of Deputies, adopted a draft law for abrogating the special pensions. The bill was promoted by the ruling National Liberal Party (PNL) and backed by all the other parties.
The law canceled the special pensions paid to lawmakers, judges, and prosecutors, specialized auxiliary personnel of the courts and prosecutor's offices, civil servants with special status, parliamentary civil servants, members of the diplomatic and consular body, members of the Constitutional Court, as well as professional personnel from the civil aviation.
However, the Constitutional Court (CCR) decided in May that the law was unconstitutional.
Another initiative followed in June, when the Parliament voted to introduce an 85% income tax rate on special pensions. The Chamber of Deputies' final vote revealed overwhelming support for the law: 307 votes in favor and just one against.
The Constitutional Court deferred a ruling on this matter to December 8.
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