Weekly review: Romania’s war on justice

This week has again been marked by the ongoing political fight over the control of justice as Romania heads into a crucial electoral year where the anti-corruption theme could make the difference. Also, some developments give a glimpse into the contenders for the first job in the country in the poll to be held, probably, in November.

On January 13 2014, the ruling social-liberal coalition (USL) got together in a meeting dedicated to the new constitution draft. The two parties decided to hold a referendum on amending the current constitution on the same day the elections for the European Parliament are held late May. The coalition’s leaders, PM Victor Ponta and Crin Antonescu, the Senate speaker, did not explain whether the draft Constitution will take into account the results of a similar referendum held in 2009 when Romanians decided the country should have a unicameral Parliament with at most 300 lawmakers. As USL ignored the results of the then plebiscite, president Traian Basescu, a supporter of a unicameral legislative, threatened to call for a new referendum which, should it have similar results, would compel USL to heed the Romanians’ wish for a slimmer Parliament. The current Romanian Parliament has 588 lawmakers, deputies and senators, 100 more than the previous legislature and more than the US Congress, which prompted many to think of the effectiveness of such a bulky legislature.

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(Photo: Florin Garoi)