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UPDATE Romanian President, Embassies take stand as House of Deputies defend PM Ponta against inquiry on corruption charges

de Ed. Staff
Marţi, 9 iunie 2015, 14:56 English | Top News

​Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and the Netherlands Embassy to Bucharest reacted harshly on Tuesday after the House of Deputies voted earlier today to reject a call by anti-graft prosecutors to allow an inquiry against prime minister Victor Ponta, who faces corruption charges including conflict of interest. The UK Embassy also made a statement defending the importance of the fight against corruption and the need for functional judicial and law enforcement institutions in Romania. Iohannis took the toughest stand on the issue so far, calling again for Ponta to resign.

The President - who had first called for Ponta's resignation on Friday, but was rebutted by the prime minister - said about the parliamentary vote today: "It is proof of maximum irresponsibility and defiance of the common people that MPs from the [parliamentary] majority impede Justice to do its duty and are ready to destroy the institution of the Parliament".

He said the solution for the current situation was the resignation of the prime minister.

But Ponta said repeatedly that he would not resign and spin doctored the situation so that to imply that the corruption charges are a political means to change the government in an unconstitutional manner.

Iohannis also said today that he regretted that the coalition government has forced a decision against the principle that the Parliament should not obstruct justice and that it turned into a protection shield for Ponta, who is a criminal suspect.

Also on Tuesday, the Netherlands made on the toughest worded statements at an international level on the current situation in Romania. Its Embassy to Bucharest said in a Facebook post:
  • "As we have stated before, the Netherlands strongly believes that the law applies the same to all people. Recent developments in Parliament raise broader issues about the attitudes towards justice and corruption in Romania. This concern was highlighted earlier this year in the 2015 CVM Report of the European Commission. We attach great importance to the recommendations of the CVM report. We trust Romania and all its institutions to take them into consideration."

The British Embassy also issued a statement saying:
  • "The British Government recognises the importance of the fight against corruption in Romania and the need for judicial and law enforcement institutions to be able to act with complete independence and impartiality. This is recognised in the reports of the European Commission’s Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, which also highlight the important role for Parliament in supporting anticorruption efforts. Ahead of the G7 summit in Germany, Prime Minister David Cameron highlighted how corruption threatens the prosperity and security of nations across the globe. The Prime Minister announced that the UK will lead an agenda to tackle corruption over the next year, with a major anti-corruption summit in London in 2016. We do not comment on individual cases. Questions regarding the government of Romania are a matter for the Romanian people."

And earlier today, as voting procedures in the House were ongoing, the US Embassy said in a statement:
  • "As we have said in the past, we do not comment on individual cases. Any allegations of wrongdoing by government officials should be fully investigated without interference, and the law should be applied equally to everyone. Judicial and Rule of Law institutions should be able to act with complete independence, and both the laws of Romania and the due process of individuals need to be fully respected."

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