Romania's House of Deputies, as deciding forum, adopted on Wednesday a set of bills changing the criminal code and the criminal procedure code of the country, after passing them fast forward through a special commission. Opposition deputies criticised the changes to the law in the plenum during the day and announced they would challenge them to the Constitutional Court, as they "favored corrupt people in public documents". But the governing majority managed to push them through.
The bill changing the Penal Procedure Code was adopted 181 votes in favor to 73 against. The bill changing the Penal Code was adopted with 180 votes in favor and 81 against.
The two bills, which were pushed by the governing coalition of Social Democrats (PSD) and the Democratic Liberals (ALDE), were passed with the help of deputies representing the ethnic minorities, as well as deputies of the Hungarian Democrats (UDMR).
- The PSD-ALDE coalition has been pushing a wave of changes to the laws of the judiciary, aimed at countering the fight against corruption and help prominent leaders - including PSD president Liviu Dragnea - get rid of criminal cases opened against them.
The vote was harshly criticised by opposition deputies. National Liberal Party (PNL) deputy Raluca Turcan said none of the changes was in any way with the real problems of Romania or with previous decisions of the Constitutional Court and were simply aimed at favoring criminals.
Save Romania Union (USR) deputy Stelian Ion said his party would challenge the bills at the Constitutional Court and that procedures were breached in pushing through the bills.
He said that through these changes "the attack by PSD-ALDE against honest people and in favor of criminals has reached paroxism".
Deputies for the governing coalition said that the vote only approved of bills which were previously approved and from which articles that the Constitutional Court considered unconstitutional were removed.
The bills introduce a series of controversial changes including
- a cut of time periods after which criminal responsibility is removed.
- the introduction of a 1-year time limit when a bribe can be denounced
- a ban of public communication by public authorities on facts and people which are subject of a criminal case