Bill to amend Constitution given first reading

The bill to amend the Constitution was given a first reading. Under the bill that was supported by 56 MPs, the initial appointment period of five years in the case of judges was excluded. This way, the judges of courts will be named to posts up to the age limit by the President, at the suggestion of the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM). The President can reject the candidates proposed by the Council only once. The judges of the Supreme Court of Justice will be named in the same way as the judges of common law and appeals courts, by the President, at the suggestion of SCM. Now the judges of this court are nominated by Parliament, IPN reports.

Minister of Justice Sergiu Litvinenco said that now the judges are named for an initial period of five years. If they work properly in the period, they are confirmed up to the age limit of 65. The exclusion of this initial period was necessary given the potential effect of this period on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, which was primarily noticed by international organizations.

The bill excludes the condition to have at least ten years’ seniority as a judge in the case of the president, vice presenter and judges of the Supreme Court of Justice. Also, the judges will enjoy functional immunity only, in accordance with the legal provisions.

Under the bill, the prosecutor general and the minister of justice will be excluded from the composition of SCM. This will consist of 12 members: 6 members from among judges and 6 members from among non-judges, selected by Parliament.

PAS MP Ana Racu said the bill strengthens the independence of the judicial system by removing the initial five-year period, as a number of international organizations and NGOs recommended.

Sergiu Litvinenco noted that the bill will take effect six months after it is adopted in the final reading.

The decision on a constitutional bill that is given a first reading is adopted by Parliament by a majority of votes of those attending. In the final reading, the bill is adopted by the votes of two thirds of the elected MPs.

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