Appointment and revocation of some State Authorities
This function expresses a certain pre-eminence of Parliament to other public authorities, a certain right in connection of the institutionalization of the other state authorities.
According to the Constitution, the Parliament of Romania may suspend from office the President of Romania (Article 95); it grants the vote of confidence into the programme and the whole list of the Government (Article 102); it appoints the president and department heads of the Legislative Council; it appoints the director of the Romanian Intelligence Service; it elects the magistrates composing the Superior Council of the Magistrature; it appoints the members of the Court of Audit and so on. The Senate of Romania appoints the Advocate of the People (Article 55) and three judges at the Constitutional Court (Article 140) etc. The Chamber of Deputies appoints three judges at the Constitutional Court (Article 140) etc. In exercising this function, Parliament sometimes effects itself these ap ointments, and in some cases it only participates in the development of the appointment procedure, its role being, of course, decisive This occurs, for instance, in the case of the investiture of the Government, a complicated procedure in which the role of Parliament is to grant a vote of confidence. The investiture of the Government is regulated both by the constitutional provisions regarding the Government, and by those with reference to the President of Romania; they can be found in Articles 85 and 102 under the Constitution.
The investiture of the Government represents an indispensable stage in pluralistic regimes which accept the change of the executive as a result of the consultation of the people by elections. Hence, a new Government is to be invested after elections, depending on the political configuration of the Parliament. This procedure of investiture is also repeated in the case in which the Government designated by the vote of confidence of Parliament is discharged from office. The fundamental rule to which the formation of the Government is submitted takes in consideration the fact that a government cannot receive the investiture, nor function without parliamentary support This rule, unanimously recognized in the parliamentary political regimes has for the first time found a juridical validation in the 1991 Constitution of Romania.
None of the constitutions of the Romanian State, neither the 1923 Constitution, nor the 1938 Constitution and the other constitutions have provided such a democratic and absolutely necessary rule for counteracting power excesses in the state.
The investiture procedure includes four stages:
- the designation of the candidate for the office of prime minister;
- formation of the list of the Government and elaboration of the governing programme;
- the debate in Parliament of the programme and list of the Government, the granting of confidence to the Government;
- confirmation of the Government.
Designation of the Candidate for the 0ffice of Prime Minister
This stage corresponds to the exercise of some presidential prerogatives, by virtue of which the President of Romania is the only person qualified to designate a candidate for the office of prime minister. In exercising this prerogative, the President of Romania operates by virtue of his office as guarantor of the functioning of the public authorities. He is also responsible for the constitution of the authorities, respectively for the investiture and functioning of the Government.
The President of Romania designates a candidate for the office of prime minister, after the consultation of the party which has an absolute majority in Parliament, or, if there is no such a majority, of the parties represented in Parliament.
The reason of these consultations derives from the necessity to ensure parliamentary support for the granting of the vote of confidence into the new Government. In other words, the President of Romania cannot act arbitrarily in designating the candidate to the office of prime minister; he is obliged by the Constitution to appoint a candidate with chances to obtain the confidence of Parliament. These chances are all the greater as they spring from the existence of a majority party which acts at the proposals of the President, or by the joining of several political parties to support the candidate proposed by the President of Romania.
Elaboration of the List of the Government and of the Governing Programme
These are exclusive tasks of the candidate designated for the office of prime minister. Naturally, the candidate has no unrestricted freedom of action, since he or she must take into account the programmes for the political parties on which the granting of the confidence vote will rest as well as the negotiations with regard to the formation of the new Government. As a rule, not only the principles of the governing programme, but also the persons who are to carry it out are established as part of these negotiations. Moreover, the vote of confidence of Parliament considers this agreement between the programme and the persons apt to put it in practice.
Granting of the Vote of Confidence
The candidate designated by the President of Romania for the office of prime minister disposes of 10 days for soliciting the vote of confidence from Parliament. This term begins to flow after the day when the President of Romania has made public his option for the candidate to the office of prime minister. The term of 10 days is only a recommendation to the candidate to the office of prime minister for presenting to Parliament thé request of investiture. Hence, non-observance of this term can have only political consequences in the relations of the candidate with Parliament. The President of Romania may, however, re-evaluate the presidential option for the candidate proposed for the office of prime minister, if the candidate fails to solicit the vote of confidence within 10 days after designation.
Together with the request for the vote of confidence from Parliament, the candidate to the office of prime minister also presents the governing programme and the whole list of the Government. The debate of the programme and of the list of the Government is to take place in not more than 15 days after their presentation, in a joint sitting of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate. Before the joint sitting of the two Chambers begins its proceedings, the candidates to ministerial offices are heard in joint sittings of the appropriate committees of the two Chambers covering the same domain of activity as that of the possible future minister. After these hearings the respective committee draw up an advisory opinion, which is transmitted to the candidate to the office of prime minister. On the basis of the advisory opinions received, the candidate may operate modifications in the list of the Government or even preserve its initial configuration, assuming the responsibility for the investiture of the Government team.
After termination of the hearings, the standing bureaux of the two Chambers fix the date of the joint sitting for the debate of the programme and list of the Government. A vote is taken when the debate is exhausted. Confidence is granted to the Government by secret vote expressed with marbles. The Government gets the confidence of Parliament if it obtains an absolute majority of votes, respectivel? if a majority of the deputies and senators declare in its favour.
In case this majority is not achieved; the President of Romania will start a new investiture procedure by organizing other political consultations for the designation of the candidate to the office of prime minister. By taking into consideration the causes which have led to the rejection of the vote of confidence (the quality of the programme, the person designated as candidate to the office of prime minister, the persons proposed for government functions, etc.) the President of Romania designates as candidate to the office of prime minister the same person or chooses another, following upon the political consultations which he will have made according to the constitutional provisions. A new attempt to obtain the vote of confidence may also fall through. But rejection of the vote of confidence after two miscarried attempts points out a serious political crisis deriving from a profound division of the political forces represented in Parliament, and from the impossibility to constitute a parliamentary majority apt to support a Government. In this situation, the President of Romania may resort to the proposal of new candidates for the office of prime minister, followed by new solicitations of the vote of confidence. But, after the rejection of at least two investiture requests and at the closing of an interval of sixty days after the first demand for the granting of the vote of confidence, the President of Romania may proceed to the dissolution of Parliament. The act of dissolution has the significance of a political recourse to an electoral arbitration, the people being called again to the urns in order to express its will on a new composition of Parliament, apt to ensure the governing of the country.
Appointment of the Government
It is a prerogative of the President of Romania to appoint the Government, and its exercise takes place after the vote of confidence granted by Parliament. The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate meeting in a joint sitting grant confidence to the Government by the vote of a majority of the deputies and senators. The result of the vote is recorded in a decision of Parliament, which is transmitted to the President of Romania. In case Parliament has granted confidence to the Government, the President will proceed to the appointment of the Government by decree, in the form approved by Parliament. In other words, the vote of confidence is decisive on the governmental formula, since the President of Romania is obliged to appoint the Government only in the componence approved in the joint sitting of the legislative Chambers.