Civil society continues to rally support for middle ground candidate Peter Eckstein Kovacs as Ombudsman

On September 5th, the Romanian Academic Society (SAR) and the Alliance for Clean Romania (ACR) published an  article inviting all political parties to support the candidacy of Peter Eckstein Kovacs for the position of Ombudsman and started collecting signatures for this cause. Few days later, SAR president, Alina Mungiu Pippidi invited presidents of all political parties, including Mr. Victor Ponta, prime minister and president of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), to take into account the voice of civil society and to support the candidacy of Peter Eckstein Kovacs.

Pippidi has expressed the hope that the Parliament will choose an independent person with integrity and authority in the field, and Mr. Eckstein Kovacs has proved that he meets these criteria. ACR’s petition has gathered over 400 signatures in support of his candidacy. She added that he is not just the candidate supported by civil society but also the candidate supported by citizens from many different regions of the country.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta  replied that he is not legally entitled to support the candidacy of Peter Eckstein Kovacs. He explained that candidates for the position of the Ombudsman are nominated by parliamentary groups within the Parliament, and submitted to the Standing Bureaus of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The selection of the Ombudsman is then made through a plenary vote in joint session. Nevertheless, Victor Ponta responded to SAR’s request, only in his capacity of Prime minister not as the leader of the PSD party. As the leader of a main political party he is in a position to forward SAR’s request.

Therefore, Alina Mungiu Pippidi has sent  another letter with the same claims to Mr. Victor Ponta, this time as the President of PSD. She asks the Social Democratic Party to cease its support for Valer Dorneanu Ombudsman and to nominate Eckstein Kovacs. Similar requests have been submitted to other party leaders, as well as to leaders of parliamentary groups in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.

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