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Chamber of Deputies casts final vote on draft lustration law

The draft lustration law, which abridges certain rights of the people who were part of the late communist apparatus, on Tuesday received a final vote in the Chamber of Deputies, the decision-making chamber in this case. The draft law passed 167 to 0 and four abstentions.

Exempt from the provisions of the lustration law, according to the vote of the Chamber of Deputies, will be people who were heads of diplomatic missions or consular offices abroad as well as related staff. The exemption had been repealed in the Senate, at the request of Chairman of the Senate's Judicial Committee Daniel Buda, who argued that the provision was 'material error.'

The Chamber of Deputies voted article by article the draft lustration law, under which people who were part of the apparatus of the Romanian Communist Party March 6, 1945 - December 22, 1989 will have certain rights abridged.

The draft received a favourbale opinion from the Government. Several MPs said at the general debate that this is a necessary law 22 years after the December 1989 Revolution that toppled the Communist regime. The Chamber of Deputies accepted two amendments.

According to one amendment, the people who were members of the late Union of Communist Youth (UTC) shall be exempted from the lustration law. The second amendment says that former communist prosecutors who collaborated with the late political police Securitate shall also be barred from the current political life and also from holding public offices.

The two amendments were co-sponsored by Mircea Toader of the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), major at rule, Mate Andras of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), minor at rule, and Mircea Grosaru of the MP group of the national minorities others than the Hungarian one.

Previously, the initial version of the lustration law that passed on a vote of the PDL and National Liberal Party (PNL) MPs had been declared unconstitutional and was amended to get in line with the Constitution.

The proposals for amendments were put forth by the Timisoara Society and the December 21 Association. Under the draft law, included in the category of people who were part of the power structures and the repressive apparatus of the Romanian Communist Party (PC) March 1945 - December 1989 are party activists, editors-in-chief of publications and publishing houses and office-holding prosecutors. All these people would be barred from running for or holding public offices for five years.