The organization of the merger of the elections, still with many unknowns ANALYSIS

The coalition is still considering the changes it wants to make for the June 9 elections, as a series of measures are needed to allow a greater presence, the current premises being contrary.

Marcel Ciolacu and Nicolae Ciucă PHOTO Inquam Photos

Three and a half months before the European Parliament and local elections, there are still question marks related to mainly logistical aspects regarding the June 9 votes, which concern both candidates and voters. For example, from an election in which the voters received a single ballot, such as the European Parliament elections, by merging there will be five ballots, four more being those for the mayor, president of the County Council, local and county councilors. In the legislation, the voting period is between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. The coalition could extend the period, such a decision being, for example, at the referendum for the dismissal of Traian Băsescu, in 2012, when it was possible to vote until 11:00 p.m. Therefore, the voting time will be longer for each voter.

Also, the Coalition has not yet come up with explanations on how the composition of the polling stations will be constituted and if the same structure is in charge of both one election and the other. Another problem is the fact that while at the European Parliament anyone can vote, because the constituency is the national one, for local it is necessary that a person has the domicile or residence in that administrative-territorial unit.

There are also requests from student associations to allow those who obtain a floating visa to vote up to 45 days (as it was until mid-2023) before the election, not at least 6 months, as is the current legislation. Also, the application submission period.

How the Coalition sees the loopholes in the legislation

For the moment, the representatives of the political parties of the Coalition were rather unclear about the necessary legislative changes. PNL Deputy Laurențiu Leoreanu, member of the Administration Commission, stated that the discussions are to be made by lawyers, to see what changes are to be made in the next period. And the acting head of the Chamber of Deputies, Alfred Simonis, pointed out that legal solutions will come soon regarding the necessary changes to the legislation.

Among the few issues he ruled on was the right to vote for those with floating visas issued no later than 45 days, not 6 months at the latest, before the election. “I saw that there are requests from some student NGOs and more. It's not my decision. Personally, I have nothing against this restriction, because people have the right to be elected, but to vote,“ said Simonis.

Political sources from the PNL spoke of two possibilities. One of them is to return to the pre-2023 provisions by allowing voting with a floating visa up to 45 days before the election. A second option is to amend the electoral law to be “harmonized so as to allow everyone, regardless of residence, to vote. More precisely, it should be free for anyone to vote in these elections, including the candidates for mayors in a locality, even if they do not live or have documents in that locality. Basically, the rule of the national constituency from the European Parliament would be applied”, according to PNL sources.

Also, with regard to the voting schedule, the Coalition wants to go with the 7:00-21:00 option, but will allow the people outside in the queue, at 21:00, to be able to vote until 0:00, stated sources from the top of the Coalition for “Truth”. All those in the queues will be put in a special register. As for the offices in the polling stations, the same people will be responsible for both the European and local ones, the quoted sources point out. There is also no question of changing the deadlines regarding the submission of files by the candidates, remaining the option of no later than 40 days before the election.

The dilemma of the candidacy of mayors who left their party

The coalition also has the problem regarding the mandates of mayors who pass from one party to another. More precisely, if a candidate leaves the PNL for the PSD, he technically loses his mandate that expires on September 29. If he goes to another party to run, a town hall could remain without an mayor for about 4 months.

I don't have the final legal formula at the moment. It is certainly common sense that if the Government decides to advance the local elections by a few months, the mayors who want to run for office should be able to do so. Under the current legislation, if a party no longer wishes to support the mayor who is part of that party or who was elected four years ago from that party, the incumbent mayor no longer has the right to run, which it's madness, nonsense. The fact that the Government comes with an advance of the term puts us in the situation of being forced to find mechanisms by which people have the right to run for office”, said Alfred Simonis. “The formula will certainly be found in order not to forbid people who want to run, to run”, assured the interim head of the Chamber of Deputies.

The first step to advance the presidential elections

The Senate passed as the first forum the draft law by which the organization of the presidential elections could take place a maximum of three months before the month in which the head of state's mandate expires. The month in which the president's mandate expires is December, so elections could be held anytime in September. In the original form of the draft UDMR, the provision was that the elections could be no more than 90 days before the end of the mandate (December 21), which meant September 21 at the earliest.