Wave of projects in Parliament to change the electoral legislation

A wave of projects amending the electoral legislation is on the parliamentary circuit, just a few months before the first rounds of elections, at a time when, in fact, radical changes are not recommended.

At the Chamber of Deputies there are several projects for the final vote PHOTO Shutterstock

While the parties of the Coalition are discussing the last details about merging the European parliamentary elections with the local ones, especially in the Opposition there is a whole effervescence regarding the projects that would bring changes to the electoral legislation. At the same time, a project of the Coalition could be taken out of the Parliament's drawers, which only refers to the aspect of shaping the lists for locals. All these legislative moves come under conditions in which the Venice Commission recommends avoiding changes to the electoral laws a year before the polls are held.

UDMR submitted a legislative initiative last week proposing to change the term of office of local elected officials from four to five years. More precisely, the mandates of mayors, heads of County Councils, local and county councilors. The explanation of the UDMR is that it helps the development of localities and would bring political stability. The application would be from the next mandate. From the PSD side, the answer was clearly negative, the clarification being made by Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu.

Just the other day, the REPER parliamentarians submitted a project prohibiting the merging of local elections with any other type of election. Currently, REPER has little chance of passing the threshold to the European parliament or parliament, not being able to cover even all the polling stations in Romania. The proof is an ad on job recruitment sites.

On the part of the Power, a draft of the PNL vice-president, Florin Roman, was registered in the Senate, whereby former workers or collaborators of the Security, but also people who held leadership positions at the level of the Communist Party of Romania, will no longer be able to run for the presidency before 1989, both at the central level, but also at the county level. Currently, only a self-declaration is required.

Greater representation of women

In the drawers of the specialized committees of the Chamber of Deputies there are three projects from the past years submitted by MPs from the Coalition, all aiming for a greater representation of women. According to “Adevărul” information from the level of the Coalition leadership, the initiative related to the representation of women on the lists for local elections, that is a project signed by Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu, has a chance to pass in the next period from the Chamber of Deputies, which is the decision-making body and of the first vice-president Gabriela Firea.

“The lists of candidates for the election of local councils and county councils must be drawn up in such a way as to ensure the representation of both sexes, by respecting the representation of at least 30%, for both women and men, except for those that contain only one candidate”, is the key amendment to amend the electoral legislation. In the current form of the Law on the election of local public administration authorities, there is only the provision that “representation of both sexes” is ensured, which means that at least one woman must appear on a list, including an ineligible seat.

A draft law signed by 60 parliamentarians of PNL, PSD, UDMR and USR, which establishes that on the lists of candidates for the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate there must be at least one third women, and a part of them must be in eligible seats, was adopted in May 2022 by the Senate, and since the summer of that year it is still not discussed in the Chamber of Deputies. Practically, through the thought mechanism, there are high chances of increasing the representation of women, especially at the level of large constituencies.

Double money for women and youth

Another initiative submitted to the Parliament, from the PNL, stipulates that the funding of the parties should be linked to the number of women and young people in the Parliament and at the local level. “For the political parties that promote women on the electoral lists, on eligible seats, the amount allocated from the state budget will be doubled proportionally to the number of mandates obtained in elections by female candidates. For the political parties that promote young people on the electoral lists, for eligible seats, the amount allocated from the state budget will be doubled proportionally to the number of mandates obtained in elections by young candidates.”

Regarding the merger of some elections this year, the Coalition would pursue changes only to the Administrative Code, without touching the electoral laws at all, as it is possible to prepare the ground for the union of local and European parliaments only by amending the Code.