Electoral campaign for parliamentary elections kicks off. What are its novelties?

A far more silent campaign, at least in theory.

The electoral campaign for the 2016 parliamentary elections kicked off on Friday, with 6,506 candidates racing for a seat in Parliament.

The campaign for the elections due on December 11 marks the drawback to the vote on lists. Political parties and independent candidates have 29 days to convince Romanians to vote them.

The new Parliament will have about 466 MPs compared to 588, elected in 2012, when the electoral system was based on uninominal colleges.

The new contenders for the next Romanian parliament not only have less seats to run for, but they also have a limited budget restricted to 60 gross average salaries.

The representation quota is a deputy to 73,000 people and a senator to 168,000 citizens.

The current electoral campaign is also more restrictive in terms of electioneering activities compared to other previous campaigns.

The political contestants must conform to the new way of going in for politics. Therefore, giving money, goods or other benefits to voters is sentenced to six months to three years in prison, says the legislation in force.

The shows, feasts and fireworks that many contenders have counted on for so long to lure voters are now banned during the electoral campaign.

The law also forbids candidates or electoral staff to distribute push button pencils, cups, watches, jackets, t-shirts, waistcoats, caps, bags, buckets, lighters or foodstuff to citizens.

Candidates are also banned to use vehicles inscribed with campaign slogans spreading audio recordings, at a standstill or under way. What else is banned? Banners, meshes, mobile billboard, advertising flags, fire walls, advertising screens, direction advertising finger posts, lighting advertising, outdoor advertising.

Parliamentary elections this year will also have to consider some new provisions of the law on political parties financing and electoral campaigns.

Thus, candidates for the Chamber of Deputies (the lower chamber) and the Senate (the upper chamber) will have a lower budget, restricted to 60 gross average salaries.

The expenditures cannot be higher than the electoral contributions previously declared and filed. “The expenses on the electoral propaganda materials are exclusively born by the electoral contenders! For instance, if the maximum expenditure limit for a candidate is 60 gross average salaries, but the candidate has filed contributions worth 20 gross salaries, the maximum value of the electoral expenditures will worth 20 gross salaries,” reads the Permanent Electoral authority.

The election posters will also have smaller sizes than during the previous years. The posters combining colors or plots that depict Romania’s national symbols are also forbidden.

Vote on lists, more polling stations abroad

The parliamentary elections of December 11 not only mark the drawback to the vote on lists but also enjoys more polling stations abroad, an action taken following the tensions during the presidential elections in 2014 when the Romanians living abroad have queued for hours to be able to cast their vote.

The Government proposed the Electoral Authority to set up 417 polling stations abroad, 123 more than during the presidential elections two years ago.

The Government announced it would spend RON 227.7 M for the organization of the elections, with the money being stipulated in the budgets of several ministries: the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Permanent Electoral Authority, the Romanian Telecommunication Service and the National Institute of Statistics.

As a first, the 2016 parliamentary elections will be audio-video monitored at a stretch after 21:00 hrs when the polling stations close down until all members leave the location, an action meant to prevent vote fraud.

Eleven parties filed supporter lists to the Central Electoral Bureau: the National Liberal Party (PNL), the Democrat Magyar Union in Romania (UDMR), the Social Democrat Party (PSD), the People Movement Party (PMP), the Liberals and Democrats Alliance (ALDE), United Romania Party (PRU), Our Alliance Romania (ANR), Save Romania Union Party (USR), Romanian Socialist Party (PSR), Great Romania Party (PRM) and the Romanian Ecologist Party (PER).

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