GEO on referendum, updated, controversial article banning public authorities’ engaging in the campaign deleted

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The Permanent Electoral Authority has released an updated emergency ordinance draft to amend the referendum law on Wednesday, several hours before being adopted by the Government. The updated GEO deleted a controversial article that banned public authorities from getting involved in the campaign for the referendum.

The new GEO draft also cut the initial form of article 49 that referred to the contraventions, stipulating fines up to RON 10,000-RON 50,000 in the case of national referendum, and up to RON 5,000-RON 10,000 for local referendum.

PM Viorica Dancila has stated on Tuesday that the Executive will adopt an emergency ordinance targeting the electoral legislation on Wednesday, yet confessing she hadn’t seen the text of the draft ordinance.

Asked about the legal provisions regarding the public authorities’, including the President’s interdiction to get involved in the electoral campaign for the referendum, Dancila replied: “I haven’t seen the text of the GEO, we’ll see the final form. The legislative act must be adopted tomorrow in the government sitting”.

Article 30 paragraph 6 of the emergency ordinance says that “public authorities have the obligation to be neutral and objective with respect to the object of the referendum, being banned from voicing opinions in favour or against the topic of the referendum during the campaign”.

AEP has issued a proposal to amend the electoral laws through GEO, to be enforced at the European elections and the referendum on May 26. The electoral body proposed the referendum to be validated through the valid options of the voters enlisted in the Electoral Registry on the day of the vote.

Therefore, paragraphs 2 and 3 of article 5 of the GEO stipulate: “(2) The referendum is valid if it is attended by at least 30% of the people enlisted in the electoral registry on the day of the vote. (3)The result of the referendum is validated if the options represent at least 25% of the people enlisted in the electoral registry on the day of the vote”.

A referendum on justice will take place in Romania on May 26, on the same day with the European elections.

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