Gov’t assumed responsibility on the law electing mayors in two rounds

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The Government has assumed responsibility on the draft law on electing mayors in two rounds in Parliament today, after it had approved the final version, with amendments.

“The main amendments submitted by PNL are related to the period of time during which non-resident voting is allowed, which was set to 60 days. Another amendment regards the number of signatures, which got reduced from 1 per cent down to 0.5 per cent of the electoral list in the locality where the candidates want to run after several NGOs asked for an easier way for independent candidates to register to run in the elections. The amendment was submitted by the USR,” said the head of Prime Minister’s Chancellery, Ionel Danca on Tuesday.

Another amendment that was adopted referred to the representation of national minorities in the Romanian Parliament in order “to allow national minorities and political entities to be represented in Parliament and in the Electoral Bureaus with 7 Senators and 10 Deputies.”

Moreover, there was also an amendment adopted regarding the accreditation of the observers at the polling stations, as the current law hampered the independent observers to get their accreditation and to be present near the polling stations of some political representatives who weren’t supposed to be in the area.

Local elections are due in Romania sometime during May-June. Under the current law, the mayors are elected after only one round, with the winner being elected with the majority of the cast votes.

“We took this decision to assume responsibility in order to allow citizens to elect mayors through a system that should ensure legitimacy to all those elected-50% plus one of the voters. The election system for local elections was amended in 2008, in which the mayor is elected after winning the highest number of votes, and not based on the 505 plus one principle. But this mechanism doesn’t provides citizens in a local community with the full right to elect a mayor who should have a real legitimacy,” PM Ludovic Orban told the MPs within the plenary session of the Parliament.

Orban argued that this current voting system “restricts the right of the discontent voters to replace a mayor who has not done his/her job.”

The premier further said that in 2016 some candidates had been elected as mayors without even gathering 30% of the votes. “If we consider the low turnout, there are cases when a mayor had been elected by 10% of the number of inhabitants. Over 600 mayors elected in 2016 had been voted by less than 50% of the citizens”, said Orban.

He slammed the censure motion announced by PSD, saying he doesn’t understand the motion’s grounds.

“Maybe you are scared that PSD mayors, to which you’ve pumped all resources of the state budget, will not be able to win another mandate. You can file 10 censure motions, you cannot change the Romanians’ opinions who want to elect truly representative mayors”, Orban told the Social Democrats.

UDMR has already announced they will vote for the censure motion.

PSD interim leader Marcel Ciolacu has announced they will file the censure motion on Thursday, hoping for the better, even if they fail to meet the necessary number of votes for the motion to pass.

“Mathematically we don’t have enough votes, but Orban Government has not had the votes either when it had been sworn in“, Ciolacu argued.

In retort, PM Ludovic Orban says he is waiting for the motion ‘with indifference’, as it has no chances to pass.

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