USL does not oppose the move. To increase their winning chance, Democrat-Liberals contemplate dropping the electoral threshold too.
The Democrat Liberal Party’s (PDL) intention to hold joint local and parliamentary election was confirmed yesterday by PDL spokesman Sever Voinescu.
Voinescu told Mediafax that the joint holding of election is a good idea, given separate ballots “in the bad Romanian tradition” led to institutions being paralyzed and politicians “losing their minds”. He also said that the PDL will hold talks with the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), since a legislative amendment could only pass if there is a political majority, adding that Democrat-Liberals would put the coalition proposal before Parliament. He added that the second argument for joint elections is cost-related, as Romania cannot afford “to wallow in its own bad traditions.”
On Tuesday, PM Emil Boc said that, on 2012 paper, joint local and legislative elections are possible, yet the issue must be examined by the ruling coalition towards a relevant decision being reached.
On a B1 TV programme August 3, President Traian Basescu said he could take the joint elections alternative into account only if such proposal came from parties, adding that, technically speaking, this could be done only by amending the local public administration law.
Several Democrat-Liberal leaders yesterday expressed their support for joint elections, cost-cutting and a politician’s obligation to choose between a local and legislative positions being the arguments most often brought up to make their case.
According to “Gandul” daily newspaper, there are voices in PDL speaking about presidential elections also becoming part of the package. Sulfina Barbu (PDL), chairwoman of the Chamber of Deputies Administrative Commission, drew attention to the joint local and legislative elections being made possible only by amendments to the local public administration and the local elections law, towards local terms being extended.
Barbu too made the case for joint elections on account of a single electoral campaign saving tens of millions of euro.
UDMR supports joint elections
UDMR President Kelemen Hunor announced that the Union is in favour of joint parliamentary and local elections on account of it being a money saver and ensuring broader voting participation. Yet, not everybody in the UDMR shares this view. UDMR Deputy Lakatos Peter maintains that joint local and legislative elections is a groundless proposition, as it “would mix things up”, with “elections taking a twist quite different from the normal one,” as local community issues would not longer be discussed given the ballot becoming “too politicized”.
Opposition keen for elections to be held at the soonest
Social-Democrat Party (PSD) President Victor Ponta told Mediafax that the USL wants elections to be held at the soonest possible, even as joint local-parliamentary elections, yet with no opportunity for rigging. Ponta said that the USL would agree with any alternative that would push the election date forward.
“We want elections being held at the soonest possible, which cannot be rigged, in order to remove a regime that did Romania but harm,” Ponta said, who added that PSD and the National Liberal Party (PNL) could “adjust” to voting system alternatives or the timetable of local and legislative elections, including joint elections. In his turn, PNL President Crin Antonescu said that joint elections would not be a “big deal” to the PDL, and not a drama to the USL, outlining that, as far as he is concerned, the sooner the elections, the better. The PNL president held that, without an actual debate, the joint holding of local and parliamentary elections could get voters confused.
For his part, PSD Honourary president Ion Iliescu is of the opinion that the PDL came up with the joint election proposal in order to focus its resources on vote-buying. He also sees the joint elections as a way to mobilize and boost mayors’ interest in elections. Iliescu made the case for a return to list voting, as, in his view, uninominal voting favoured “the rich.”
A new law is needed
The vice-president of the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP), Marian Muhulet said for Mediafax that the solution for merging local and general elections is to pass a new law, because such a change may not be adopted through an emergency ordinance issued by the government. AEP considers that the best situation would be to draft a new law which will stipulate that both elections will be held simultaneously, on the same electoral infrastructure, he explained.