On the other hand, there is a consensus on reducing the number of MPs to 388: 300 deputies and 88 senators. UDMR opposes administrative reform.
During its meeting yesterday, the ruling coalition agreed on merging elections which will be held in November 2012, reducing the number of MPs but keeping the bicameral system.
UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor said an agreement had been made to hold elections simultaneously in November 2012, reduce the number of MPs to 388, but keep the bicameral Parliament. ‘We, in the coalition, have discussed few principles contouring a decision, a compromise on our behalf and from PDL. These principles we have agreed on mean simultaneous elections in November next year, keeping the current bicameral Parliament, but cutting down the number of MPs. At the Chamber of Deputies there will be 300-301 MPs and at the Senate 88 MPs, two for each county and one for each sector of Bucharest,’ said Kelemen, according to Mediafax. The coalition therefore decided to keep the current bicameral system and to have a mixed election system for the Chamber of Deputies – about 65 per cent single-winner voting system and 35 per cent of the deputies to be elected in a national compensatory mixed-member voting system, with the total number of deputies to be approximately 300.
In the Senate, the proportion will be two senators for each county and one for each sector of the capital, the resulting total being 88 MPs. Kelemen explained that the census result had been considered, the estimation being that Romania has a population of less than 20 million. He said the way in which the changes were going to be adopted gad not been discussed.
PM Emil Boc also said important progress had been made in the coalition in respect of the holding local and general elections at the same time and reduction of the number of MPs, but avoided to indicate if the Government intended to push the relevant laws by asking for a confidence vote.
‘When we have the projects in concrete terms, we will discuss more details,’ Boc said. The PM also called upon the opposition to attend the Constitution review commission to discuss the changes proposed, the implementation of which requires two thirds of the votes in both chambers. ‘I am convinced the coalition parties have the necessary strength to adopt the legislative package on the merger of elections and reduction of the number of MPs through regular parliamentary procedures,’ UDMR Senator Verestoy Attila said, in turn.
Opposition says no
Answering the ruling coalition decision, USL noted it was not going to support the simultaneous elections, but just the reduction of the number of MPs, announcing a no-confidence vote should the Government ask for a vote of confidence over a package of normative acts covering the cutting of the number of MPs and the introduction of simultaneous elections. PNL leader Crin Antonescu yesterday explained that the reduction of the number of Mps could be done by endorsing the opposition’s legislative proposal in the matter. ‘We agree to a significant reduction of the number of MPs and not just a superficial cut, that should comply with the constitutional principle of proportionality, meaning that the representatives of the people in Parliament should have behind an approximately equal number of voters,’ Antonescu said, adding that the currently proposed variant with two senators per county would be unconstitutional.
PDL Spokesman Sever Voinescu yesterday stated that PDL had proposed its ruling coalition partners to adopt a ban on running for two nominal offices given the fact that the intention was to hold local and parliamentary elections simultaneously. ‘About EUR 30 M will be saved in an austere economic context forecast for 2012. Romania will therefore be spared the paralysis usually entailed by two consecutive election campaigns. It is a fact that in Romania the administration becomes motionless in election years,’ Voinescu said.
No administrative reform
While a consensus has been reached in the coalition in the matter of amalgamation and reduction of the number of MPs, things are not as straightforward when it comes to another PDL objective – administrative reform. UDMR President Kelemen Hunor said the discussion in the coalition on an administrative-territorial regionalisation was based on the principle that, if there is no consensus, it’s not going to happen. There is no consensus in the matter because we don’t think a reorganisation is possible before elections. (…) If there is no consensus, it’s not going to happen,’ Realitatea.net quotes him saying.
During the Sunday night meeting at Vila Lac, Prime-Minister Boc had asked his coalition partners to state their positions on the subject of unicameral parliament, reduction of the number of MPs, territorial reorganisation and simultaneous elections.
After the meeting on Sunday, PM Emil Boc has confirmed the budget correction. ‘Yes, there is going to be a budget correction and its coordinates will be decided upon during the Cabinet meeting this Wednesday. The certain thing about it is that financial resources will be allocated to the health sector as well as for investment.’ Finance Minister Gheorghe Ialomitianu also pointed out yesterday that there was going to be a budget correction in 2011, but not a negative one as speculated, because amounts would be allocated to the healthcare sector and the arrears of some ministries such as the Finance Ministry were going to be paid from savings. Ialomitianu also expressed his hope that the 2012 draft budget would be submitted to Parliament by the end of November. He said the bill was almost complete, with a few adjustments still waiting to be made.