Coalition divided on reducing MPs’ numbers

UDMR will back election-merging project provided the present electoral system and the number of MPs remain unmodified, while the PDL announced its intention to reduce MPs’ numbers to 300.

The Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR)’s parliamentary groups decided yesterday they would back PDL’s project to merge local and parliamentary elections on condition the present electoral system and the number of MPs are maintained. “The proportional system is not a perfect system, but it ensures proportional representation, these are the only terms under which we will back the merging of local and parliamentary elections,” UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor stated, quoted by Mediafax. He added that UDMR hoped for a mixed electoral system, but this cannot be achieved without the backing of their coalition partners, which leaves them with the present single vote system.

The Union leader added that electoral laws should remain as they are because they can’t be modified by the end of the year and argued UDMR could not agree to a change of the system nine months before the elections. The UDMR senator Gyorgy Frunda went as far as qualifying the idea of merging elections as “an error”, as the common voter will find it hard to make a selection from six different lists. In his opinion, the financial argument invoked as a motivation for the proposed merging is “unacceptable”.

UDMR’s decision comes a day after PDL deputy president Gheorghe Flutur’s announcement that his party proposed to modify the Constitution in the first half of 2012 so as to reduce the number of MPs to 300 and to introduce the unicameral Parliament “as this is a commitment before the Romanian people following the referendum”.

Kelemen Hunor further stated that a decision would be made in the coalition on Monday as to whether the best course of action would be the Government’s taking responsibility or a bill to push the merging of elections, adding that the former option is more likely and voicing his backing for it. According to official sources quoted by Mediafax, the government is to convene in a special meeting, most likely at the beginning of next week, to discuss the bill to merge local and parliamentary elections. Hunor also argued that UDMR would not discuss the reduction of MPs’ numbers as its own proposal – 88 senators and 300 deputies – is not backed by PDL, while the Democrat-Liberals’ proposed revising of the Constitution, introducing the unicameral Parliament, does not appeal to the Union. He added that a reduction of the number of MPs could be operated depending on the results of the census. The UDMR leader argued the revising of the Constitution cannot be achieved as it does not have the backing of two thirds of the MPs and electoral laws should remain unaltered.

USL pleads for technocrat cabinet

The president of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Victor Ponta, stated yesterday that the Social-Liberal Union (USL) abided by the proposal made this summer at Cotroceni of forming a Cabinet of technocrats to take anti-crisis measures and to organize the elections. Ponta stated USL abided by its position as regards a Parliament made up of 318 MPs, the single vote and the forming of a technocrat Cabinet. Ponta added that a bill to reduce MPs’ numbers to 318, signed by him and Liberal leader Crin Antonescu, had been filed in Parliament as early as this summer and called PDL to task for the failure to address this bill as yet.


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