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January 28, 2023

Quorum for referendums stirs disputes, opposition to attack law at CC

The draft law promoted by USL was voted by the Chamber of Deputies. It introduces a voter turnout threshold of 30 pc and a validation threshold of 25 pc.

The Lower Chamber adopted yesterday, with 221 votes in favour, 73 votes against and 2 abstentions, the draft law on lowering the voter turnout threshold at 30 per cent in the case of a referendum. The draft law, signed by Valeriu Zgonea, Florin Iordache, Eugen Nicolicea and Bogdan Ciuca stipulates that a voter turnout of 30 per cent is necessary in order for a referendum to be validated.
The law currently stipulates that a referendum is validated if 50 per cent plus one of the registered voters cast their ballots. At the same time, the result of the referendum is validated if the valid ballots cast represent at least 25 per cent of voters registered on permanent electoral lists. PDL, UDMR and PPDD opposed the draft law and asked for it to be sent back to the commissions but the proposal was rejected. The Lower Chamber is the decisional forum in this case.
Shortly after the results of the vote were announced, PDL, UDMR and PPDD decided to attack the draft law at the Constitutional Court (CC). The announcement was made by Mircea Toader, the leader of PDL MPs within the Lower Chamber. The Democrat-Liberal pointed out that if this law is implemented any mayor in Romania could be sacked by 25 per cent of the local constituents and this could also happen to the presidents of county councils, which is not normal. “We, together with UDMR and PPDD, will attack the law at the Constitutional Court,” Toader said, being quoted by Mediafax.
In his turn, UDMR MP Marton Arpad claims that as a result of the adoption of this law all important decisions for society will be adopted by 25 per cent of the population. “I don’t think it is good to amend the Constitution with 25 per cent of the citizens, I don’t believe a mayor should be sacked by 25 per cent and I don’t think the administrative-territorial boundaries should be modified with 25 per cent.

I don’t think decisions can be taken with 25 per cent in all situations in a rule of law state,” Arapd said.
In reply, PNL MP Mircea Dolha stated that the mayors and the presidents of the county councils (CJs) can be sacked by 25 per cent of the constituents, but “25 per cent of registered voters represents far more than some of the mayors won in the first round of elections.”
According to sources quoted by Hotnews, the draft law’s stakes have to do with the validation of the future Constitution, which will debated in Parliament in the following period. “Eliminating the 50 per cent voter turnout threshold is a necessity because we have an electorate who lacks civic sense and we would risk not validating the new Constitution, ending up in a situation like the one seen in 2004 when the referendum spanned two days,” the aforementioned sources pointed out.

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