Permanent Electoral Authority wants local elections held on June 5. Campaign could start on May 6

Local elections would take place on June 5, 2016, with the elections campaign set to start on May 6, according to draft Government decisions on the election of local public authorities, drafts currently debated by the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP).

According to the timetable of this year’s local elections, currently debated by AEP, the elections campaign would start on May 6, with the candidates’ order on the voting ballot set to be set, through a draw, on May 7.

According to the aforementioned source, the list of names and logos of the political parties, political alliances and electoral alliances, as well as those of the national minorities’ organizations that have the right to take part in the local elections, has to be sent to all electoral bureaus by April 12 at the latest.

The location and delimitation of each voting centre and the number of constituencies will have to be presented publicly 30 days before the day of the elections, by May 6 at the latest.

The voting ballots would be printed 10 days before the day of the elections at the latest, namely on May 26. The elections campaign will end the on June 4, at 7 a.m.

Citizens will be able to cast their ballots on June 5, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

After receiving the results of the vote count from all electoral offices of the voting centres and after solving the challenges, the electoral bureaus of constituencies at the level of communes, towns, municipalities, Bucharest Districts, counties and the Bucharest municipality will tally the votes and allot the mandates.

42 constituencies have been established for the local elections, including Bucharest.

AEP will spend RON 11,218. The sum will be used to cover the expenses on the headquarters, endowment and operation of the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC), indemnities paid to its members and auxiliary staff. The funds will also cover the maintenance of the Electoral Registry and the specific actions of managing it during the electoral period, the applications and/or IT services used by BEC in order to tally the results, the IT programmes used to appoint the presidents of the voting centres’ electoral bureaus and their deputies, the actions taken to inform voters, to organize admission exams for the corps of electoral experts, to devise, edit and distribute free legislative brochures and electoral guidebooks, to train computer operators and financial attorneys-in-fact.

Zegrean: Constitution not saying whether elections should take place in one or two rounds, it says that they should be free

In recent days, one of the political topics has been PNL’s request to have the electoral law changed so that mayors could be elected in two rounds of elections, in spite of a Venice Commission stipulation, accepted by the Constitutional Court, which says that electoral laws cannot be modified less than 12 months before elections.

The Ciolos Government refuses to change the law through an emergency ordinance, as PNL demands, invoking the lack of political legitimacy.

The surprise however came from Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) President Augustin Zegrean, who hinted that there would not be a constitutionality issue over this and the Court’s previous decisions do not necessarily concern the moment the law is modified but its effects instead.

“One round, two rounds or ten rounds is a political option. The Constitution does not say the elections have one or two rounds, doesn’t say how many rounds, it says they have to be free, frequent and fair elections. So from then on it is the politicians’ latitude to decide,” the CCR President stated when asked about the Government’s refusal to act on PNL’s request and to issue an emergency ordinance on reverting to two-round local elections for city halls.

Asked whether it is democratic for a law to be modified by a government of technocrats through emergency ordinance, Zegrean stated smilingly: “As far as I know, a thousand emergency ordinances have been adopted in Romania. It means we are completely undemocratic, right?” He added that all he can say is that “they have to respect the Constitution when issuing an emergency ordinance.”

Likewise, asked whether it would be democratic for the law to be modified five months before the local elections, Zegrean answered: “Who can establish whether it is democratic 6 months before but 5 months before is not. Democracy is not measured in months, or days, it is measured in things well done, smartly done. The Venice Commission said – as a recommendation – that it is not good for the electoral laws to be modified a year or less than a year before elections. And we (the CCR – editor’s note) have taken note, have included that in decisions, countless times, but up until recently nobody saw this.”

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