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August 8, 2022

PM Ciolos, party leaders to discuss amending local elections legislation

Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos is expected on Monday to hold consecutive meetings with parliamentary party leaders to discuss amending the local elections legislation, official sources told Agerpres on Sunday.
The talks are scheduled for Monday morning at Vila Lac.

The same sources added that on Monday afternoon, Ciolos will have his weekly working meeting with President Klaus Iohannis.

On January 18, PNL said they were forwarding to the prime minister for approval a request for two-round mayoral elections to be approved under an emergency ordinance. Prime minister’s first reaction was that the request is undemocratic.
Later, Ciolos announced he will be holding talks with the political parties on changing election legislation.

On January 26, PNL sent a letter to the Ombudsman asking him to notify the Constitutional Court (CCR) about what they argued were unconstitutional one-round mayoral elections.

Co-chair of PNL Alina Gorghiu had declared last Monday that reinstating two-round local elections would not be possible by the Government assuming responsibility in the Parliament, considering that there was already a law on this topic in parliamentary procedure, and the most adequate solution was an emergency ordinance.

PNL’s Gorghiu: Support for two-round local elections would prove ALDE, UNPR have a spine

Gorghiu, currently on a visit to the US through next weekend, says support for two round local elections would show the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) and the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) ‘have a spine,” arguing that one-round local elections are detrimental to the two parties.

“The one-round elections favour large parties such as PNL and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), while disfavouring all the others. It is hard to understand why ALDE and UNPR, hugely disadvantaged by the voting system in place prefer to remain prisoners to the PSD electoral interests. Either they are suffering from the Stockholm syndrome and cannot get rid of it, or they are consciously collaborating for their own political extinction. Their support for two-round local elections would have been a good opportunity for them to show some spine; I doubt they will do it. In the end, it is their right to stay until PSD2 and PSD3 electoral rout,” Gorghiu wrote on Sunday in a Facebook post.

She added that “PSD is already losing more by preserving the one-round ballot than they would do by changing the system for the election of mayors.”
“Much as in other previous cases, PSD is treating voters like their foes, which each time was lethal,” added Gorghiu.
She also said that PSD boycotting the local elections if the two-round mayoral election system is reinstated, ”is a statement for external use,” for the European Socialists and cannot be taken seriously, while the first to do so are the PSD mayors.

Her reaction is to UNPR and ALDE having stated they favour one-round mayoral elections after national leader of PSD Liviu Dragnea said PSD might boycott the elections if the relevant piece of legislation changed.

PSD’s Zgonea on changing mayoral election law: Very dangerous precedent would be generated

Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Valeriu Zgonea of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) says the Ciolos Cabinet has to resist the pressure from the National Liberal Party (PNL) and refuses to change the legislation about the election of mayors, as there is a large parliamentary majority having already stated in favour of the current provisions being kept in place; contrariwise, a very dangerous precedent would be generated.

“Unlike PNL, PSD will always agree with respecting laws and having a fair electoral competition. Article 1 (5) in the Constitution clearly says that respect of the Constitution, its supremacy and the law is mandatory. Consequently, the principle of legislative stability is indispensable to the fair operation of any democratic state. When adding up the recommendations of the Venice Commission and the principles sanctioned under several rulings of the Constitutional Court, it will be clear that rules may not change during the electoral game without abdicating from these fundamental rules. That is what PSD also says and many NGOs that attended talks inside the election code board – which chairmanship was held by PNL – and where transparency and predictability for electoral legislation were demanded.I believe that if such a proposal were heeded to, a very dangerous precedent would be generated. I hope the Ciolos Cabinet will resist the pressure from PNL mainly because there is a large parliamentary majority having already stated in favour of the current provisions being kept in place,” Zgonea told Agerpres on Sunday.

He added that PNL is playing its game by trying to change the conversation and focus on the number of rounds of elections. Zgonea also said that PNL is forgetting what he says is the most important matter, namely to file credible, decent, responsible and intact candidates.

“Citizens are voting for people they trust and who are good, no matter if they do so in one or two rounds! I will not take democracy and representation lessons from the members of the former Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) who won seats in Parliament with 5-6,000 votes from second or even third-place finishes in the elections. That is obviously a display of hypocrisy that proves PNL’s reckonings of one year ago are no longer valid. Probably this time they want to change only the election of mayors and have nothing to object over the election of county council chairs. I am urging PNL to be more responsible and accept that any talks on returning to a two-round mayoral voting are possible only after the incoming elections are over. Maybe PNL got inspiration from Machiavelli, but I can assure them that in 2016 the aim does not justify the means,” Zgonea concluded.

UDMR to attend election talks with PM Ciolos, voices disagreement with two-round mayoral elections

The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) will be attending a meeting on Monday with Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos about changes in the local elections legislation, but it disagrees with two-round mayoral elections, officials of the UDMR Press Department told Agerpres on Sunday.

”A delegation of UDMR headed by national leader Kelemen Hunor will be attending the meeting with Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, but it is sticking to its initial position of disagreement with two-round mayoral elections,” they said.

UNPR’s national leader Gabriel Oprea said Saturday he will observe the local elections legislation as voted by all the political parties for the one-round election of mayors.

ALDE co-chair Calin Popescu-Tariceanu argued in his turn that election legislation should not be modified to accommodate the interests of one party or another. ”We agreed last year to modify election legislation one year before the elections proper.

We reached this agreement by consensus with PNL. PNL has changed tack and want to change the rules of the game. I do not find it fair for the rules to change to accommodate the particular interests of one party or another that may influence such decision,” said Tariceanu.

“PSD, UNPR, ALDE and UDMR announced they do not agree with changing local elections law. Under these circumstances, I do not know whether Mr. Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos may even consider initiating one way or another an ordinance or a draft law under the circumstances that a vast majority of the Parliament does not support this idea”, PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea declared on Friday, in a press conference.

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