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April 14, 2021

Constitutional Court does not want referendums to coincide with elections

Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) judges decided on Thursday that Ciolos Government’s emergency ordinance that amends the Referendum Law is unconstitutional.

The Government had decided to modify the legislation in order to allow the holding of local referendums simultaneously with local elections on June 5. The Interior Ministry and the Standing Electoral Authority had forwarded the proposal to the Ciolos Government.

The same voting centres, constituency electoral bureaus and voting stamps would have been used, thus lowering the costs and guaranteeing higher turnout at the referendums.

Two cases were at the heart of the issue, in Oradea and Botosani, where people should have voted on the merger of several localities. The Ombudsman however attacked the ordinance at the CCR. Ombudsman Victor Ciorbea argued that although organising referendums simultaneously with local elections is timely, the manner in which the Government tried to do so – during the elections campaign and through an emergency ordinance – is unconstitutional. CCR magistrates agreed with the Ombudsman’s point of view.

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