The Government approved the draft on the election of mayors in two rounds, will assume responsibility for this legislative initiative, and will send Parliament a letter on this matter on Monday, Prime Minister’s Chancellery head Ionel Danca announced.
The Liberals claim that the modification will improve the legislation, boosting mayors legitimacy and representation.
“We made a promise, we are keeping our word, the Liberal Government adopted in the Government meeting today the draft law for the two-round mayoral elections. This draft law’s adoption will be through responsibility assumption, and in this regard, the Government will send a letter to Parliament on Monday, asking the assembly of an extraordinary session for the Government’s responsibility assumption for the draft law on the election of mayors in two rounds,” Ionel Danca said at the end of the Government meeting.
“This is a bill law on the election of mayors in two rounds of elections with 50% plus 1. (…) In the discussions we had (…) we made the decision to take responsibility before Parliament on the bill regarding two-round mayoral elections. (…) From our point of view, to improve the performance of the local administration it is vital that the mayors are elected by half plus one of the enfranchised citizens of a local community in order to really have the legitimacy to put into practice the development programmes and to actually have capacity capacity, because the existence of a second round entails negotiation over a majority in the local councils that allows the implementation of a development plan,” Orban explained at the beginning of a government meeting on Thursday.
“It is time to do what the people want and as such we have made the decision to assume responsibility for electing the mayors in two rounds. Of course we made this decision when it became obvious that those who are still at Parliament’s helm will preserve this undemocratic way of the mayors and that there is no chance that through the parliamentary debate and the vote in the plenary sitting of the Chamber of Deputies we will manage to improve the electoral system for the local elections. Of course, that will probably bother those at Parliament’s helm, but we must take on the risk, because the government has an obligation to intervene where things are not working properly and to improve democratic mechanisms,” said Orban, according to Agerpres.
President Iohannis: It is a very appropriate choice the Government made, I totally support them in this demarche
President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday he supports the Government’s demarche to assume responsibility in Parliament for the two-round mayoral elections.
“Today, the Government has decided to assume responsibility for the modification of the mayoral election law, namely it is intended to come back to the two-round election, which is absolutely correct, democratic and normal. It is a very appropriate choice the Government made and I totally support them in this demarche. It is, in my opinion, (…) the right way to elect a mayor in two rounds, so that at least half plus one of the electors in the community elect the person who will be a mayor. In this regard, I encourage them to go further,” President Iohannis said in a press statement at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
He added that the Government’s document on the responsibility assumption for the two-round mayoral elections would be shortly sent to Parliament and he would ask the Legislature to assemble in an extraordinary session.
“As soon as the document reaches Parliament, I will ask Parliament to assemble in an extraordinary session to discuss this new law which the Government is assuming responsibility for,” Iohannis said.
Iohannis maintained that the draft on the two-round mayoral elections does not contravene any norm and it is a modification giving more choices to the elector.
He was asked why the draft law on the modification of the electoral legislation hadn’t included as well the provision on the election of county council presidents from among county councilors.
“This is what you must ask the Government. The Government is assuming responsibility for the election of mayors in two rounds. In my opinion, it is true that we need to come back as well to the election of the county council president from among county councilors and not by direct election. The Government is certainly thinking about this matter and at the right time the Government will certainly tell you how it sees things,” Iohannis explained.
PSD’s Ciolacu: We will submit a motion of censure together with our partners, the UDMR group, and I am certain it will pass
Interim PSD (Social Democratic Party) leader Marcel Ciolacu on Thursday stated in Slatina that the PSD will file a censure motion together with the UDMR (Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania), after the government announced it would take responsibility for the election of mayors in two rounds.
“We will submit a motion of censure together with our partners, the UDMR group, and I am certain the censure motion will pass. (…) No, we will not have early polls. We will prove that we have the capacity to create a new parliamentary majority,” Ciolacu said.
USR’s Barna: Election of mayors in two rounds another major objective of USR’s agreement with Gov’t
The Government’s decision to assume responsibility for the law on the election of mayors in two rounds is one of the major objectives of USR’s (Save Romania Union) agreement with the Government, said the leader of this party, Dan Barna.
“I hail the Government’s decision to assume responsibility for the law on the election of mayors in two rounds. For two years, USR asked the Romanian Government to do this. In fact, this was one of the major conditions that we had asked the Government to meet before agreeing to support its investiture. The political agreement that we signed at the time includes other items, however, which hasn’t been addressed yet. But going back to the decision today, democracy starts from ground zero and it’s normal to not put any more obstacle before it,” Barna wrote on Facebook on Thursday.
PRO Romania’s Ponta: Court may overrule Gov’t assuming responsibility for mayoral elections
PRO Romania national leader Victor Ponta said in Craiova on Thursday that the government passing legislation on two-round mayoral elections by assuming responsibility for it before Parliament could be overruled by the Constitutional Court (CCR) as there are less than six months until the local elections.
Ponta added that Prime Minister Ludovic Orban made the discussion “probably pushed by President Iohannis.”
“It is very important when Orban’s courage comes up. Every day he claims to change the system, but his courage dies in the evening. Yesterday we learned that he will issue an ordinance today. Today his courage has died. I want to tell you one thing about the matter with two-round elections for city halls and county councils: should Ludovic Orban want them, he could have had them from day one. If he calls them now, after all, probably pushed from behind by Mr Iohannis and others, he has a problem, because the Constitutional Court might overrule him. Had he wanted to have the elections he would have called them last November, as there were more than six months before the scheduled elections,” Ponta said, according to Agerpres.
ALDE: Election of mayors in two rounds is used by Gov’t to force early polls
The ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats) supports the election of mayors in two rounds, but draws attention to the fact that, by assuming responsibility for the law on the election of mayors in two rounds, the Government wants, in fact, to sacrifice it to “force early polls.”
“ALDE supported and supports the election of mayors in two rounds! But the Government’s decision to assume responsibility for the modification of the election law regarding the local elections is a regrettable one. We believe that assuming responsibility is not the right way to do this, as ALDE requested, this should be done through the adoption of an emergency ordinance that, besides the advantage given by the fact that it will come into force immediately, it could have also been put up for debate in Parliament later on, if there had been modifications brought to it,” reads a post on ALDE’s Facebook page.
The party draws attention that a possible removal of the Government in Parliament as a result of the adoption of the motion of censure will block the election of mayors in two rounds and maintain the current law.
“So our understanding of this is that they are going to sacrifice the election of mayors in two rounds to force for early polls,” said ALDE.