POLITICS

Emergency Ordinance extending local public administration authorities’ terms of office published in Official Journal

Emergency Ordinance No. 44/2020 that extends the terms of office of local public administration authorities, lays out a set of measures for the organization of 2020 local elections and also amends the Government’s Emergency Ordinance No. 57/2019 on the Administrative Code was published in the Official Journal.

The government approved the emergency ordinance at its latest meeting.

The procedures for the organization of elections for the local public administration authorities are initiated within 6 months from the end of the state of emergency, the regulatory document stipulates.

The election date is established according to Article 10 paragraph (1) of Law No. 115/2015 on the election of the local public administration authorities amending Law No. 215/2001 on the local public administration, and amending and complementing Law No. 393/2004 on the statute of the local holders of elective office, with the subsequent amendments and additions, at the proposal of the Permanent Electoral Authority and of the Interior Ministry, with the approval of the National Committee on Special Emergency Situations.

The terms of office of the local public administration authorities are extended until the date of the newly elected authorities legally take over office, yet no later than December 31, 2020.

According to the new OUG, the minimum number of supporters required for submitting candidacies in the 2020 local elections shall be halved.

For the candidacies for the local council and the office of mayor of the same constituency, respectively for the candidacies for the county council and county council president in the same constituency, the political parties, political alliances, electoral alliances, the citizens’ organizations belonging to the national minorities and independent candidates shall each present a single list of supporters.

By way of derogation from the law currently in force, the OUG adopted by the Orban Government also provides that the political parties, political alliances, electoral alliances, citizens’ organizations belonging to the national minorities may choose to submit to the Central Electoral Bureau, no later than 30 days from the beginning of the electoral period, national lists of supporters with a minimum of 25,000 voters, with at least 500 voters in each county and 1,000 in Bucharest.

The ordinance also specifies that instead of submitting lists of supporters, the political parties, political alliances, electoral alliances, citizens’ organizations belonging to the national minorities may opt for providing proof of having deposited in the bank account opened for the electoral campaign in the respective county or in Bucharest, depending on the case, electoral contributions amounting to at least 50 national minimum gross basic wages.

The independent candidate may choose, instead of submitting a list of supporters, to submit proof of the existence in the bank account opened for the election campaign of an electoral contribution of at least 3 percent of the maximum amount admitted for the position he/she is running for.

At this year’s local elections, the political parties, political alliances, electoral alliances, citizens’ organizations belonging to national minorities and independent candidates will be able to electronically put together and submit their candidacy files, in accordance with the law. According to the regulatory act published in the Official Journal, the lists of supporters can be signed and filed electronically, as per the requirements of the law.

The ordinance also modifies Article 151, paragraph 3 of the OUG on the Administrative Code, stipulating that the mayor’s term of office shall be exercised until the newly elected mayor takes the oath; the mayor’s term of office may be extended by organic law, in case of war or catastrophe or in other situations expressly provided for by the law, when legal elections cannot be organized.

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