President Iohannis requests re-examination of organisation of parliamentary elections

President Klaus Iohannis on Friday sent to Parliament a request for the re-examination of the Law on some measures regarding the organisation of the elections for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, following the termination of the mandate of the Parliament elected in 2016, the Presidential Administration informs.

The president says that this law was adopted by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies in separate meetings on 27 July, and on 29 July Parliament sent the piece of legislation for promulgation. Subsequently, following the reports of unconstitutionality made by him and the Government, respectively, the CCR (Constitutional Court of Romania) found the constitutionality of this law.

President Iohannis also indicates that, in applying the legal provisions, the Government has determined that the date of the elections for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies is 6 December and has adopted the decision to approve the timetable of the actions during the electoral period of the elections for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies in 2020.

President Iohannis points out that any intervention – with the exception of any situation that would justify the legal extension of Parliament’s mandate: the state of mobilization, the state of war, the state of siege or the state of emergency – which would have the effect of postponing the date of the elections for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies could constitute an “abuse and damage of the electoral rights of Romanian citizens, and especially those of the diaspora, in whose case the procedures are already triggered and are in advanced stages”.

“Distinct from the considerations of principle of the CCR, expressed in Decision No 678/2020, we consider that Parliament’s political choice to give consistency to electoral rights by establishing by itself the date of the elections cannot be taken out of context, Parliament being obliged that in adopting such a law to take into account the entire jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court in the matter. (…) Therefore, in the current context, we consider it unequivocal that the legislative intervention – which gives concrete expression to the intention of the legislative authority to derogate from the rule of the organization of parliamentary elections within the mandate of the 4-year Parliament – occurs less than one year before the date of the holding of the parliamentary elections on time, i.e. less than 2 months before the date of the expiry of the mandate convened by the Decree of the Romanian Presidency No. 1.134/2016 on the convening of the Romanian Parliament elected on 11 December 2016 and it is likely to disrupt the ongoing electoral process,” reads the request sent to the acting President of the Senate, Robert Cazanciuc.

The president states that, in a democratic society, the Code of Good Practice in electoral matters considers distinctly and expressly that an analysis in terms of when legislative changes are made is necessary.

“The closer this moment is to the date of the elections, the stronger the presumption that these changes are aimed at creating a benefit/advantage for the political party that adopted them, being dictated by its imminent interests, and may result in the manipulation of the electorate,” says Iohannis, according to Agerpres.

The president asserts that, in the situation in which the Legislature will keep its option enshrined in the law transmitted for promulgation, in the current context it is necessary that such a law be adopted following a real institutional dialogue between the Government and Parliament.

He believes that the absence of any transitional rules in the law clarifying these issues will lead to a non-unitary interpretation, including in relation to the reimbursement of expenses already incurred under the conditions of the law, in this election campaign, by all political parties, political alliances and citizens’ organizations belonging to national minorities.

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