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A complicated electoral timetable in Romania

The political power in Bucharest has decided: Romanians will elect their MEPs and mayors on the same day.

EP and local elections in Romania on June 9 (Photo credits: AEP)
EP and local elections in Romania on June 9 (Photo credits: AEP)

, 22.02.2024, 14:00

Debated for a long time in the public space in Romania, the idea of ​​merging some of the elections marking the super-election year 2024 seems to have materialized. The local and European Parliament elections will take place at the same time, respectively on June 9, the two parties forming the government coalition, PSD (Social Democratic Party) and PNL (National Liberal Party) decided. The Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu, the leader of the Social Democrats, also announced that the presidential election will be held in September, most likely in two rounds, and the parliamentary elections in December. Ciolacu claims that the decision to merge the elections was made so as to guarantee a large voter turnout and to block the rise of what he calls extremist parties, which are gaining momentum throughout Europe. Moreover, although they belong to different European political families – PSD is a member of the Socialists group, and PNL of the European People’s Party, and will have their own candidates for mayoral, local and county council elections, the two big parties will go, for the first time, on a joint list at the European Parliament elections.

 

Marcel Ciolacu: “We decided to have an electoral alliance for the European Parliament elections list. It is obvious that only the two big parties can unite and face an extremist wave. Neither of the two political forces can engage in this struggle alone.”

 

In turn, the Speaker of the Romanian Senate, the leader of PNL, Nicolae Ciucă, says that the ruling coalition’s decision is meant to guarantee internal stability, while also taking into account the current international security context, making reference to the situation in neighboring Ukraine, invaded by the Russian army.

 

Nicolae Ciucă: “From all the discussions we’ve had, Romanians want stability, they want peace, they want to see about their everyday life and, in this way, I think it is absolutely necessary that, at certain moments, the political parties should show a minimum sacrifice and give up pride, for everything that means the interest of the Romanians and the stability of the country.”

 

The opposition, on the other hand, vehemently contests the merging of local elections with the European Parliament elections. The United Right Alliance, made up of the USR – Save Romania Union (in Parliament), The Force of the Right (a liberal dissidence) and PMP – People’s Movement Party (founded by the former president Traian Băsescu), announced that they would challenge in court all the laws issued by the government on the issue of combined elections.

 

The president of the Force of the Right party, the former liberal Prime Minister Ludovic Orban: “If they come up with a bill, we will attack it at the Constitutional Court. If they issue an emergency ordinance, obviously, we will notify the Ombudsman, which is the only institution able to trigger constitutional control within the framework of emergency ordinances. We will also challenge in court both the ordinance and the government decision that will be issued.”

 

Also from the opposition, the nationalist Alliance for the Union of Romanians – AUR considers the merging of elections illegal and unconstitutional but claims that it can adapt to any type of elections, whether they are held on time or combined.

 

The AUR leader, George Simion: “Considering the government’s haste to hold combined elections, we will also change our strategy, if we also have local elections on June 9, in total contempt of the Constitution, and the state institutions fail to intervene through its representatives, we will accept common candidates from all rightist parties to fight with the PSD-PNL representative, no matter what his or her name is.”

 

In their turn, the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania – UDMR says that it is not affected by this decision of the governing coalition, with which it governed until last year. (LS)

photo: pixabay.com
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