A new Elections Law is promulgated by the President of Romania Klaus Iohannis.
President Klaus Iohannis has signed into law a bill on elections for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies and on the organization and operation of the Permanent Electoral Authority.
The bill changes the rules for the election of MPs and gives the Authority more powers both during election campaigns and between elections. The most important change for the Romanian political scene is that deputies and senators will be elected in a party-list proportional representation system, which was abandoned back in 2008. The uninominal voting system, which proved unsuitable for the Romanian political life, is thus given up.
The new law also stipulates that the number of MPs should be lowered by over 100, more specifically, to 466 as against 588 at present. The law keeps the 5% Parliament entry threshold for parties, and introduces a threshold of 8 to 10% for electoral alliances. As a response to the flawed organization of last autumn’s presidential ballot, when many Romanians living abroad were unable to vote because of the long queues in polling stations, the new legislation introduces a special facility for these citizens. Polling stations will be organized in towns and villages where at least 100 Romanian voters reside. All these citizens need to do is to have their address abroad registered with the Electoral Registry, by means of a written application submitted to the Permanent Electoral Authority starting on the 1st of April, the year when the parliamentary election is scheduled, and no later than 48 hours after the start of the election campaign. Under the new law, the Authority will communicate to the Foreign Ministry a list of the localities abroad where polling stations need to be opened.
Another novelty is the establishment of the Corps of Electoral Experts. This is a database of individuals who can be presidents of polling stations. The database is to be put together, managed and updated by the Permanent Electoral Authority. The election for the Senate and Chamber of Deputies in 2016 will be the first parliamentary election where an IT system will be used in order to monitor voter turnout and to prevent illegal voting, both in polling stations in Romania, and abroad.