Expert Forum launched the 2016 local elections monitoring report. It includes information about the legislative framework, practical concerns related to the organisation of elections, as well as recommendations pertaining to the technical aspects and political decisions.
The most important points in the report are as follows:
- the need of an immediate discussion concerning the return to a two-round voting system
- the need to rework the legislation regarding the collection of supporting signatures, in order to reduce the threshold and introduce validation systems in the law
- verifying the candidates’ electoral rights by the local electoral bureaux during the validation process, using data either from their judicial records (provided by the Ministry of Interior) or the Electoral Register
- waiving the legislative provision regarding political parties about disolving them unless they have appointed candidates in 75 circumscriptions for the local elections, or a full list in one circumscription, or candidates in 3 electoral circumscriptions for the parliamentary elections in two consecutive cycles
- waiving several unclear or contradictory articles in the electoral legislation, such as those those related to the accreditation of observers
- the need for consistent and centralized procedures for accrediting observers
- develop an Electoral Code that centralizes the technical procedures of the elections, in order to avoid discrepancies or uncertainties
- the need to thoroughly inquire into election cancellation requests in circumscriptions to promote confidence in the way elections are organized and run
- including regulations that would address incompatibilities of computer operators in the electoral legislation, considering that on the 5th of June 2016 a number of 177 people were also on candidates lists, while other 56 were on the reserves list
- strengthening the Electoral Experts Body through effective training workshops, including online modules, but also by monitoring them and evaluating them based on their contribution to the running of the local elections
- publishing open data related to the organization of the elections (costs, sanctions, complaints, accreditations) and party finances (loans, donors, debts, sanctions, reimbursements, subventions)
The legislation regarding the place where you can vote has changed. The old legislation establisshed a term of 90 days before the day of the vote to establish a domicile in that locality; the new law permits to subscribe to the Electoral registry 45 days before the elections and to vote even in the day of elections, on supplementary lists, if a residency visa is obtained in a shorter time. We analyzed data on the potential migration of the electorate, who have obtained residence visas between April and June 2016, as this might have been a mechanism used by politicians to bring electorate in their own localities, especially in the rural areas. We measured the percentage that newcomers would represent of the existing population. The largest percentages can be found in Secaș (Timiș) – 70% of total population, Brebu Nou (Caraș Severin) – 34% or 25% in Zorlențu Mare (Caraș Severin) and Bunila (Hunedoara) respectively. Right below these communes, we find Bulzeștii de Sus (Hunedoara) with 20%, Ceatalchioi with 17%, Godeanu (Mehedinți) with 16% or Bogda (Timiș) with 15%. We believe that all these cases should be looked into and the causes of these developments found out, especially as they are significantly larger than the percentages calculated for the same time frame in 2015, which was not an election year.
During the following stages it is essential to continue the talks about going back to a two-round system for local elections, reducing the number of support signatures needed, but also passing an Electoral Code.
Read the report here (Romanian only)
The report has been published with the project Cetățeni implicați pentru alegeri locale corecte, supported by the Civic Innovation Fund through the Rapid Action Fund.