Several EFOR recommendations were adopted in GEO 21/2024 regarding the organization of the June elections

On 4 March, Expert Forum sent comments to the Ministry of Internal Affairs regarding the draft GEO drawn up to regulate the merging of the local with the EP elections, but also to improve certain technical aspects related to the organization of EP elections. EFOR requested the organization of a public debate based on Law 52/2003, which took place on March 5. Also on March 5, EFOR organized a debate about the effects of the change in the legislation and the organization of the elections, in which more than 60 representatives of the institutions involved in the organization of the elections, political parties, journalists and electoral experts participated.

Some of the EFOR recommendations were included in the Emergency Ordinance no. 21/2024 regarding some measures for the organization and conduct of the elections for members from Romania in the European Parliament in 2024 and the elections for local public administration authorities in 2024, approved in the Government meeting on March 8.

The fundamental issues of the GEO for the June 2024 elections

 

The most important recommendations/comments adopted are:

  • parties that do not have representatives in the European Parliament (which were not found in the original form of the GEO) can also be part of the constituency electoral commission for the polling stations abroad – art 2 (5-7) of the GEO 21/2024 .
  • during the debate organized by EFOR on 5 March, attention was drawn to the fact that certain parties could have more representatives in an electoral commissions, as a result of the unclear mechanism for allocating places; this possibility was significantly reduced by the new version of GEO – art 2 (12) of GEO 21/2024 .
  • certain regulations regarding the method of filling the electoral commissions have been clarified – however, we reiterate that the method of formation disadvantages parties that do not have representation in the Romanian Parliament or the European Parliament, especially in the context of organizing local elections. We also reiterate the fact that changing the composition of electoral commissions three months before the elections is at odds with international standards.
  • the migration of local elected officials from one party to another will no longer be possible until they take office – to take office in September/October, elected persons must be in the same party as at the time of their election in June 2024. EFOR drew attention to the fact that the wording in the first version of the GEO allowed local elected officials to change their mandate unhindered until taking over the mandate. Also, the regulations apply in their current form to local and county councilors, who were not included in the first version of the GEO – art 33 of GEO 21/2024. Even if the regulations are at least clearer, they are still harmful to local democracy, as they encourage political migration and distort the results of the 2020 elections.
  • voters can sign for one or more lists of candidates/independent candidates for the European Parliament – art 8 (4) of GEO 21/2024. According to Law 33/2007 on the EP elections, they could support only one candidate.
  • voters with disabilities will be able to vote in both local and European parliamentary elections in another polling station, if the one where they are assigned is not accessible. In the initial version of the GEO, this option was introduced only for the European Parliament elections, which created different rules for the two types of elections. – art 13 of GEO 21/2024
  • contraventions will no longer be applied according to Law 208/2015, but art. 108-111 of Law no. 115/2015 – art 30. EFOR drew attention to the fact that if only Law 208/2015 had been applied, some regulations in the legislation for the organization of local or European parliamentary elections would actually have been eliminated.
  • the provisions regarding the accreditation of observers were adopted from Law 208/2015. This change is a result of a request submitted to Permanent Electoral Authority by members of the VotCorect Coalition, of which EFOR is also a part. – art 31

Even under these conditions, EFOR maintains its position regarding the constitutionality risks that the merging of European parliamentary and local elections raise. EFOR noted as positive the introduction of rules that improve the process of organizing European parliamentary elections, although we remain concerned about the chosen legislative method.

See also other positions or activities organized by EFOR on the topic of organizing the June elections

Merging elections in EU countries: and why doesn’t it work in Romania?

The major loopholes of the legislation for the EP elections

Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.


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