Legal comments

The fundamental issues of the GEO for the June 2024 elections

Expert Forum analyzed the draft of the emergency ordinance and submitted comments to the Ministry of the Interior, some related to the context in which the normative act is initiated, and others related to specific legislative aspects. Below we present the issues problems we have identified with this legislative path. EFOR has observed that at the technical level the proposal brings certain improvements that contribute to the better organization of the European Parliament elections. These changes should have been made early enough to be properly implemented. Expert Forum has already shown why merging the elections just three months before the date of the European Parliament elections is not justified and recommended.

In conclusion, EFOR maintains its position regarding the constitutional risks that the merger of the European Parliament and local elections raises. At the same time, we welcome the introduction of regulations that improve the process of organizing the European Parliament elections, although we remain concerned about the chosen legislative method.

Our comments can be consulted here . 

Main aspects:

  • Drafting an emergency ordinance to regulate the merging of elections is not justified. This does not arise as a result of an “extraordinary situation, the regulation of which cannot be postponed”, an element that belongs to the essence of the GEO in accordance with art. 115 of the Romanian Constitution.
  • The adoption of this GEO, which modifies important rules of the electoral process three months before the elections, goes against the principles of predictability and legal stability.
  • The GEO applies only to these elections and does not resolve the ambiguities related to Law 33/2007 in the long term.
  • The explanatory memorandum does not sufficiently and convincingly explain the need to merge the elections.
  • The merger can create more confusion and inequalities between electoral stakeholders, for reasons related, among others, to the election campaign (such as the overlapping of topics) and its financing. New and more complex procedures, as well as a large number of ballots can affect voters’ right to information and political expression.
  • The regulations related to the loss of mandate for local elected officials create again the premises for political migration and give an advantage to mayors and chairpersons of county councils to the disadvantage of local and county councilors.
  • The GEO extends the deadlines for taking over mandates, the regulated deadlines starting to run from September 27. The organization of local elections in June and the extension of the mandate-taking period can create confusion and imbalance in the activity of the local public administration. Moreover, it could affect the quality of governance at the local level.
  • The project redefines the manner in which electoral commissions are set-up, to include representatives of competitors participating in both elections. It introduces regulations that change the procedure for filling offices and includes unclear rules, namely the risk of discriminating certain electoral competitors.
  • Although the deadline for establishing the residence (for local elections) has been reduced from 6 months before the election date, the 2-month period is too short, given that the GEO could come into force in March, so it gives voters less one month to register his residence. Therefore, the 60-day period should be shortened, especially in the conditions where the new rules are adopted untimely through the GEO.
  • Overall, the legislation does not define how certain aspects that are different for the two types of elections will be correlated, including important aspects such as the deadlines for dealing with complaints or appeals, the manner in which the electoral campaign will be conducted, the financing and oversight of the electoral campaign, the functioning of the electoral commissions etc.
  • Some aspects that reduce the efficiency and transparency of the electoral process remain unresolved, including the number of signatures and their verification, the transparency of the activity of the election commissions, the access of voters with disabilities to the electoral process.

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