The signatory organisations are expressing their concern and indignation regarding the proposal for the appointment of Mr. Mircea Drăghici as president of the Permanent Electoral Authority after the resignation of Daniel Barbu. Appointing someone who is currently being prosecuted for illegal acts such as the use of funds for subsidies received by parties constitutes a major downfall and may lead to the loss of the institution’s credibility.
We consider that AEP has made significant steps towards transparency in the electoral process, including the introduction of the SIMPV system, but also through measures related to the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns. In order for this progress to continue, the head of the institution should be someone who would not raise suspicions of illegal use of public funds and could continue to support the transparency in the process of political parties financing.
This is even more important if we take into account the significant increase in the number of subsidies to political parties. We recall the law initiated by Mr. Drăghici which raised the value for subsidies in 2018, stating that the amount allocated annually to political parties from the state budget is at least 0.01% and not more than 0.04% of gross domestic product. For example, in February 2019 the sum was 13.3 million lei compared to 3.8 million lei in February 2018.
At the same time, it should be noted that the position occupied so far by Mr. Mircea Drăghici as the treasurer of the Social Democratic Party, places him in a potential conflict of interests if he is appointed as AEP president. He will be called upon to coordinate the transparency operations for the public funds he had managed in previous years. In addition, he may raise suspicion when the Social Democratic Party’s actions will be discussed in the electoral campaigns, given that Mircea Draghici was until recently involved in the party’s executive structures, with a significant role in planning election campaigns.
We would like to mention that in the next two years Romania will be going through 4 rounds of elections and the role of AEP is a significant one as they should operate in optimal and credible conditions, especially considering that it will lead the process of verifying the money spent on the elections and how it was used, and in some cases, reimburse it.
Taking all of this into consideration, we call upon the Social Democratic Party to withdraw this proposal. We also call upon all parliamentary parties to identify candidates with credibility, as to be able to contribute to the development of the public institution and the transparency of the electoral processes.
Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD)
Centre for Public Innovation
The Romanian Centre for European Policies (CRPE)
Centre for Independent Journalism (CJI)
Resource Centre for Public Participation (Ce-re)
Civic Resources Centre
Expert Forum (EFOR)
Freedom House, Romania
Geeks for Democracy
Mircea Kivu, sociologist