Friday, November 23, 2007

Romania's First Euro Elections

23 11 2007 Bucharest _ Romanians are going to the polls on Sunday in their country’s first elections to the European Parliament.

Over 18 million people are registered to vote, but polls show the turnout will be relatively low, around 50 per cent.

"Despite their strong support for the EU, Romanians are not yet concerned by real European issues”, political analyst Stelian Tanase told Balkan Insight.

“That's why politicians focused in their campaign more on living standards and on the fact that people are now free to move around the EU.”

Romania elects 35 representatives to join the European Parliament.

The electorate can choose from among 13 parties or a single independent candidate on the list.

Candidates will be elected via proportional representation.

The Balkan country which joined the EU at the beginning of this year, is also holding a referendum on changing the system through which its members of parliament are elected.

The current electoral system is based on party lists, and the changes would allow Romanians to vote directly for individual candidates.

The new plan also envisages a reduction in the number of seats by 20 per cent.

The elections were originally scheduled for May this year, but had to be postponed, due to political infighting, between the country's President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

A month before the scheduled vote, Basescu easily beat off an attempt to impeach him when he won a landslide victory in a referendum.

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