Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Romanian Parliament Passes Law To Change Election System

Romania’s Parliament today approved a law eliminating a minimum vote threshold for lawmakers ahead of general elections expected later this year.

Proposed by the country’s newly appointed Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who also heads the Social-Democrats, and his coalition partner Crin Antonescu, the leader of the Liberals, the law changes an elections system that required every party to reach at least 5 percent of votes to enter Parliament. The law got 180 votes in favor and 30 against, Mediafax reported.

A candidate who wins the highest number of votes in a voting district in the first ballot will gain a seat in Parliament regardless of the percentage obtained by his or her party, according to the new law. Current legislation regulated that a person only can get a seat in Parliament if his or her party passed the 5 percent threshold of total valid votes cast.

Romania plans to hold local elections on June 10, with general elections probably following in November. The alliance between Social-Democrats and Liberals would win 61 percent of the votes, according to a survey conducted by pollster IRES conducted on May 2 among 1,209 people with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

“The new law discourages the rise of extravagant parties,” Viorel Hrebenciuc, a social-democratic lawmaker, told reporters after the vote.

The opposition parties said they will challenge the law at the Constitutional Court, Roberta Anastase, the chairman of the Parliament’s lower chamber, told reporters in Bucharest.

President Traian Basescu must also sign off the law for it to become effective.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at

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