Candidacies for local elections, scheduled for 5 June, could be submitted by midnight this past Tuesday.
84% of Bucharesters believe that corruption has increased or has stagnated after the latest elections, according to a study run by the Center for Urban and Regional Sociology. 22% of them admit that in the last year they paid bribe at one of Bucharest's sector town halls. 60% say they do not pay any attention to a right or leftwing political orientation, and 46% say they would not vote in the June 5th elections.
These figures come from the most politically active city in Romania, the capital Bucharest. Even though decisions issued at the local level by authorities directly affect every day life for citizens, the interest shown in the local elections is low. The first such elections, back in 1992, brought to the polls 65% of registered voters, but subsequent elections could not manage more than 50%.
This year is expected to be no exception either, given the highly negative perception that Romanians have on corruption, providing quite a challenge to candidates. Submissions for candidacy had to be introduced by midnight on Tuesday, April 26th. Political parties, alliances, organizations, citizens belonging to national minorities, and independents submitted in writing their candidacies for mayors, as well as local and county council seats.
The Social Democratic candidate for mayor of Bucharest Gabriela Firea sent a Decalogue to counter-candidates, with commitments supposed to be respected by no matter who wins the seat: ”A European system of public transportation, a single token for transportation, maintaining free passes for retirees, a physician in every school’s medical cabinet. All kindergartens, schools and high schools have to have security, and we have to improve heating.”
Catalin Predoiu, a Liberal candidate, wants to boost the city's budget: “My main objective is to consolidate Bucharest's finances, because a consolidated budget and investments in Bucharest will bring about jobs, cultural spaces, schools, an interest which will slowly turn Bucharest into a regional focal point, a city of the future where people will live with pleasure.”
Nicusor Dan, a candidate on behalf of the “Save Bucharest” Union, wants a unified system for paying taxes: “We have to simplify the administrative system to save time for tax payers, and put everything about Bucharest into an integrated computerized system.”
From May 4th on, after the processing of appeals against the registered candidates, candidacies will be definitive. The election campaign starts on May 6th, and ends on June 4th, the day before voting.