Constitutional Court of Romania rules that extending the terms of the local elected officials is unconstitutional
Fresh subjects of dispute have brought the governing National Liberal Party and the opposition Social Democratic Party before the Constitutional Court of Romania, namely the extension of the terms of the local elected officials and the date of the next local elections. The Court, notified about the normative acts recently adopted by the Government and Parliament, ruled on Wednesday that the Emergency Government Ordinance on extending the terms of the local public administration authorities was unconstitutional.
Also, they rejected the bill adopted by Parliament on the mandate of the local public administration and setting the date of elections, for legislative parallelism. The Court said that extending the terms cannot be done by means of a government ordinance, and only by law. Parliament had adopted a bill extending the terms of the local elected officials by the end of the year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, and granting the Legislative the right to set a date for the local elections, by means of an organic law.
The Constitutional Court Judges said that extending the terms must be done via Parliament, and the date for the local elections must be set within the period over which the said terms were to be extended. So, Parliament will have to discuss with the Government about this, in order to ensure institutional collaboration.
The Constitutional Court's ruling has obviously triggered lots of reactions among politicians. The president of the Social Democratic Party, Mircea Ciolacu, has made an appeal to all political forces to draw up together a law on extending the terms of the local officials and on setting the date for local elections. He has stated that the local mandates expire on June 21st, so representatives of the parliamentary parties will have to start promoting the bill in Parliament as of next week, in order to avoid a disaster in local government. Marcel Ciolacu has also stated that, once a law on extending the terms has been voted, a new consultation will be held, on the date for the local elections.
In turn, the National Liberal Party, through the voice of the Liberal deputies' leader Florin Roman, has termed the Court's decision as 'unprecedented', because the judges acted on own decision with regard to the government ordinance, which had not been challenged at the Court. Florin Roman has admitted, though, that if there is consensus between parties on this issue, a bill will pass rapidly through Parliament. According to him, things are clear and the Government has the possibility, as it has happened in the past 30 years, to set the date for elections and the related calendar. Also, Parliament can establish, by law, the mandates of the local elected officials. The Liberals have proposed September or early October for the local elections. (M.Ignatescu)