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  Nr. 4146 de joi, 31 ianuarie 2008 
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Reform or Bruninominal vote?
This spring’s parliamentary term is opening with two ambitious objectives: the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty with President Sarkozy present, and the electoral laws focused on the uninominal vote system.
By ratifying the new EU treaty the Romanian Parliament can make Romania one of the first countries to credit the plan to reform the EU. And by passing the new rules on the election of representatives the same Parliament can contribute to the refreshing of participative democracy with Romanians. The ratification of the EU treaty and the new uninominal vote law are two events to take place in the Parliament Palace next week. But in the meantime, instead of sheltering serious debates on domestic and international reform issues, the People’s House in Bucharest is a place for betting on whether Carla Bruni, Sarkozy’s mistress, is will accompany the French President to Bucharest or not and the juridical committees are delaying the uninominal vote system. The MPs are getting ready to give us a piece of Bruninominal.
There is no suspense at all about the ratification of the treaty. The government passed the law draft in December 2007 and the President signed the decree in the first days of 2008. The Parliament is to write the last signature next Monday and the MPs are noisily assuring us Romania is the thirst state to ratify the new EU treaty, after Slovenia and Hungary. Cheers, champagne, kisses for Nicolas and Carla, if she comes. Au revoir! Beyond the ceremonial wrap of this ratification, there are no answers to the questions concerning the way the national Parliament will pass its own procedures and structure to meet the Treaty requests. The European document pursues the development of national Parliaments by developing a mechanism allowing them to make sure the EU interferes only when they can better results at EU community level. For the time being, in the Bucharest Parliament there is no talk on national Parliaments’ involvement in European affairs or on the those changes in the Treaty that concern citizens. The Lisbon Treaty puts freedom and Justice at the core of its concerns. And initiatives meant to limit the freedom of expression on behalf of national security are in bloom in our Parliament, just like the projects messing property laws up, projects defying European jurisprudence.
As for the uninominal vote system, there was once more battle ending up as predicted: the juridical committees suspended debates till next Wednesday, when they are to elaborate the report on the controversial normative document. The President’s mail with party heads on the desirable vote system brings no news, but only demagogical arguments used by sides to favor blackmail.
There are greater and greater chances that in the future elections we will still vote for lists of people, instead of separate personalities. If so, it will be the waste of one rare opportunity to rehabilitate the Parliament’s symbolical and institutional role in Romanian politics, as Pro Democracy Association claims. Another negative effect of the failing uninominal vote system, which experts in the Constitution have noticed, would be the emergence of a new deadlock for institutions, a deadlock the Constitution has got no solutions to. We don’t know what will happen if the government takes responsibility for a project, but it doesn’t end with a promulgated law. Will they address the Constitutional Court again?
Since we are in the habit of comparing Romania to Bulgaria, it is worthy mentioning the latter state has ratified no EU treaty yet, nor has it passed a uninominal vote system. But President Parvanov has recently expressed dissatisfaction with parties’ activities, arguing for a new electoral system.” People want to elect personalities instead of compromised politicians hiding in party lists”, Parvanov claimed, announcing his intention to propose the Parliament should agree to a referendum on the uninominal vote system. This is something to keep an eye on.
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