Opposition parties and some civic organizations are protesting against a new election law which eliminates a minimum vote threshold for lawmakers and which, it is argued, could allow ultra-nationalists to enter parliament. “It isn’t normal to change an important law less than six months before parliamentary elections,” said Kelemen Hunor, president of UDMR, the main party for ethnic Hungarians in Romania. “Besides, it is expected to give to the current government a hefty majority after the November elections,” he added. Representatives of human rights organizations say the new law “will fail to stop populist and nationalist parties from entering parliament.” The center-right Democrat Liberal Party, PDL, on Wednesday announced plans to take their opposition to the law to the Constitutional Court.
According to the new law, the winner of the highest number of votes in an electoral college in the first ballot will win a seat in Parliament regardless of the percentage obtained by his or her party. Current legislation stipulates that a candidate can only get a seat in Parliament if his or her party has passed the 5-percent threshold of total valid votes cast. The new law was proposed by the Social-Democrats and Liberals, the parties which, together with a small Conservative party, form the current government. “Such a law is necessary as it will discourages the rise of extremistparties,” said Viorel Hrebenciuc, a Social-Democratic lawmaker. The law was adopted on Tuesday, with 180 votes in favour and 30 against. President Traian Basescu must sign the law for it to come into effect.
Full Article: Romania Passes Controversial Election Law :: Balkan Insight.