Frustration in Romania: Electoral reform rejected

A row has broken out in Romania over amendments to the country's electoral law. The non-partisan Prime Minister Dacian Cioloş has rejected demands for local elections to be divided into two rounds instead of just one. In doing so he has betrayed the very citizens who brought him to power with their protests, Romania's press criticises.

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Ziare (RO) /

Technocrat prime minister disappoints

Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Cioloş rejected an amendment to the electoral law on Tuesday on the grounds that it lacked a majority in parliament. In doing so he has ignored one of the key demands made by the protest movement in November, the online portal Ziare criticises:

“With all due respect, this government must be reminded that it was appointed after the mass demonstrations that forced its predecessor government to resign. These protests were aimed at forcing the political class to adopt fundamental reforms, and at preventing secret political deals. ... Cioloş could have seized this opportunity to show courage and correct a basic deficit by stopping parliament from flaunting democracy. ... But he didn't. So what did he stand to lose?”

Adevărul (RO) /

Parties have Cioloş government under their thumb

Caretaker Dacian Cioloş' back-pedalling highlights how little leeway technocratic governments have, journalist Ion Ionita observes on blog portal Adevărul:

“Every government acts depending on how much political support it has. But technocracy doesn't care about votes, especially not when a cabinet is appointed under such special circumstances as was the case with Cioloş' government. Now we see where this gets us. The Cioloş government exists because the [two established parties] PSD and the PNL decided to stay out of government for a while in a bid to quell the protests of last November. … But it won't be able to push through reforms. The two parties will simply use it to sort out urgent administrative problems and organise the elections [in early November 2016].”