Judicial referendum in Romania
In response to the controversial judicial reform, President Klaus Iohannis wants to consult the people of Romania about the constitutional state on 26 May, the same day the EU elections take place in the country. Last year the government increased its influence over the judiciary and in other areas by occupying top posts. Can the referendum help the fight against corruption?
A risky referendum
The precise wording of the question will be decisive for the success of the referendum, according to the blog România Curată:
“What question would be understood by everyone but isn't stupid? Can the president ask whether the fight against corruption should continue or not? Such a question would be a huge mistake because it would be grist to the mill of its opponents. Iohannis could go down in history as the one who jeopardised the fight against corruption. Just imagine what a huge political gift it would be for the [ruling] PSD if the required quorum wasn't reached. Then the ruling parties would be entitled to continue their actions aimed at weakening the judiciary.”
European elections will suffer collateral damage
The referendum will have a negative impact on the European elections, political scientist Radu Carp says in Adevărul's blog:
“If the ruling parties PSD and Alde boycott the referendum we'll see the lowest voter turnout for the European elections in Romania since 2007. ... Then all those who are elected to the European Parliament will seriously lack legitimacy. ... It's not just that this would give populist parties a boost. We would have to reckon with 33 MEPs who would have very few votes, and an invalid referendum that will pave the way for further brutal interference with the judicial system.”