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Tomorrow the Electoral Campaign Starts

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27 Oct 2004 - 00:00

POLITICS - October 27th 2004

Starting from tomorrow, for 30 days, Romania enters the electoral campaign for the parliamentary and presidential elections which are to happen on 28 November. The electoral campaign stops on 27 November, at 7 o’clock.

By ANIELA NINE, CARMEN VINTILA

Click pentru a mari imaginea
Compared to the 2000 ones, the general elections this year will follow a new set of rules, some other normative acts to regulate the election of the Deputy Chamber and of the Senate, as well as the one of the Romanian President being adopted. In the same time, it is the last time when the parties and their candidates at the Presidency will have a common electoral campaign. Starting from 2007, the parliamentary voting will happen separately from the presidential one, the new Constitution extending the period of the presidential mandate, including the one starting in November, to five years.

MANIFESTATIONS. During all this time, the candidates, the political parties and alliances as well as the citizens have the right of showing their opinions freely and without any discrimination. The ways to do that are: meetings, gatherings, marches, as well as the written and audio-video press. But organizing such manifestations can happen only according to the law. During the electoral campaign the candidates are offered corresponding spaces to meet with the electors, spaces that can be placed at the City Hall headquarters, in culture house etc., places for which they have to pay the maintenance costs. For the meetings with the electors, spaces from schools and universities can be used but only outside the education schedule.

PURPOSE. According to the law, the electoral campaign through public and private audio-video programmes, must respect the following general interests:
  • the electorate’s interests, the ones of receiving correct information, in order for them to be able to vote while knowing all the facts;
  • the political party’s, the political and electoral alliances’ interests, the ones of the organizations formed by citizens belonging to the national minority and the ones of the candidates of getting themselves known and presenting their political programmes and electoral offers;
  • the radio providers’ interests, of exercising all their rights and responsibilities that come once with the journalist job.

    POSTING. The mayors are forced to set special places for electoral posting until the beginning of the campaign taking into account the number of the political parties, of the political and electoral alliances that state on submitting candidates’ lists and of the persons that state they are independent candidates in the electoral race. Also the mayors have to get sure that the special posting locations are in the markets, on the streets and in other public places frequented by citizens without them preventing any of the normal activities of the people. Before that, the mayors have to see that all the other posters, writings and signs remained from the precedent elections are removed. The law says that the posting places should be used only by the parties taking part in the elections and imposes them to use these spaces in order for them to be available for the other candidates as well.

    RESTRICTIONS. Electoral posting in other places than the ones set is allowed only with the owners’, administrators’ or holders’ consent. The law also restricts to one the number of posters in such a place for a candidate.
  • An electoral poster placed in these locations cannot have more than 500 mm on one side and 300 mm on the other side, and the one convoking an electoral reunion, 400 mm on one side and 250 mm the other.
  • Electoral posters that combine colours in such a manner that the colours of the national flag, of some other state or of some international organization can be observed are forbidden. The exception is formed by the political parties that are members of international organizations, these ones being able to use the respective organization’s sign or a specific combination.
  • Electoral posters that through their contents show defamation accusations against the public authorities, the political parties or the candidates are forbidden.
  • The public order organs have to insure the integrity of the panels and of the electoral posters.

    PUNISHMENTS. Posting the electoral propaganda means in other places than the ones the law refers to as being valid is sentenced with a fine from three to five million lei. In the same time, continuing the electoral propaganda after the electoral campaign finishes is sentenced with a fine between seven and ten million lei.

    TV CAMPAIGN. According to the law, during the electoral campaign for the general elections, only three types of shows for the candidates to take part in are allowed for broadcasting on TV and radio: electoral shows, informative shows and electoral debates. The broadcasting times will be shared to the political formations this way: 75% the parliamentary parties, proportionally to their share in the Parliament, and 25% the non-parliamentary parties that submitted candidates’ lists to the electoral circumscription of the respective TV station. The musicians and sportsmen that candidate and/or represent political parties won’t be able to appear in other shows than the three types above or in a context that refers strictly to their status.

    POLLS. In the case of showing polls having electoral contents, they have to be accompanied by the following information:
  • the name of the institution that made the poll;
  • the date or the time interval of the poll and the used methodology;
  • the sample size and the maximum error margin;
  • who asked for the poll and who paid for it.

    PRESIDENCY. The same terms regarding the electoral campaign organization are applied in the presidential elections as well. A special agreement in the President’s election law is the one according to which the present President can take part in the presidential campaign of the party or political alliance that proposed him or that supports its candidacy.

    PRESIDENTIAL RACE

    The first one registering his candidacy for the supreme state function at the Central Electoral Bureau (CEB) has been the SDP (Social Democratic Party) president, Adrian Nastase, who submitted 2 million signatures. He has been followed by the J.T. (Justice and Truth)Alliance candidate, Traian Basescu, who submitted 1.5 million signatures, and by GRP (Great Romania Party) president, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, this also being the order in which they will appear on the voting papers. Vadim stated that he submitted at CEB 330,000 signatures. Independent candidate Gheorghe Dinu also brought to CEB 297,000 signatures, and the NGP (New Generation Party) president, George Becali, 298,000 signatures. DUHR (Democratic Union of the Hungarians in Romania) president, Marko Bela, also submitted its candidacy for the presidential elections, forwarding at CEB lists with the signatures from more than 268,000 supporters. Marian Milut, the PA (Popular Action) candidate for Presidency registered his candidacy for the function of chief of the state at CEB, too. He brought lists with 370,000 signatures. The dead-line for submitting the candidacies for Parliament as well as for the Presidency is the 29th of October, at 24:00 hours.

    PUBLIC ORDER MEASURES

    For the safe organizing and development of the elections, the Ministry of Administration and Internal Affairs elaborated a plan of measures that will be adapted by each unit commander, according to the problems in each district. This way, during the meetings and electoral gatherings, the public order will be insured by the police, the riot police and other officers. Also, the public order forces will take care of the delegates’ of the political parties, and the patrolling routes of the mixed crews will also include the electoral posting places, in order to prevent destruction or deterioration of the information materials.

    ELECTORAL BRIBE

    The candidates will be able to offer during the electoral campaign electoral propaganda materials, the law reading that, in this context, goods with symbolic value having signs of the parties don’t enter in the electoral bribe category. As a conclusion, the CEB members decided that the following items don’t enter in the electoral bribe category: shirts, scarves, foulards, and other similar objects having signs of the parties or signs or pictures of the candidates and that have more of a symbolic value (badges, pennants, flags). According to CEB, by goods that cannot be offered in the electoral campaign one can understand those items having significant economical value, as well as utility goods, alimentary or not alimentary. According to the parliamentary elections Law, "promising, offering or giving money, goods or any other benefits with the purpose of getting the elector to vote or not to vote a certain list of candidates or a certain candidate, as well as receiving them by the elector with the same purpose, are law breaking acts and are sentenced with prison from six months to five years".

    Translation: SORIN BALAN

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