Romania President Calls for Referendum

Romania’s President Traian Basescu late Thursday called for a referendum that would pave the way for the introduction of single chamber parliament, arguing that the current system is too cumbersome and slow.

He suggested that the referendum should take place on 22 November, the same day the presidential elections are scheduled, and said that the referendum should also seek to cut the number of lawmakers to 300 from 471.

A single-chamber parliament with fewer lawmakers would better suit the country’s needs, as decisions would be made faster, public spending would be reduced, he said. The measure would even help reduce corruption, as fewer high-ranking officials means less politicians to corrupt, he added.

Mircea Geoana, president of the upper chamber of the Romanian parliament, the Senate, called the proposal “demagogic”, and urged people to vote against a single chamber Parliament.

However, he said that a referendum would not be enough to abolish the current system since the present bi-cameral system is established according to constitution, and the President cannot request a constitutional referendum, Geoana added.

Romania’s constitution states parliament is formed by the lower Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

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