In the midst of fighting the growing coronavirus epidemic, Romania will postpone municipal elections and extend the current mandate of mayors until December 31, Deputy Prime Minister Raluca Turcan told media at the beginning of a cabinet meeting on Monday.
“Elections cannot be held in this crisis situation, as they need a safe context,” Turcan said. “The Permanent Election Authority, together with the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration and the MInistry of Interior have initiated an emergency government ordinance to extend the mandate of municipality representatives until December 31 at the latest.”
While Turcan did specify a new date for elections, which should have been held in late May or early June, the mandate extension suggests these will be held towards the end of the year.
Postponing the municipal elections was first proposed by Hunor Kelemen, President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, back on March 18. Kelemen said at the time that people’s health should be the first priority, followed by an economic recovery, and that municipal elections should be deferred until October.
Earlier on Monday, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis decided to extend the nationwide state of emergency by a month, as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus has exceeded the 4,000 mark (4,057 confirmed cases at the time of writing).
“It is clear we are not yet at the peak of the epidemic yet; this is no time to relax. We have reached the conclusion that we need to extend the state of emergency by one more month; a decree will be issued next week,” Iohannis said in a televised statement broadcast by Digi 24.
Romanian authorities declared a 30-day state of emergency on March 16 in order to tackle the coronavirus outbreak more efficiently.
Title image: Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban (source: Mediafax)