Romania’s government approved a temporary emergency ordinance on Thursday to let local elected officials change political affiliations in a pre-election move it says will unblock policymaking but there have already been voices speaking out against it.
The ordinance gives local mayors and councilmen in the European Union 45 days to choose to join a party other than the one from which they were elected in office without losing their seat, as was the case previously, writes Reuters.
Centre-right opposition parties opposed the ordinance, which circumvents parliament and takes force immediately, claiming that the true motivation behind the measure is to boost Ponta’s electoral position through defections.
“We are concerned with its timing,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement, referring to the ordinance. “We have in the past expressed concerns about legislating complex issues via emergency ordinances.”
Ponta’s government has said the ordinance aims to streamline policymaking after changes to central political alliances this year caused rifts in local councils, freezing investment projects that tap into EU development funds.
The presidential elections in Romania will take place on November 2 (1st round) and November 16 (2nd round).