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EACEA National Policies Platform


5. Participation

5.1 General context

Last update: 25 March 2024
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  1. Main concepts
  2. Institutions of representative democracy

Main concepts

In Romania there are no specific concepts regarding youth participation. Although the Youth Strategy 2015-2020 promoted public, civic and political participation, the concepts have not been officially defined in a document.

Citizens’ participation to decision making is regulated in Romania by the law no. 52/2003 on decisional transparency, providing two important regulation on participation, relevant for the participation of young people, as the law no 52/2003 is the main instrument of public consultation used in Romania. The two main rules provided by the law no. 52/2003 on decisional transparency are:

  1. all public institutions initiating a normative act (a regulation with general applicability to a given territory, therefore a national or a local regulation), have to publish a draft legislative proposal at least 30 days before its adoption and have to be opened to receiving comments and suggestions/amendments to the draft regulation from any citizen;
  2. if a legally established organisation (NGO, trade union, employers organisation etc.) requires, the public institutions have to organise a public debate as a face-to-face (or online) opened meeting for all organisations and citizens interested in the legislation proposed.

Institutions of representative democracy

Constitutional structure

Romania is a centralized state and a parliamentary democracy. However, the president is directly elected by the people.

Main representative institutions

According to the Romanian Constitution, the main representative institution at national level is the Parliament, with a 4 years mandate, with two chambers.

  1. The Chamber of Deputies 
  2. The Senate

The two chambers are both elected on party lists at the level of the state counties and mandate distribution is proportional to votes. The number of members generates the differences between the two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies has 332 members and the Senate has 137 members. From a functional point of view, a law has to be voted by both chambers in order to be adopted, but the last chamber voting is the decisional one and it can overrule the vote of the other chamber. The exact order of the voting in the two chambers for each law depends on the field regulated by the law. E.g. Senate is decisional chamber for education policies and laws, the Chamber of Deputies is decisional chamber for employment policies and laws.

The party or the party coalition holding the majority of seats in the two chambers of the Parliament proposes the prime minister and he or she is appointed by the president. The appointed prime minister forms a government and presents his/hers cabinet and a government programme to the reunited chambers of the Parliament for a trust vote. The voted government is taking a solemn oath in front of the president.

The President of the republic is directly elected by the people, for a five years mandate

At local level there are three layers of administration with different representation through autonomous institutions, as follows:

  • At county level (Romania has 41 counties) the representation is ensured by County Councils, with a four years mandate;
  • At the level of the capital city the representation is ensured by the General Council of the Municipality of Bucharest, with a four years mandate;
  • The locality/municipality level, including the six sectors of Bucharest, the representation is ensured by the local councils, with a four years mandate.

A Mayor, having responsibilities in executing decisions of the Local Council is also directly elected, for a four years mandate. In Bucharest a General Mayor is elected, as well as six mayors for the six sectors of the city.

Main legal principles concerning elections

The elections are organised in a universal, equal, direct, secret and free suffrage. The vote is cast in all cases on paper ballots by stamping the party or the candidate. Special stamps with the text: "voted" are manufactured for each election.

According to the electoral legislation, the place where a citizen can vote varies according to the elections:

  • At the Parliamentary elections, Romanians can only vote in their residence county, as the party lists are proposed at county level;
  • Elections for the Local and County Councils and for Mayors are hold together, and people can only vote in their residence municipality;
  • At Presidential elections and at the elections for the European Parliament the constituency is national and people can vote anywhere in the country.

The vote is not mandatory in Romania and no proxy voting is possible. Since 2016 the electoral legislation introduced a form of voting by correspondence available only for Romanians leaving abroad and only after prior registration and request to use the voting by correspondence system to Romanian consular offices.