Romania lacks any norm to regulate elections for the European Parliament as a draft piece of government-supported legislation in this regard is still on the table of the Electoral Code Commission of the Parliament in Bucharest. Commission members have only established a principle that says the European elections will be based on electoral lists, as it happens in EU member states.

Commission head Mihai Voicu has said there were four legislative initiatives in this regard and that his team hopes to reach an agreement and adopt the one tabled by the government before the deadline of October 31.

The draft legislation must pass both chambers of the Romanian Parliament, which makes it most unlikely that it would be adopted before the end of the year. According to Voicu, “the process is difficult and the draft must go through judicial commissions in both chambers”, in a period when the end of the autumn parliament session is getting closer.

Political analyst Cristian Ghinea told that it was in Romania’s interest to organize European elections as soon as possible despite the lack of a deadline in this regard. “Theoretically, the elections must take place before the end of 2007.

Practically, they’d better take place now so that we use our weight in the European Parliament, which is very important and handy for us as a country”, he said.

Setting a date for EP elections has already sparked disputes on the Romanian political stage as the positions of various parties differ according to the priorities of each of them.

President Traian Basescu has suggestion the vote should take place in spring next year along with early elections for the Romanian Parliament, and his position is supported by his political base - the Democratic Party-PD, a top member of the governing coalition.

But their partners in the government, the National Liberal Party-PNL, have pushed for common lists with the PD in the European elections. The Democrats are linking that to PNL accepting the idea of early elections in Romania.

Disagreement is also affecting the ranks of the main opposition group, the Social Democrats-PSD. Some of its members support elections in autumn 2007, while others have even mentioned that the vote take place when the next round of EU-wide elections is planned - that is, in 2009. The party has been facing a continuing fall in opinion polls in Romania.

PSD euro-observer Corina Cretu believes there is no justification to hurry up with the organization of such elections because there is no EU regulation in this regard. But her opinion is countered by euro-observer Adrian Severin, who agrees that the poll should take place as soon as possible, somewhere in April next year.

Cristian Ghinea explains the various opinions: “Romanian voters show little interest towards European issues so they will more likely opt to vote according to debates of domestic interest. That prompts PNL to push for common lists with the PD, as the Liberals would lose if alone in the race.

It is the moment of truth for [Liberal PM] Calin Popescu Tariceanu, who has overvalued his position when it comes to how much the public trusts him”..

“On the other hand, PD is interested in going alone as it has chances to lure more votes. PD, but also the PSD, would thus be most advantaged by the EP elections. And that is because the PSD also needs an electoral test, to establish its current position before Romanian voters”.