Two votes …… for two completely different purposes

I don’t know Ilie Bolojan, the Mayor of Oradea, but I am a supporter. Over the past fours years, his team has implemented over 90 EU funded infrastructure projects, completely changing the face of Oradea.

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For years construction crews have worked on saturday afternoons and sunday mornings, demonstrating urgency in building the infrastructure to stimulate economic growth.

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I hope Mr Bolojan gets reelected as Mayor and then brings his team to Bucharest to rebuild our national infrastructure.

But there is second vote in Oradea on June 5th, where Communist culture of party lists still starves Romanians of freedom. This vote is how citizens gain a direct voice on making the city a better place to live. The city council has 27 seats, enough for every neighborhood and interest group to be represented.

Lingering over Oradea’s new infrastructure is the dense smell of pig feces threatening every resident with cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, and immune system disease. The threat is so clear, that the Romanian Parliament passed laws requiring quarterly, independent tests of 15 chemicals that can pollute the air and drinking water.

Last fall 3000 citizens signed a petition asking the City Hall and Ministry of Environment to share the test results. Both administrations said they did not have money for the testing equipment and everything was okay. The government does not care about the law or health if it’s citizens. This is a familiar story in Romania.

So last month over 2000 mothers signed the papers to get one of their own, Nadia Pal, on the ballot for city council. Ms Pal said “What kind of mother am I if do nothing while my daughters bodies are contaminated by dangerous and illegal chemicals?”. Nadia is on mission to give people a real voice in government. http://nadiapal.ro/nadia-pal

 

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Interestingly, most the signatures came from people who would only support an independent candidate. It seems Romanians are waking up to the traditions of western European democracies, where citizens vote for people, not party lists.

The condemning evidence of party lists for the past 25 years can be seen in our schools, hospitals, infrastructure, and environment.

I believe the current party list system is unconstitutional. Article 8 of the Romanian Constitution says political parties shall express the will of the citizens and abide by the principles of democracy. The party list system is designed to concentrate power in party leaders.

Look at the other countries with closed party lists: Russia, Turkey, Spain, Italy and Brazil…. all places with massive corruption and people are helpless to change their reality.

Look at the countries with direct elections: England, France, Germany, Canada and Australia … the places many Romanians go to live.

More Romanians need to think like the Moms in Oradea and make Romania a place to live, not leave.

If we want clean air, clean hospitals and ambulances with working defibrillators we must stop trusting political parties to choose our elected representatives.

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