Romanian elite queues up to enter Parliament

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The battle for inclusion on the EU election lists of Romania’s main political parties has reached new heights as a 28 February registration deadline approaches. The prospect of salaries five times higher than those of current Romanian MEPs appears to be an irresistible incentive.

A “war of candidates” is raging between the major parties in the government coalition – the Democratic–Liberal Party (PDL) and Social Democratic Party (PSD) – and the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL), as the deadline for filing candidates’ CVs is set to expire tomorrow (28 February), writes EURACTIV Romania in partnership with HotNews.ro. 

Too many candidates, not enough seats 

In the PNL party in particular, matters appear to be extremely crowded. The party expects to receive a possible seven seats, but a multitude of ministers, leaders who failed to make it into the national parliament and current MEPs are all struggling to get on board. 

As for President Traian B?sescu’s PDL, party sources said his daughter Elena, a 28-year-old model, will be given an eligible mandate. At present, Elena B?sescu is a stagiare in the EU assembly, where she worked for ex-MEP Monica Iacob Ridzi, who has since become a government minister. The PDL can expect to win twelve MEP seats if it performs as well as it did in recent parliamentary elections. 

“There are three types of candidate,” party sources explained, describing potential MEPs as either “heavyweights”, those pushed forward by national politicians and finally current MEPs. An obvious PDL ‘heavyweight’ is current MEP Teodor Stolojan, who was recently offered the post of prime minister but has a record of choosing not to accept appointments at the last-minute. 

Alongside Basescu, other candidates that can be considered “heavyweights” include Cristian Preda, counsellor to the president, and several other leaders. 

As for the PSD, which has hopes to receive 12-13 seats, all of its current 10 MEPs plan to run for another term. A party source said attempts will be made to eliminate MEPs considered too close to former PSD leader Ion Iliescu. The names mentioned in this bracket are Corina Cretu, Ioan Mircea Pascu and Adrian Severin. 

However, Severin and Cretu reportedly said they had presented their candidacies again, insisting that their country needs people with experience and highlighting their trust in the party leadership. 

During the next elections to the European Parliament, set to be held on 7 June, Romanians will elect 33 MEPs, two less than at present, as part of a reduction of the total number of MEPs from 785 to 736. 

The reason for adjusting this number is that when Romania and Bulgaria acceded to the EU in 2007, their seat allocations in the EU assembly were not made at the expense of MEPs that had already been elected. If the Treaty of Lisbon enters into force, the number of MEPs will be 751. 

MEPs are currently paid the same as members of their respective national parliaments. This means that Italian members receive €12,000, while MEPs from Romania get ten times less than that: €1,200. From 2009, all MEPs will receive a basic monthly salary of €7,000.

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