National referendum. Existing regulatory framework and future perspectives

Author:Marieta SAFTA, PhD
National referendum.
Existing regulatory framework and future perspectives
Lecturer Marieta SAFTA
1, PhD
Highlighting a number of shortcomings in the legisla tion on referendum, the
present study pr oposes some solutions for their correction, using in this respect the
experience a nd guidelines governing the matter in democratic states. Likewise, it
underlines the advantages of putting together into an election code both the electora l law
and the la w on the organ ization a nd holding of a referend um.
Keywords: referendum, Constitutional Cour t, legal certainty, rule of la w.
JEL Classification: K10
1. Introduction
The shortcomings in the referendum legislation as assessed in the past
years2 require its reconsideration and harmonization with the relevant international
documents, respectively with the amendments brought, in the last years, to
electoral legislation. The purpose of this study is to identify some of these
shortcomings, as well as solutions to correct them. It is thus continued the approach
presented in another paper3, where the issue raised by the current electoral
legislation was discussed in terms of the need to adopt an electoral code.
2. National referendum - legal framework
The Constitution of Romania contains references to the concept of
referendum in the following articles:
- Article 2 (1): “National sovereignty belongs to the Romanian people, who
shall exercise it through their r epresentative bodies established a s a result of free,
periodic and fair elections, as well as by means of a referendum”;
- Article 73 (3) d): “By organic laws it shall be regulated: [...] d) organisation
and conduct of a referendum’;
1 Marieta Safta - Law Department, Bucharest University of Economic S tudies, First assistant
magistrate to the Constitutional Court of Romania,
2 See, for example, the opinion expressed by the V enice Commission on the compatibility with
Constitutional principles and the Rule of Law of Government E mergency Ordinance amending Law
no. 3/2000 regarding the organisation of a referendum [Opinion no.685/2012, CDL-AD(2012) 026,
dated 17 December 2012].
3 Marieta Safta, The need to adopt an Electoral Code in Romania, paper presented at the Annual
Scientific Session of the Institute of Legal Research of the Romanian Academy with the topic
“Science and Coding in Romania”, 30 March 2012, available on line at - Internal and
international relations 2012, visited on 1 February 2014

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