Overview and context
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Romania is presided over by a President elected by popular vote for a term of 5 years. Legislative power is represented by the Parliament and executive power is vested in the Prime Minister who is appointed by the President with the consent of the Parliament. The prime minister appoints the council of ministers, also known as the cabinet.
Parliament is bicameral consisting of the senate and the chamber of deputies. Members of both chambers serve four-year terms and are elected by a popular vote in a mixed proportional system. Citizens cast two votes – one for each chamber; candidates who receive more than 50% of the votes are directly elected while the remaining seats are distributed among political parties in proportion to the share of the vote their candidates receive. The last election was held in December 2016, the next is expected to take place in 2020.
Romania has a civil law system; the High Court of Cassation and Justice and other courts of law administer judicial power. Local government is divided into counties, towns and communes; there are 41 counties and one municipality – Bucharest. Responsibility for addressing climate change is shared between the government and the 42 local authorities.
Parliament consists of permanent standing committees, issue-specific groups, and the legislative council. The executive branch and members of parliament may initiate draft bills. Citizens may also initiate legislation through popular petition. Fiscal issues, international issues, amnesty and pardon are exempted from the citizens’ legislative initiative.
All draft bills are submitted to one of the two chambers for debate, along with advisory notes by the legislative council. After amendment proposals by parliamentarians and comments by the respective standing committees, the bill is presented in the chamber for debate and voting. Ordinary draft bills other than constitutional amendments require only a majority vote in a chamber to be passed; once it is passed in one chamber the bill is passed on to the other chamber for debate and voting. If it is passed in both chambers, the bill becomes a law, if not the bill will be returned to the chamber where it is rejected to be reconsidered; the decision of which becomes final.