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World News

Factbox: Romania's main parties clash over justice and pensions in Dec. 6 election

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania holds a parliamentary election on Sunday, with the ruling centrists of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban maintaining a narrow lead in polls over the leftist Social Democrat Party (PSD).

Romanian and EU flags are pictured in front of the headquarters of the Romanian Government, Bucharest, Romania, January 2, 2019. Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea via REUTERS

Below are some of the key points of the two parties’ governing programmes.

JUSTICE

The centrist PNL wants to revise the constitution to introduce a ban on altering legislation relating to courts via emergency decrees, and a ban on amnesties for graft-related crimes. A non-binding referendum on the practice used by the PSD was passed in 2019, fuelling criticism that the party was lenient on graft.

The PNL also plans to review all justice legislation affecting court independence in line with European Commission guidelines and launch a reform of the Constitutional Court.

The PSD says it wants to improve access to courts by introducing a public legal aid system for individuals and companies. It wants increase capacity in combating human and drugs trafficking, tax evasion and corruption and introduce legal education in schools.

It also says it will reduce the time taken to resolve cases, improve the enforcement of rulings and modernise court records.

LABOUR/PENSIONS

The PNL plans a 14% pension hike enforced this year, and annual increases of about 8%. It sees average pensions at 2,000 lei ($500) in 2024.

It promises to create 560,000 new jobs and have an 1,000 euro average net wage in the economy by the end of its mandate.

The PSD wants to enforce its 40% pension hike for 5.2 million pensioners from its first day in office and apply yearly increases that will push pensions up by 61% to 2,480 lei ($617) by 2024.

It says it will return Romania’s 800,000 unemployed to the workforce and create about 500,000 new jobs in four years. The party has set an indicative target of 3,500 lei per month minimum wage in 2024 against 2,230 lei at present.

TAXES

The PNL has pledged to keep tax rules unchanged.

The PSD wants to lower income taxes for employees with children and cut them for wages lower than 6,000 lei a month. It envisages a zero-tax rate for the minimum income.

HEALTH/INFRASTRUCTURE

The PNL proposes to increase public financing for the health sector to 6% of gross domestic product, from about 5.6% - the lowest state allotment among EU member states. It also plans to build three new regional hospitals and modernise 135 other county and town hospitals.

It aims to complete 970 km of motorways and express roads and boost train speeds on 1,000 km of railways.

The PSD wants to create a nationwide network of 800 community medical centres to benefit up to 8 million Romanians and to expand the regional hospital network.

It wants to create a national local development fund to finance works worth 3 billion euros annually, and set up intelligent water and sewage networks in all communities.

($1 = 4.0154 lei)

Editing by Ros Russell

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