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May 21, 2022

Constitutional Court advances new referendum deadline to August 31

Government holds mini-census. By August 24, the government must learn how many citizens with the right to vote really are in Romania, so it will organise a mini-census. The general prosecutor’s office investigates the permanent and supplementary electoral lists used in the referendum.

After the Constitutional Court (CCR) announced Thursday that it postpones until September 12 the decision on the referendum, because it received “contradictory” data about the permanent electoral lists, on Friday it changed its opinion by 180 degrees and advanced the deadline to August 31. In a press release issued Friday at noon, CCR explains that it decided to “change the deadline for examining the observance of the procedure of organising and holding the referendum from September 12 to August 31, in view of giving a verdict with celerity.” It is worth mentioning, in the context, that CCR demanded the Government to send the actualised electoral lists used in the referendum of July 29. The delay in making a decision was justified by the contradictory data received by the Court on August 1 and 2, from the ID Management Department of the Ministry of Interior (MAI), MAI sent CC two documents, the first confirming the number of 18,292,514 voters, and the second admitting that the Ministry cannot confirm the reality of this figure, because the institution in charge of verifying it is the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP), which however said that it does not have its own data about the number of voters. AEP explained that, in 2011, it checked the data held by 1,241 local administrations and found over 33,300 dead people that had not been erased from permanent electoral lists, with most cases (22,698) being in rural localities. According to AEP, accurately updating the permanent electoral lists would unify the electoral legislation and founding the Electoral Registry, which would integrate data coming from several primary sources, currently held by various institutions of the Romanian state, such as the ID and Data Bases Management Department, the National Statistics Institute, the Authority for Citizenship, courts of law, local authorities, local public services of ID management, the General Department for Passports, diplomatic missions and the consular offices of the Romanian state, and other institutions that manage data related to the identification of Romanian citizens. Implementing the Electoral Registry would take 1 to 4 years, along with money which the Authority does not have now

General prosecutor’s office starts investigation

The Public Ministry announced Friday that the criminal section opened an investigation about the contents of permanent and supplementary electoral lists used in the referendum. “Given the communiqué of issued by the Constitution Court on 02.08.2012 about the contradictory data received from public authorities regarding the number of voters present on the permanent electoral lists, the criminal Section of the prosecutor’s office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice opened a criminal investigation into the contents of permanent and supplementary electoral lists used in the referendum of 29 July 2012,” reads a press release issued by the Public Ministry. The prosecutors of the Criminal Investigation Section requested the copies of permanent and supplementary electoral lists with the genuine signatures of voters, from the Permanent Electoral Authority and from the companies authorised to conduct technical procedures, in view of conducting the investigations with celerity.

Gov’t cancels mayors’ holidays

The government organized on Friday a videoconference with local authorities, asking them to start updating the lists of registered voters so that the Constitutional Court could receive on time the data it requested. Premier Victor Ponta asked everyone to come back from their holidays on Monday (today – editor’s note) and to contribute to the effort of finishing the “mini-census” on time. The Premier stated that four main directions have to be pursued in order to elucidate the real situation. “First of all, Romanian citizens living abroad should, according to the law, no longer be on the lists in Romania. They keep their rights to vote but if they live abroad they have to be struck from the lists of registered voters in Romania,” Ponta said. At the same time he pointed out that the problem of dead citizens still appearing on the lists has to be solved, as well as the situation of persons that no longer have the right to vote as a consequence of final court sentences or health problems that prevent them from normally exercising their right to vote. 

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