While Premier Victor Ponta gives assurances that Sunday’s elections will be transparent, President Traian Basescu accuses the government of not announcing the number of registered voters and of thus setting the stage for electoral fraud.
Romanians will vote on Sunday. This time in the general elections, not in an impeachment referendum. A total of 18,456 polling stations have been prepared at national level. A number of 17,217 polling stations have been prepared in the 41 county constituencies, of which 5,067 in municipalities, 1,739 in cities and 10,411 in communes. According to the data released yesterday by the Central Electoral Bureau, the total number of voters stands at 18,248,414. However, Mediafax notes that the above mentioned number does not include the voters in Diaspora, just like during the general elections in 2008.In Bucharest there will be 1,239 polling stations. The Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) has prepared 295 polling stations in constituency number 43, the constituency for Romanians living abroad. Overall, there will be a total number of 18,751 polling stations in 43 constituencies. The 2012 general elections will take place on the basis of the same electoral system used in 2008, a mixed system in which the candidacies and votes are uninominal and the seats are distributed in a proportional representation. 2,457 persons have filed their candidacies. Only 19 per cent of them will win the 315 Lower Chamber seats and the 137 Senate seats, which means an average of 5 candidates per seat. Likewise, according to an analysis recently conducted by the Institute for Public Policies (IPP), 62 per cent of the current MPs (210 Lower Chamber members and 85 Senators) are running for another term.
Of them, 89 per cent are men and only 11 per cent (32 MPs) are women. At the same time, PSD is the party that has the highest number of candidate-MPs (78 per cent of its candidates were MPs in the 2008-2012 sitting), followed by PNL (77 per cent of its candidates) and PDL (68 per cent). Bucharest is the constituency that registered the highest number of candidates that changed their electoral colleges, important USL leaders such as PSD MP Titus Corlatean, PNL MP Eugen Nicolaescu, UNPR MP Gabriel Oprea, PNL MP Calin Popescu Tariceanu running for new terms as members of the Lower Chamber or the Senate. On the other hand, the PDL leaders that changed their electoral colleges are PDL President Vasile Blaga (running for a Senate seat in the Timis constituency), PDL MP Elena Udrea (elected in Bucharest, she is now running in an electoral college in Neamt) and PDL MP Cristian Boureanu (changing Arges for Giurgiu). Other resounding names doing the same are PNL President Crin Antonescu (changing Bucharest for Teleorman), PSD Senator Petru Filip (former PDL member until May 2012, changing Bihor for Vrancea). The constituencies that registered the lowest number of candidates that changed their electoral colleges were: Alba, Arad, Gorj, Ialomita, Mures and Valcea.
Transparency vs. fraud during elections
President Traian Basescu said Wednesday that the Ponta government creates conditions for electoral fraud, by failing to announce the number of voters, and warned the Executive that it should not omit the 500,000 Romanians that are living abroad.“The acting government led by doctor Ponta is inclined to defrauding the elections. There are three days until elections and it creates fraud conditions by failing to announce the number of voters. It is the government’s obligation to make public the number of Romanian citizens with the right to vote. I warn them not to forget – as they did in the referendum – the 500,000 Romanian citizens living abroad. They have permanent domicile and must be included on the permanent lists of the Diaspora,” Basescu said. Premier Victor Ponta assured that Sunday vote will be completely transparent, without frauds, answering the accusations made by Traian Basescu, adding that only the president was re-elected through electoral fraud.
Warnings from EuropeThe president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), Graham Watson called on President Traian Basescu to respect democratic standards, the rule of law and the Romanian Constitution, regardless of the result of the December 9 parliamentary elections. “The President of a country is expected and indeed has a duty to abide by democratic standards and the rule of law. Romania’s Constitution stipulates that its President should be above party politics. I call on President B?sescu to respect the results of the election on 9 December, regardless of the outcome, and act accordingly in an impartial and cooperative manner as stipulated in the Romanian Constitution,” Watson stated, quoted by a press release issued by ALDE. “The sheer suggestion in this statement that he could refuse to designate the candidate of the winning parliamentary majority as Prime Minister is un-European and wholly undemocratic,” the ALDE leader added.
For the organisations of national (ethnic) minorities, an electoral coefficient is set, calculated by dividing the total number of ballots cast at country level to the total number of places in Parliament. The organisations that will receive places in the Legislative are those that obtain more votes than the 10 pc of the electoral coefficient. In other words, such an organisation obtains a place if it receives 10 pc of the number of votes necessary for a political party to receive a place. Among the candidates of the national minority organisation, the place will go to the person that obtained the highest number of votes.