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December 7, 2021

BEC – MAE dispute on Romanian vote abroad

The Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) has decided that there is no legal impediment that would prevent the setting up of new voting centers abroad for the presidential runoff on Sunday. The Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) however has proposed other measures, such as changing the location of the voting centers and replacing the members of voting centers who do not show up for duty with MAE employees.
BEC: Organising and numbering polling stations abroad, MAE’s exclusive prerogative
BEC on Tuesday evening pointed out referring to the requests of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) that, according to the law, organising and numbering the polling stations abroad represents MAE’s exclusive prerogative. “Referring to MAE’s request on BEC pointing out the legal possibility ‘for some polling stations to conduct their activity in the ballot runoff at different addresses, without changing the number of the polling station and the other constitutive elements,’ we mention that, according to the law, organising and numbering the polling stations abroad represents MAE’s exclusive prerogative, therefore any request in the sense of those mentioned before exceeds BEC’s authority,” shows the BEC release.
According to the law, the BEC release continues, the representatives of the political groups within the electoral bureaus can be replaced, at the request of those who proposed them, with the approval of the superior hierarchical office, up to one day before the voting, and in case of death, illness or accidents, even on the day of voting, with the observance of the conditions stipulated by law.
Thus, BEC maintained the position expressed in response to Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean, a position through which it pointed out that the setting up of extra voting centers abroad is possible through a minister’s order.
MAE had pointed out several issues, the first concerning the “possibility that the members of the voting center’s electoral bureaus that are not showing up on the day of the vote could be replaced with persons proposed by MAE.”
BEC’s answer was that it maintains the point of view it already expressed, namely that if the maximum number of members of voting centers abroad is not met it can be covered from the list compiled by MAE.
Another MAE proposal was for the table in which the voters casting their ballots are listed, namely the supplementary lists, should include solely their name, Personal Identity Number (CNP) and residence. This would mean that the data in sections such as “type, series and number of identity card” or “signature” would not be filled in. The aforementioned sections were included in the table through Government Ordinance 709/2014. In this case, BEC pointed out that the request exceeds BEC’s prerogatives and the model of the voting list can be changed only through a law that would have “at least the same juridical power,” namely through a government decision like the one that set the table’s current form.
Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu sent on Tuesday to the Central Electoral Bureau a range of written proposals for a better organisation of the vote in this Sunday’s presidential runoff for the Romanians living abroad, including the proposal to set up more polling stations. “I have, for example, proposed to accept the possibility of replacing the representatives of the parties who are not attending on the election day, thus making the voting commissions incomplete, a fact that creates special difficulties… We expect the parties that no longer have candidates in the second round of voting to show even lower interest than in the first round. That is why it seems to us absolutely necessary that a decision should be adopted allowing to put foreign ministry diplomats in all those bureaus where the party representatives fail to turn up. A second proposal to be analysed by the Bureau is to simplify the details that must be written in the electoral roll, since very many of such details already exist in the voter’s declaration of personal responsibility,” Melescanu explained.
Teodor Melescanu: “Starting in the early hours would allow at least doubling the number of those who can vote”
Teodor Melescanu invited the Romanians living abroad to come to the polling stations “starting in the early hours, so as to avoid crowded voting centers.” The foreign minister insisted that the enforcement of such measures would result in doubling the number of Romanians who will cast a vote abroad. “A simple assessment based on simulation shows that the cutting of voting time for each citizen as a result of the adoption of these measures would allow at least the doubling of the number of those who can vote. 300,000 up to 400,000 (voters),” Melescanu said.
Yesterday the Foreign Ministry called on the members of the electoral bureaus of the voting centers abroad to show up on voting day since the MAE proposal to have them replaced with persons from the list compiled by the ministry has been rejected by BEC. “The Foreign Affairs Ministry is calling on all the designated members of the bureaus of voting centers abroad to show up at the voting centers on the day of the vote in order to fulfill, without exception, the prerogatives they have in the way the presidential runoff takes place,” the MAE communiqué reads. The institution has also warned that failure to do so represents a felony, Mediafax informs.
Members of Commission for Romanians Living Abroad meet in Parliament’s courtyard
Several opposition MPs, members of the Commission for Romanian Living Abroad, came out in Parliament’s courtyard yesterday in order to hold a meeting, after journalists were not allowed in the building because MPs had scheduled activities in their constituencies for this week. Liberal MP Mircea Dolha, the Deputy Chairman of the commission, stated that the members of the commission had invited Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and Minister for Romanian Everywhere Bogdan Stanoevici in order to discuss the runoff elections abroad, however Teodor Melescanu announced that he cannot attend because the MPs are engaged in activities in their constituencies this week.
Independent MP Bogdan Diaconu, the deputy chairman of the Committee for the Romanian communities living abroad said he would call for the cancellation of Sunday’s presidential runoff, if the difference between the votes polled by the candidate coming first and the one ranking second ‘gets close’ to the number of the Romanians who will not have been able to exercise their voting right. ‘I draw the attention of the foreign minister and Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who is responsible for the organisation of the elections that in the event there is a number of Romanians who could not exercise their voting right that gets close to the difference between the first ranked and the second ranked on Sunday, we will call for the cancellation of the elections and it is a constitutional reason for the cancellation of the elections’, Diaconu told the reporters outside the Palace of Parliament.

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