Over 18,000 polling stations throughout Romania opened their doors at 7 am to welcome the voters willing to cast their democratic right to elect the country’s new president. The two contenders left in the race, out of the 14 candidates who competed in the first round, are the Social Democrat Victor Ponta (PSD president) and the center right candidate Klaus Iohannis (ACL president).
According to the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) website, 18,550 polling stations are set up nationwide, with 1,245 in Bucharest. In the Diaspora there are operational 294 polling stations as in the first round . A number of 800,000 paper ballots were sent to the polling stations abroad.
The Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) has announced, on Saturday, modifications made to the number of voters on the permanent electoral lists, the number of voters dropping by 3000, when compared to the last public information, a press release of the AEP remitted on Saturday to AGERPRES informs.
“Very important is the fact that, when compared to the last public information issued by the Permanent Electoral Authority on the issue, the copies of the permanent electoral lists comprise 18,281,625 voters (18,284,326 Romanian citizens with voting rights registered to the permanent electoral lists on November 2, 2014). The differences appear as a consequence of the operations done by the mayors in the Electoral Register of the localities they lead and of programmed data imports from the Directorate for Persons Records and Administration of Databases of the Ministry of Interior (MAI)”, the quoted release shows.
“Over 58,000 policemen, gendarmes, border policemen, firemen and employees of other operative structures are on duty on Sunday to secure a smooth unfolding of the voting process, in full accordance with the legislation in force”, Interior Ministry (MAI) spokesperson Monica Dajbog told a press conference.
The MAI official brought to mind the main rules of the electoral process. Voting has started at 7,00 and will conclude at 21,00, the polling station electoral bureau president is the one who declares the voting concluded and orders the polling station closing. The persons encountered at 21,00 in the voting hall will be able to cast their ballot, reports Agerpres.
Having in mind the stake of these elections and also the scandal over Diaspora’s vote two weeks ago, the presence at the ballot boxes for the presidential runoff is expected to be higher than in the first round, and also in comparison with the runoff of 2009 presidential elections.
BEC will release information on the voter’s turnout at 11,30, 14,30, 17,30, 20,30 and 22,30 and will supply partial results daily, starting at 0,00 on November 17. The information will be available and made public starting at 2,00, 5,00, 9,00, 11,00, 17,00, 20,00 on November 17 and the reference hour of the presented data will be two hours prior to the moment of release, namely 0,00, 3,00, 7,00, 9,00, 15,00, 18,00.
Minister Oprea voted “for a united and strong Romania”
One of the first electors who cast their ballots on Sunday morning, just one minute after the polling stations opened nationwide at 7 am, was the Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea, the Interior Minister, who said that he voted “for a united and strong Romania”. ‘I have voted for Romania’s progress. I have voted for a united and strong Romania where all citizens feel safe. Romania is a member state of the European Union and NATO that meets all its commitments to its international partners. Romania is a country that generates stability and security in its geographical region,’ said Oprea who voted at School No.150 of Bucharest.He added that he will go to the headquarters of the Interior Ministry (MAI) to oversee the smooth running of the runoff.
‘Nearly 60,000 of my fellow border police officers, gendarmes and firefighters are on duty and they will do their duty to uphold the law, to keep public peace and for today’s vote to reflect exactly the will of Romanians. I go to MAI, where I will join the entire leadership of the ministry, and I will be directly overseeing the observance of law,’ said Oprea.
PSD’s Dragnea: “I have voted for an energetic president”
Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea, the executive chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), on Sunday said he voted in the presidential runoff Romanian, for an energetic Romanian president that does not shy away from confrontations, reports Agerpres. ‘The same as in the first round of the election, I voted Romanian, for an energetic Romanian president that is not coward and that does not shy away from any confrontation, because think about a negotiation instance with a European leader when our president would walk away from the meeting,’ said Dragnea after casting his ballot at the polling stations at the A.D. Xenopol High School of Bucharest. He added that he cast his vote with a lot of hope, and mentioned he was expecting the turnout in the runoff to be slightly above the first round turnout. ‘I hope people will turn out to vote,’ said Dragnea. ‘It is colder. As a living classic would say autumn in not like summer, but anyway it does not rain, there is no blizzard, no storm, so people can come out to vote and we are waiting for them to vote because it is a good thing for as many people as possible to vote,’ said Dragnea.
DefMin: “Future president should represent Romania with dignity, preserve the unity of the Romania state”
Casting his ballot in the presidential runoff at Toplita, Harghita County, Defence Minister Mircea Dusa said upon leaving the polling station, that the future president should represent Romania with dignity in the world and preserve the unity of the Romanian state. ‘I believe the future president of Romania should provide a balance among the state institutions, be a mediator between the state and citizens. The future president should also represent Romania with dignity in the world, and a special mention: he should preserve the unity of the Romanian state,’ said Dusa. He added that he voted for a strong Romania where each citizen can have a decent life. ‘I have voted for a strong Romania where there will be no more political wars, for an economically stable Romania with a strong security system, where each citizen, old or young, may live a decent life,’ Dusa concluded.
Among the first Romanians who voted early in the morning was also Cristian Popescu Piedone, the Mayor of District 4 of Bucharest who came to the polling station accompanied by his wife. He said that he voted for the children’s future.
After casting his ballot this morning, Crin Antonescu, National Liberal Party (PNL) ex- Chairman said he voted “for nothing special”.
Ponta: “I voted for our mothers, grandparents and children to live in a better country”
The candidate of the PSD-UNPR-PC Alliance, Victor Ponta, cast his ballot at “Pia Bratianu” School in Bucharest, where he came accompanied by his wife and his two children. He said he voted for his belief that there will be no more generations of sacrifice after 25 years of transition”.
Basescu: “I voted against instauration of a discretionary regime”
Incumbent President Traian Basescu who will quit on December 21 voted at “A.D.Xenopol” Colege in Bucharest against “instauration of a discretionary regime”. He made an appeal to those called “basists” to come to the ballots to show how much they count.
Iohannis cast his ballot for “Romania of respect and prosperity”
ACL candidate Klaus Iohannis voted in Sibiu for “a strong Romania” and for “Romania of respect and prosperity” saying he was hoping “to be a beautiful day for everybody”.
He cast his ballot at School No. 4 from Sibiu where he came accompanied by his wife. In front of about 100 persons who gathered in front of the polling station to acclaim him, Iohannis said he came to vote after he went to the church.
BEC: Voter turnout as of 10:00 hrs was 8.52 pct
Voter turnout nationwide in today’s presidential runoff election as of 10:00hrs, EET, was 8.52 per cent, according to data released by the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC).
Tariceanu voted “for Romania that looks at the future”
The Senate’s Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said on Sunday morning, when exiting the polling station where he cast the ballot, that he wants “another Romania”, a Romania that “looks to the future”.
“My today’s vote aims to permanently close a sad page in Romania’s history and avoid the risk for this to continue in one form or another.
I want another Romania, a Romania that looks to the future, which thinks of young generations for whom it must ensure solid training and education to make them competitive when they go out on the workforce market. I want us to do more for the current generations, to create jobs, and for the elderly to ensure richer and calmer grey years,” said Tariceanu.
He added that he wants the economy “to start performing again, so that Romania become the seventh power of Europe”.
The Senate’s Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu voted, on Sunday, at School Sports Club No. 5 in Bucharest.
Former President Iliescu voiced hope for a beneficial change in the generations of Romania’s state leadership
Romania’s former President Ion Iliescu, the honorary chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), on Sunday voiced hope for a beneficial change in the generations of Romania’s politicians, so that the rejuvenation of Romania’s state leadership may impart a new dynamism to the future development of the country.
‘There is this generational change, and I hope a young man will become Romania’s president. This is a new generation of politicians, a new generation of people with responsibilities at all levels, and I hope this rejuvenation of the country’s leadership will impart a new dynamism to the future development of the country,’ said Iliescu after casting a ballot at the Jean Monet High School precinct of Bucharest in the presidential runoff.
He also mentioned the first democratic election in Romania, in 1990, when the voter turnout was 86 per cent.
‘That was a huge voter turnout and we were three running for the office – I and two honourable gentlemen: Mr Campeanu and Mr Ratiu, endorsed by the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Christian Democratic National Peasant Party (PNTCD), respectively. That was a national first even for many years before the world wars, when there were limitations, because it was the first truly free election when everybody took part. It was also a novelty after many years of no democracy,’ said Iliescu.
According to the former president, things have changed. ‘We are at a stage when things are more settled, but on the other hand there are specific problems. Romania has joined the European Union and NATO, it is part of the world, so we find ourselves in another stage of the development in Romania’s society. We have to learn how to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the current developments,’ said Iliescu.
Kelemen Hunor cast his ballot for” a powerful Romania, with respect for each citizen”
Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) Chairman on Sunday after exiting the polling station said he voted for a powerful Romania, with respect for each citizen.
“I have voted for a powerful Romania, with respect for each citizen, with respect for each community, where gradually, beyond the economic growth, we shall each find the possibility of reaching the desires and aims in the personal life, in the family life and all together,” Kelemen Hunor said.
He voiced his conviction that Romania will have in the years to come a substantial economic growth, underscoring that our country needs a president creating consensus in important topics for the society.
“I believe Romania, in the years to come, with a substantial effort can be in the region a country that will have an economic growth higher than the one estimated and we need a president who has the capacity of creating consensus in major topics, in topics that are important to the Romanian society and here I would enumerate a few: education, road and rail infrastructure, agriculture, health and national minorities’ rights, those institutional guarantees that also mean keeping the national identity. I have voted for these things,” the UDMR leader said.
ACL’s Blaga voted for “a normal, commonsensical Romania”, asked BEC to extend voting hours in polling station abroad
Christian Liberal Alliance (ACL) Co-Chairman, Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) Chairman, Vasile Blaga, said he voted for “a normal, commonsensical Romania” and pointed out he addressed a new request to the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) to extend voting hours in polling stations abroad.
“I have voted for a normal Romania, not a Romania of lies, for a commonsensical Romania and I have done it with a lot of hope. I invite all Romanians to come to vote today, because, in the end, they decide their future. And for this right, the most important right in a democracy, people died 25 years ago,” Vasile Blaga said on Sunday, after he cast his vote at the polling station at the “Ion Luca Caragiale” National College of Bucharest.
At the same time, the ACL Co-Chairman sent a message to the Romanians in Romania to take into account “the good citizenship” the Romanians in the diaspora show.
“I have filed a request with the Central Electoral Bureau asking the extension of the voting hours abroad where there are people who made efforts to go hundreds of kilometres away because the number of polling stations wasn’t increased for them to vote. I hope this time the request is approved, especially since the Government did not answer all BEC’s pleas and did not increase the number of polling stations abroad,” Blaga said.
According to BEC, voter turnout as of 13:00 hrs was 27,22%, more than 5 million electors casting their ballot.