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January 25, 2022

Heated debate on ‘Diaspora Vote’ within Electoral Code Commission

The meeting of the Electoral Code Commission took place on Wednesday behind closed doors. During the contradictory discussions with journalists on this issue,  Speaker of the Lower Chamber Valeriu Zgonea stated: “the decisions cannot be taken with the press present.”

Zgonea stated at the start of the Commission’s meeting that the documents and analyses on electoral systems had been distributed and that there was also a list of organizations or persons that had asked to be observers within the Parliamentary commission and to express their points of view.

Those present at the Electoral Code Commission’s meeting which discussed the drafting of changes to the electoral law were: Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea, PSD MP Eugen Nicolicea, MP Varujan Pambuccian, PNL MP Dan Motreanu, PDL MP Ioan Oltean, UNPR MP Luminita Adam, UDMR MP Marton Arpad, PNL MP Victor Paul Dobre, PNL Senator Puiu Hasotti, PDL Senator Alin Tise.


Vote by mail “zero priority”


Vote by mail could not be only for the Diaspora, on Wednesday said the chairman of the special parliamentary Committee for the elaboration of the legislative proposals on the electoral laws, Valeriu Zgonea.

‘Vote by mail is issued for a certain type of voting, for all Romania’s citizens. This is a tough (to complete) issue, otherwise it would be unconstitutional,’ Zgonea, who is also the Speaker of the lower House of the Parliament, specified, at the end of a reunion of the said committee.

He showed that security is set through the measures provided by the law.

‘There have been a lot of elements blamed by the participants in a vote by mail in Spain, Italy or Great Britain and that is why the committee has written to the embassies and asked for support from the national parliaments of the EU countries with regard to this matter. Moreover, we have asked for support from the US Embassy, too. Last year, somewhere in December this support was received and distributed to all the members of the committee so that we could see how things are with the vote by mail and the electronic vote in the United States (…) Humans’ resourcefulness is huge. We want it to be a secured vote and we should all understand that, when enforcing a vote by mail or an electronic vote, a part of the security one has as a citizen regarding the way one votes, is lost. We should accept this,’ said Zgonea quoted by Agerpres.

The Chamber of Deputies Speaker added that they have also spoken about the crowd at the poll stations from abroad.

‘We have discussed that we should be able to create over there as many polling stations so that the people could have access to during that very day. (…) There are some issues we should discuss with the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE), the Interior Affairs Ministry (MAI), so that they could have their memoranda set by the beginning of the electoral campaign with the respective countries where the Romanian migration communities are very large. That’s why I said that the MAE, the MAI should be present there. Should we have, for instance, an agreement with Spain or Italy and they allow us to set polling stations in certain areas, then the Romanian migration communities who exist there legally, on the territory of the respective European state have access to vote in those polling stations, because we should enforce on another country’s territory a Romanian law. We have commitments according to the Treaty and also bilateral commitments and we should do this thing,’ Zgonea explained.

He underlined the intention of the Romanian MPs with the committee to assure the Romanians from abroad the access to the polling stations, in particular for the president’s election.

‘As for the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, that is easier, because we have mandates for the Diaspora. This is a matter we should regulate on an emergency basis, because this was the main discontent at the November 16 elections. I, personally, agree with any modification of the law which allows all the Romanian citizens the access to voting on the vote day. We must think which is the law’s main obligation and what did the dissatisfied Romanians say. They said like this: there were zones where the Romanian citizens have had no polling station, even if they had asked for them. We should look into the current legislation, to see who is in charge, and together with our instruments to change the law so that, in due time the Standing Electoral Authority (AEP), the MAE, the MAI could propose polling stations in the areas where Romanian communities exist. The vote by mail could be enforced after all conditions are guaranteed,’ the Chamber of Deputies speaker added.

Being asked if this committee would regulate eventually the vote by mail, Zgonea answered: ‘It’s the zero priority.’


Zgonea: Consensus on a code of ethics is needed


Valeriu Zgonea also wants a political consensus among all parties on a code of ethics with criteria for the parliamentary candidates, which would avoid problems like lifting their immunity, reports Agerpres.

‘There is a consensus among the political class about the need to change the political culture. What we need is a new political culture, so that people who come into the Parliament have obligations and responsibilities as a priority when they take their office, irrespective of being elected locally or members of the Government. What we need is a consensus among the political parties on a code of ethics written into the statute of every political party, on selecting their members who come here,’ Zgonea declared on Wednesday, after the sitting of the Electoral Code Committee.

He underlined the fact that some MPs have problems coming from their past.

‘If we don’t do this, it will be very difficult. There will be 300 deputies and 100 senators, but they will behave the same and have the same problem, and it will impact this institution, which is fundamental for the democracy. And then, if we set the rules in an action plan, we also have to set the way we select people who come into the Parliament. This is the political class the Romanians voted for. I want this Electoral Code Committee to be efficient,’ Zgonea claimed.

Asked what number of MPs was proposed in the committee, the speaker answered he was ‘militating’ for 300 deputies and 100 senators.

‘This is my personal point of view. Some of my colleagues support it, not just from the PSD ,’ he mentioned.


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