President Klaus Iohannis met on Thursday the members of Parliament who represent the Diaspora and discussed with them issues such as postal voting or the Parliamentary representation threshold.
The meeting took place at the request of the 6 MPs representing the Diaspora: Senators Viorel Riceard Badea and Adrian Anghel and Lower Chamber MPs Aurelian Mihai, Eugen Tomac, Mircea Lubanovici and Ovidiu Alexandru Raetchi.
According to a communiqué issued by the Presidential Administration, the discussion focused on “ensuring that the citizens living abroad exercise their right to vote, improving communication with the representatives of Romanian communities and the quality of consulate services, as well as developing state policies for the Diaspora.”
“The Romanian President has reiterated the urgency of adopting the necessary legislation that would allow all Romanians living abroad to express their right to vote in the best conditions. In this sense, the Head of State called on the MPs that represent the Diaspora to get involved in the dialogue with the representatives of political parties in order to find a viable, simple and low-cost solution for the Romanian voters that live abroad. In what concerns the improving of the relation with Romanians living abroad, the Romanian President deemed that solving the communication problems through existing channels and creating new mechanisms for dialogue represent important levers with which to come to their support, emphasizing that there is the need for direct involvement on the part of the representatives of the Diaspora in defining the Romanian state’s policies concerning communities living abroad. The Romanian President offered assurances that special preoccupation is shown toward improving the Diaspora’s mechanism of representation and consultation, and the Consultative Council stipulated in the presidential platform will be created. The Consultative Council will be a partner of dialogue and cooperation for institutions such as the Government’s Department for Romanians Abroad and the Romanian Cultural Institute, in order to improve their performance,” the aforementioned source stated.
During the talks, the Diaspora MPs expressed their support for the introduction of postal voting through the adoption of a postal voting law and emphasized the need to have a higher number of MPs representing the Romanians living abroad.
On leaving the consultations, PMP President Eugen Tomac stated that the right of Romanians living abroad to vote both in the parliamentary and presidential elections was one of the issues discussed.
“I presented my point of view in what concerns the postal voting law, a draft law authored and filed by PMP. I hope our opinions will be taken into account. It is important that the President feels that there is certain reticence, as he put it, on the part of the parties in what concerns the introduction of postal voting. He does not believe that electronic voting is a solution today,” Tomac stated.
On the other hand, the PMP President expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that President Iohannis does not support the modification of the citizenship law in a way that would allow Serbian and Moldovan citizens who are not ethnic Romanians to benefit from it too.
“It was a useful meeting, I was hoping that the president would put pressure on the parties and the latter would support postal voting. Otherwise it would be a blow to Romanians living abroad,” the MP added.
At the same time, Eugen Tomac expressed support for the hiking of the number of MPs representing the Diaspora, against the backdrop of intense work on the electoral code, the issue being discussed today with President Iohannis.
Eugen Tomac reiterated that only 4 Lower Chamber MPs and 2 Senators represent all Romanians living abroad, giving as an example the number of Romanians in Chisinau which is almost identical to that of Romanians who live in southern Sibiu County and who are represented by 7 MPs within the Lower Chamber and 4 MPs within the Senate.
“Not to mention Italy, where there are over 1 million Romanians,” he stated, adding that there are other states where more than 1 million Romanian citizens live.
“The Romanian state has to fundamentally change its approach toward the Diaspora,” Eugen Tomac added.
Likewise, the PMP MP expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that Parliament refuses to implement the results of the 2007 referendum in which Romanians voted in favour of a single-Chamber Parliament with no more than 300 MPs.
Asked when a decision will be taken on postal voting, Eugen Tomac answered: “If political parties reach a consensus next week, next year Romanians will vote by post.”