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April 16, 2021

Postal voting, the hot potato and the force of Diaspora

The Diaspora matters. This was confirmed by the Presidential elections of November 2014. The votes of Romanians living abroad may play a decisive role in elections and, perhaps, this is why one of the promises made by present President Klaus Iohannis was not completed so far.
Hundreds of thousands Romanians standing in queues of a length that amazed the entire world at voting stations in the greatest cities of the world revealed a force that was never suspected so far. A latent force that can be active beyond the borders, when the time is right, and may overturn all political games in the country. The games that keep being played here, despite of clear and persistent messages from Diaspora representatives according to whom postal voting is absolutely necessary so that Romanians living abroad could express their political options in a democratic and dignified way, so that situations (illegal, as it might turn out, as there is a presently ongoing investigation) of November 2014 when the rights of the Diaspora were violated by bureaucracy and carelessness, as some may say, or by occult interests, as others may say.
Now, we are in the twelfth hour as far as the postal voting is concerned. Almost a year after the roller coaster started, our politicians are still unable to introduce this tool, to be applied for next year’s Parliament elections, which is until the end of next month, as a decision of the Constitutional Court reveals.
If the law is not adopted and promulgated in due time, the right of the Diaspora will be ridiculed again. Responsibility is being thrown like a hot potato, not from one politician to the next, but, lately, from one party to the next. In electoral purposes, obviously. After Mihai Voicu resigned as leader of the Special Common Committee elaborating electoral laws and PNL has publicly announced that they would not propose a replacer. Moreover, they offered PSD the honor of appointing a leader to this commission, planning to use the failure later on, obviously, as an electoral strategy.
Moreover, Liberal members of the Parliament started a Japanese strike until the law would be adopted, probably forgeting that, immediately after the elections, many of them had voted for the rejection of this project, without at least allowing corrections / amendments.
“Demagogy for the eyes of electorate”, a few voices yelled. It might be so, yet, besides this mascarade, the future is sinister, as far as the trust of millions of Romanians living abroad is concerned. Because the one thing that made them head on to the streets on November 2 and 16, 2014, was the confidence that they may change something.
So, therefore, in the twelfth hour, parties use this hot potato for electoral purposes, obviously, yet with one obvious consequence: ridiculing the millions of Romanians living abroad, who think in Romanian, talk Romanian and feel Romanian.
Almost one year passed and nothing was done for postal voting and now, when days are counted, we start rushing things in traditional Romanian style. The law will be ready in no more than a week, swears Marian Neacsu, leader of PSD Deputies. Despite of the fact that Social – Democrats and Liberals have promised many times that the adoption of this law is imminent, without any obvious result. So far, the respective committee got reunited at least for five times. Although, so far, there was no detailed discussion as much as once to clear out the advantages and disadvantages of postal voting and the actual way such instrument is applied, an instrument that works in other countries, yet might cause a lot of confusion in our beautiful country (you may read “attempts at fraud”).
The person most affected by this game of postal voting is precisely President
Klaus Iohannis, who seems to be sabotaged by his very own people, the Liberals, who failed, in the course of an entire year, to complete the promise he had made to Romanians. Little time is left until Iohannis’ first year as President is through, and we almost hear his apologies at the time he reads his one-year report. It will happen if Social-Democrats are unable to make a wonder happen. And if the law is finally produced under the signature of a PSD leader, what will Liberals do and how will the President appear?
“Granting legal frame and required conditions so that Romanians living abroad could cast their vote in 2016, for the first time, by mail, will be a proof of the maturity of Romania’s political class”, was Iohannis’ latest statement on this topic, at his latest meeting with the Romanian community in New York. Yet, does the President still believe that the law would be really adopted? Did it ever believe this?
Obviously, realistically speaking, neither PNL, nor PSD really want postal voting, precisely because those several million Romanians have proved, a I have written before, that they are a latent force, that can cancel all political games in the country. Therefore, they are similarly afraid, but they are attempting to use this instrument to hit their adversaries, each as they can. Power games based on the millions of Romanians living in the Diaspora.
Could they hope that this hot potato would cool down finally? Could they believe that they could cast their vote decently at the forthcoming elections and at the ones to follow, without elbowing each other, without yelling, without passing out, without spending many hours in kilometre-long queues, without situations such as missing stamps and voting stations’ doors closed in their face?
And, there is perhaps the most important and ignored mattering this wave of popularity-seeking declarations, accusations and promises: can they be confident to go vote in such great numbers? Probably not, and this is where the danger starts. Politicians in this country are counting on their contempt, dismay and abandon. Because they fear the Force of Diaspora.

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