The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Valeriu Zgonea (photo), said on Thursday that the distance voting law might be adopted ‘in the longest scenario’ in February, but definitely not sooner than that. The Social-Democrat said in an interview granted to RFI that, in such situation, the law would still apply to the 2016 elections.
‘From my point of view, based on my experience, the longest scenario I can see is sometime at the beginning of the next season, sometime in February, but that’s a very good thing. We all need to understand, I mean the political community, that this law is necessary in our process of democratic consolidation. All states have had their experience. This vote is very important in the presidential election. On the other hand, in the parliamentary elections the citizens who live abroad only vote for the four deputies and two senators representing them, but people need to feel that the Romanian state provides them with all the necessary conditions’, Zgonea said.
The speaker of the Chamber of Deputies contradicted the Liberals who had repeatedly claimed that the law on the distance voting would need to become effective before this November in order for it to apply to the 2016 parliamentary election, as the Constitutional Court had ruled that electoral legislation may not be amended less than a year before an election.
‘It has nothing to do with that. It’s an interpretation some of the mass-media and the political community gave and are not clinging on to’, Zgonea said.
He said that, ‘if there are no unconstitutional sections’, the distance voting could be used for the 2016 elections.
‘We have had three constitutional obligations, it is true, correlated to decision of the Constitutional Court, to adopt the fundamental electoral laws- the law on the local administration and the law on the parliamentary election – a year before the end of the term of the MPs or of the locally elected officials. In that case, there is this condition you are mentioning. Today, when we bring a law on the voting in the Diaspora, fundamental rights have been codified in a legislative framework, on the set term. We, PSD, have committed to draft by June the three important laws – the law on the financing of political parties and the law on political parties, the law on the election of local administration and the law on parliamentary election (…). We are making a completion now and we say this: in 2015 we realise that some of the Romanian electorate who are abroad cannot travel, on the voting day, to the centres we have used so far. So we have two solutions: make an agreement with those countries to set up voting stations within the migrant communities we have there and some of the states are flexible, whilst others are rigid within international conventions, accepting polling stations only inside embassies or consulates, so we bring the second option, already experienced by those states, either the electronic voting, or the traditional voting by post. And here we step in, as the Romanian state, through the Romanian Parliament, with this decision’, Zgonea explained.
During the first meeting after the change of the Electoral Code Commission chairman that took place yesterday at the Parliament, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Valeriu Zgonea, said he was not happy about the fact that the Standing Electoral Authority had not proposed a law on the introduction of distance voting.
He blamed the representatives of the institutions for being incapable to produce a draft law on the distance voting, after a new postponement of debates because of AEP requests.
‘I find that, at this point, AEP is incapable to produce a draft law based on PNL’s skeleton, on Mr. Tomac’s skeleton, and keeps playing out time. If they cannot do it, at least they should say that in front of the Commission’, said Zgonea.
However, under the law, AEP may not draft electoral legislation, which is the prerogative of Parliament.
The Electoral Code Commission will meet again on 12 October.
Monday night on B1 TV, ex-PSD President Victor Ponta said, speaking of the distance voting, that ‘beyond the political battle there is nothing’.
Liberals accuse PSD of ‘cynicism and carelessness’
PNL’s Secretary General Marian Petrache says PSD’s attitude in the matter of the distance voting can be described as cynicism and carelessness. The Liberal stresses the idea that the Social-Democrats are not interested in Romanians who are based in other countries, who overturned the percentages in the 2014 presidential election.
‘PSD’s attitude in the matter of the distance voting can be placed between cynicism and carelessness. The PSD people led by Liviu Dragnea are those who, when in front of the camera, are the best friends of the Romanians in the Diaspora but, in the politics backstage, when they need to make decisions in favour of those citizens, only pursue their own petty interests, and do not give the snap of their finger for the rights of those citizens. At the beginning of the week, PSD was bragging in plenary sitting in Parliament, but also in front of the public, that it would introduce in Parliament the distance voting bill very soon, ironically accusing us, PNL, of playing out time’, Marian Petrache notes in a press statement, according to Agerpres.
PNL MP Ovidiu Raetchi on Thursday had a reaction to the statement made by the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies on the adoption of the distance voting law in February 2016, saying he should ‘urgently leave’ the leadership of the chamber.
‘I see that Valeriu Zgonea has found yet another stupid pretext to delay the distance voting and blame the Standing Electoral Authority. Moreover, he says the law would only be adopted in February 2016. Valeriu Zgonea needs to urgently leave the leadership of the Chamber of Deputies because of the sinister and wretched manner in which he trifles with the Romanians in the Diaspora’, Raetchi said, according to Agerpres.
AEP has decided: 18,278,045 citizens have the right to vote
The number of citizens who may vote, appearing in the electoral record on 5 October is 18,278,045, more by 610 than the previous Standing Electoral Authority (AEP) public information on 4 September – 18,277,435. The differences come from current operations performed by mayors in the electoral records of their localities. The electoral record is a national IT system used for the recording and updating of information identifying Romanian citizens who have the right to vote and information on the stations where they are allocated for voting.