On Sunday, Romanians will elect the parliamentarians that will represent them in the next four years. The elections will mark several firsts. The switch will be made from the uninominal voting system back to the party lists voting system, which means the number of MPs will drop from 588 to just 466. Moreover, Romanians living abroad will be able to resort to postal voting.
Polling stations will open on Sunday, at 7 a.m., and will close at 9 p.m. The special ballot boxes for persons who are unable to go to the polling stations will have to be sealed at that same hour.
The parliamentary elections will cost over RON 227 million. The total sum earmarked by the Government has been included within the budgets of the Interior Ministry (MAI), Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE), Standing Electoral Authority (AEP), Special Telecommunications Service (STS) and National Statistics Institute (INS).
Electoral districts have been set up in all 41 counties, plus one in Bucharest and one for Romanian citizens living or working abroad. Thus, the total number of electoral districts stands at 43.
Over 6,000 candidates want to become MPs
The new Legislative will consist of 326 Lower Chamber members (including 18 Lower Chamber members representing ethnic minorities) and 134 Senate members. Romanians living abroad will be represented by 4 Lower Chamber members and 2 Senate members. Per the law, one Lower Chamber member represents 73,000 citizens, while a Senate member represents 168,000 citizens. To enter Parliament, a political party must cross the 5 percent electoral threshold.
According to Central Electoral Bureau data, there are 4,251 candidates for the Lower Chamber and 2,226 candidates for the Senate.
18,297,431 Romanians expected at the polls; 8,889 postal voting requests filed in the Diaspora
The total number of voting-age Romanians living in the country stood at 18,297,431 on November 8. Nevertheless, only 7.7 million Romanians showed up at the polls during the previous parliamentary elections, in 2012.
The parliamentary elections of 2016 have already started in the Diaspora. 8,889 postal voting requests have been filed by Romanian voters living abroad. Romanian citizens living or residing abroad who have registered with the Electoral Registry have received their ballots by mail. The envelopes with their ballots will be tallied at the Electoral District Office no.43, the electoral district set up for Romanians living abroad.
Electoral campaign, at the end. The track record of the Interior Ministry: 35 criminal files following the electoral incidents, 308 complaints to the emergency call number 112
In almost one month of electoral campaign, more than 300 complaints for corruption deeds and breaches of the electoral law have been registered, being open 35 criminal cases. Over 45,000 forces belonging to MAI (Interior Minister – e.n.) have been mobilized for the election day.
On Thursday, at the headquarter of the Interior Minister was held the las meeting of the central technical commission for the organization of the parliamentary elections of Sunday, being presented on this occasion, among others, the track record of the incidents in the electoral campaign, from November 11 to December 8.
“Until today, the Ministry’s forces have provided the development in good conditions of a number of 427 electoral demonstrations held in 286 localities. Generally, on the occasion of this electoral process, I’ve noticed that the measures and the regulations provided by the legal framework related to the development of the electoral campaign have been respected. We had much more less incidents and complaints than those caused by other elections organized here. From November 11 to December 8, 308 complaints have been registered, out of which 26 weren’t confirmed, 21 were sent to be solved by the Permanent Electoral Authority and one by the County Electoral Bureau in charge. Following the investigations, 164 persons have been sanctioned for contraventions provide by the Law no.208/2015 on the elections and 35 criminal files have been opened, out of which 21 files are for corrupting voters. This number includes also those files that have been mentioned in the public space by various political leaders, who expressed their concern, as far as I’ve seen, related to the manner in which the Ministry is monitoring these complaints. I want to fully assure everybody, there is no complaint, there was no complaint in this period that wasn’t monitored according to the Law by the Interior Ministry’s structures” stated IntMin Dragos Tudorache.
MAI will mobilize 45,000 staff for parliamentary election day
The Interior Ministry (MAI) will mobilize on the parliamentary election day approximately 45,000 staff, of whom 21,000 for the protection of the polling stations, 12,000 will ensure public order, and 11,000 assigned to task force teams of specialists and reserves, Minister Dragos Tudorache announced on Thursday.
He pointed out that the surveillance of the manner in which the elections are conducted will be done not only with MAI staff on a county level, but also with personnel from the central office.
“By my order, in each county we have a team made up of workers with the Control Body and staff with the central structure of the Police General Inspectorate, working together with the chief inspectors in each county and with them I will ensure the command and supervision of all measures and actions conducted by the MAI structures over the next days. We want to eliminate any suspicion about impartiality, about the manner in which the decisions are made at local level, by the County Police Inspectorate,” the Interior Minister said in the beginning of the meeting of the Central Technical Committee for the coordination of election-related activities.
He also said that on a regional level – Cluj, Iasi, Timisoara and Bucharest – four teams of workers of the Interior Ministry’s Control Body have been set up, who will be solving the possible incidents exceeding the verification prerogatives of the county structures, or whenever necessary.
“We don’t leave next days’ tasks and responsibility to supervise the manner in which all necessary measures for ensuring the legality of the election process are implemented only at local level, but we’ll also do it with an increased supervision on behalf of the ministry,” Dragos Tudorache added.
In Mures, it was decided that part of the ballot papers will be reprinted, the procedure going to be finalized on Friday.
“In the Mures County we had to reprint the ballot papers following the decision taken by the County Electoral Bureau and the Central Electoral bureau, for the ballots for the Senate. The decision has been taken due to the poor quality of the first batch received from the contractor that has been working with the Mures Prefecture. (…) Starting from tomorrow, the measures of taking over the guard of all the polling stations by the MAI staff will be finalized on Saturday”, stated the Minister.
CNSAS: Six parliamentary elections candidates collaborated with the Securitate
The National Council for the Study of Securitate Archives (CNSAS) has announced that six of the candidates in the December 11th parliamentary elections collaborated with or worked for the former Securitate, as established by final court rulings.
CNSAS has announced that it has so far received from county electoral offices data on 5,164 candidates.
“We inform that final and irrevocable court rulings establishing the fact that they collaborated with or worked for the former Securitate have been issued for the following: Alexandru Andrei (ALDE candidate in Bucharest); Calota Samuel (PMP candidate in Teleorman); Ganea Ion (PMP candidate in Tulcea) – Securitate worker; Manole Victor (PRU candidate in Covasna); Popovici Anton Teodor (PRU candidate in Vaslui); Turda Gheorghe (PRU candidate in the Diaspora). We point out that the verification of candidates in the general elections of December 2016 is continuing, and the results will be made public as they are finalised, in line with the law,” the Council informs.
Bucharest schools to suspend classes to turn into polling places
Schools in Bucharest City will suspend classes Friday through Monday to be turned into polling places for the December 11 general election, Spokesman for Bucharest City School Inspectorate (ISMB) Marian Banu told Agerpres on Thursday.
He added that 119 out of the city’s 420 school units will not suspend classes.
“ISMB has asked for a report on the schools where polling stations are to be opened, while the ministry’s Administration Board has decided that each school unit will design their own class schedule deepening on specific problems and the number of polling stations. I can tell you that out of about 420 schools, 119 will not suspend classes Friday or Monday. (…) The suspension is necessary for setting up the polling stations and decommissioning them on Monday, including sanitation and arrangement of classrooms. (…) Out of 420, 301 will suspend classes. Out of 301, half will have the classes suspended on Friday and half on Monday,” said Banu.
He added that each school will come up with its own plan to make up for the suspended classes.