President Klaus Iohannis calls on the authorities responsible for organizing the elections to “urgently” find solutions so that all Romanians can vote on Sunday.
“Dear Romanians, wherever you may vote, in any city of the world or in any village in Romania, no one can block your right to vote! Please, don’t lose patience, do not give up on your vote because of an incompetent government, that compels you to stand in huge queues to exercise a constitutional right. I thank you for wanting to make a better Romania! I call on the authorities responsible for organizing the elections to find solutions so that all Romanians can vote today!,” the head of state said on Sunday, on Facebook.
Ludovic Orban to file criminal complaint against Foreign Minister and all those involved in organising the vote abroad. The queues formed outside polling stations abroad prove that the Government is mocking the citizens and is preventing them from exercising the right to vote
National Liberal Party (PNL) President Ludovic Orban stated on Sunday that he will file a criminal complaint against Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and those who organised the voting abroad, stating that the authorities premeditated the hampering of voting abroad.
Orban stated on Sunday, during a press conference, that the way the Romanians who live abroad and want to vote are humiliated is outrageous.
“I have taken the decision to file a criminal complaint against Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and against those who were involved in organising the vote abroad. It is outrageous how the Romanians, our brothers from the diaspora, are being humiliated. It is outrageous that, after what happened in 2014, the Government and the Foreign Ministry premeditated preventing Romanians from exercising their right to vote in the diaspora,” the PNL leader said.
Orban says that the Foreign Ministry has refused all requests to raise the number of polling stations.
“Everybody knows there is a massive voter turnout intention in all foreign countries in which Romanians are working, in which there are Romanian communities. Basically, the Foreign Ministry has refused any request to raise the number of polling stations. Even if the number of polling stations was raised a bit, there was no kind of preoccupation with easing the voting procedure. The number of voting booths has been deliberately kept very low, so that the number of Romanian voters who can exercise their vote abroad would be reduced as much as possible,” Orban added.
The PNL leader believes that the queues formed outside polling stations abroad prove that the Government is mocking the citizens and is preventing them from exercising the right to vote. He instructed the PNL delegates in polling stations to intercede with the presidents of the electoral bureaus in order for them to make everything possible to ease the voting procedure so that all Romanians would be able to vote.
“Shameful, embarrassing, outrageous, the fear of Romanians on the part of those who govern is unacceptable, and preventing the exercise of the right to vote is one of the gravest offences. For this reason, I have ordered the National Liberal Party’s team of jurists to prepare this criminal complaint that we will lodge later tomorrow,” Ludovic Orban added.
“We signal the tablet operators’ illegal insistence to prompt Romanians not to register for the referendum vote”
He also pointed out the polling stations’ tablet operators’ insistence on prompting Romanians not to register for the referendum vote, and asked the Liberal representatives in the polling stations to monitor the dialogue between these operators and the citizens, thus making sure that voters are not influenced into not voting in the referendum.
“The second extremely grave thing that we signal is the tablet operators’ illegal insistence on prompting Romanians not to register for the referendum vote. The Central Electoral Bureau’s decision states that tablet operators must inform citizens that they can vote in both elections – in both the European Parliament elections and the referendum. They mustn’t ask people, insistently, whether they are sure they will vote in the referendum. They mustn’t ask people whether they will vote in the referendum, they mustn’t repeat any question regarding the referendum,” Orban stated during a press conference on Sunday.
He asked the PNL representatives in the polling stations to monitor the dialogue between the operators and the Romanian voters, making sure that voters are not influenced into not voting in the referendum, and to file criminal complaints in case they are.
“I have told our representatives in each polling stations to carefully monitor the dialogue between the tablet operators and the Romanian citizens who came to vote, and to make sure that the tablet operators are not influencing voters into not voting in the referendum. If that is the case, I have asked all PNL delegates in polling stations to file criminal complaints against the tablet operator, to ask the president of the polling station’s electoral bureau to prompt the tablet operator to behave fairly, legally, and in line with the Central Electoral Bureau’s decision, and to initiate all legal demarches in case the president of the polling station’s electoral bureau also refuses to prompt the tablet operator to behave legally,” Ludovic Orban explained.
Dacian Ciolos: We call on Gov’t to extend voting schedule until 23:00 hrs
The 2020 USR PLUS Alliance calls on the Government to extend the voting schedule until 23:00 hrs, given that there are “massive queues” at several polling stations, PLUS leader Dacian Ciolos said on Sunday.
“We notice that Romanian citizens are mobilized to vote, in a positive, surprising manner, and it is very important for us to ensure the right conditions for them to vote. This is happening both in the country and in the diaspora. Given the situations we are facing at several polling stations, the 2020 USR PLUS Alliance calls on the Government to urgently convene so as to take all the necessary steps in view of extending the voting schedule, instead of 21:00 hrs to 23:00 hrs. This is clearly necessary at several polling stations, because we already have situations, massive queues where the people who are currently lining in the queues will certainly not be able to vote until 21:00 hrs,” Ciolos said in a statement on Facebook.
He also asked the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) to interpret the legal provisions regarding the area where voters must be at the time when the polling station closes. “This area of the polling station should be interpreted, not as the office, the hall where the voting takes place, but the premises of the polling station. More specifically, those who will enter the building where there is the polling station, at the time when the station closes and the voting time ends should be accepted and be able to cast their ballot,” Dacian Ciolos explained.
The PLUS leader also requested the supplementing of the ballot papers in the polling stations where this is necessary. “We have received several signals from several polling stations that there are situations where there are not enough ballot papers and there is the risk that the vote could be suspended due to the absence of ballot papers,” added Ciolos.
Tomac: PMP requests extending program in polling stations abroad
The People’s Movement Party (PMP) is demanding that the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) extend the program in the polling stations abroad, so that Romanian citizens can exercise their right provided by the Constitution, otherwise those who organized the elections will be sued, PMP leader Eugen Tomac announced on Sunday.
“We are facing a phenomenon that we have had at other elections too, namely queues of hundreds of meters in front of the polling stations abroad, especially in the European Union and the Republic of Moldova. We have requested that BEC meet urgently and make the decision to extend the voting program for the Romanian citizens who are voting abroad to the last citizen who exercises his / her right to vote. In the EU there are states where the electoral process was held for two days for the purpose for the citizens to cast their vote for the European Parliament. It is clear that the presence of the 3.5 million Romanian citizens and their interest in these elections, as well in as the referendum aimed at consolidating the rule of law in Romania, are issues of a major interest for Romanian citizens both in the EU and in the Republic of Moldova,” said Eugen Tomac at PMP headquarters.
He specified that the People’s Movement Party also addressed a request from the MAE similar to that of the Central Electoral Bureau.
According to PMP leader, it is essential that Romanian citizens abroad have the freedom to exercise their right to vote.
“We understand that there is this PSD policy to discourage the free Romanian citizens from voting, but the signal given by society forces us to react, and our request is based on the right to vote guaranteed by the Constitution. We hope that our request will be treated with maximum responsibility. (…) Otherwise, we will reserve the right to sue those who have organized the elections, because that is inadmissible,” added Eugen Tomac.
Foreign Affairs Ministry: All 441 polling stations abroad operational, working normally
All 441 polling stations opened abroad are operational and working normally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported on Sunday.
“Apart from isolated technical incidents that were quickly remedied, in the early morning hours all activities in the diaspora polling stations are running within the normal parameters. The Romanians’ turnout is substantial and the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs involved in the electoral process is making efforts to make sure that all the Romanian citizens abroad exercise their voting right,” the Foreign Ministry said in a release.
The Ministry also said it has organized a “record high number” of polling stations, more than twice the number set up at previous elections.
“Compared with the previous elections to the European Parliament (2014, 2009 and 2007 – that had 190 polling stations each), this year there are by 251 stations more, the current number being 441. Compared to the 2018 national referendum for the revision of the Constitution (378 stations) there are 63 additional stations, and compared to the 2016 parliamentary elections (417), there are 24 more polling stations. In conclusion, the number of polling stations for the Romanian citizens abroad did not decrease, but on the contrary, it has more than doubled from 190 to 441 in 2019. The list of the polling places was decided based on the proposals of Romania’s diplomatic missions, which took into account the consultations with the Romanian communities abroad, their requests to have new stations organised and the assessment of the unfolding of the previous voting processes abroad,” the Foreign Ministry explained.
The Foreign Ministry reminds Romanian citizens who live abroad that they can vote at any of the polling stations organized on the territory of the state they temporarily reside in. Therefore, if they find that there is a higher turnout at a certain polling station, which would imply a longer waiting time for exercising their right to vote, the Ministry’s recommendation to the Romanian citizens is to travel to the nearest station. The polling stations are organized at the premises of Romania’s diplomatic and consular missions, at the headquarters of cultural institutions abroad, at honorary consulates, but also in other locations. Most polling stations were set up in Italy (76, by 3 more than in 2016), Spain (50), the Republic of Moldova (36), the United States (31), the United Kingdom (29, by 8 more than in 2016 ), Germany (25, by 10 more than in 2016), France (17), Austria (9), Belgium (8).
According to the Foreign Ministry, crowding has been reported during the day at some polling stations abroad, with occasional situations reported where compact groups of voters arrived simultaneously at the same station, affecting the flow of the voting process (a particular case refers to a group of 5 buses that arrived simultaneously at the same polling place). Also, there have been reports of ballot boxes getting filled up following a significant number of citizens casting their ballots, which led to minor delays in the electoral process, as the boxes had to be replaced with empty ones, the cited source said.
“We hereby specify that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has constantly promoted information on the electoral process, the number of polling stations and their location, both on its web page, and on the social media platforms of the Ministry and of Romania’s diplomatic missions and consular offices abroad. This approach was doubled by Romania’s diplomatic missions and consular offices, which promoted locally information on the location of the polling stations, the voting procedure, the requirements for exercising the right to vote. All these activities allowed the voters to get informed and choose the nearest locations for exercising their right to vote. A special section was created to this effect on the Foreign Ministry’s web page, with useful electoral information that is being permanently updated. This information is being streamed in real time on the Ministry’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, to help the interested Romanian citizens. The list of the polling stations is available at the address http://www.mae.ro/node/48090,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.