PNL (National Liberal Party), USR (Save Romania Union) and PMP (People’s Movement Party) have submitted a request to the Deputies’ Chamber to create a committee of inquiry into the limitation of the right to vote of Romanian citizens in the diaspora.
The initiators of this request motivated that “tens of thousands of Romanian citizens in the diaspora weren’t able to exercise their right to vote, which is guaranteed by the Constitution, in the elections to the European Parliament of May 26 2019,” and “this is like what happened in the 2014 presidential elections happening all over again, for the authorities did not take enough measures to improve the voting process.”
They also mentioned that the “number of polling stations was too small considering the number of electors who wanted to exercise their right to vote and that the Government refuses to prolong the voting programme of the polling stations in the diaspora, where the Romanian citizens waited in line for hours to be able to reach to the ballot boxes.”
According to the initiators, “serious errors were made in the organisation” process and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed “a lack of responsibility when it did not supplement enough the polling stations abroad to guarantee every Romanian citizen his/her right to vote.”
AEP head proposes creation of inter-institutional working group to introduce postal voting
The head of the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP), Constantin-Florin Mituletu-Buica, proposed a meeting with the representatives of the institutions in charge with the organisation and carrying out of the elections, ensuring cyber security and personal data protection, the creation of an inter-institutional working group to identify solutions to make the electoral process more efficient, while referring to the introduction of postal voting until the presidential elections this year and the elimination from the polling stations of the printed electoral lists, reads a release sent to AGERPRES.
Participating in the meeting that took place on Wednesday at the AEP headquarters were the representatives of the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP), the National Supervisory Authority for Personal Data Processing (ANSPDCP), the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police (IGPR), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE), the Special Telecommunications Service (STS), the National Cyber Security And Incident Response Centre (CERT-RO), the National Cyberint Centre (CNC) and the National Council for Combating Discrimination (CNCD).
Discussions focused on the conclusions of the manner in which last Sunday’s elections were carried out.
“The AEP head informed on the number of phone calls and electronic messages received on the day of the elections and the efficient manner in which they communicated the requested information. Moreover, he mentioned the normal functioning, within the normal parameters, of the computer system for monitoring turnout and preventing illegal voting, on the date of the voting. The general manager of the national elector information computer system underscored that there were no significant events registered that affected the information system infrastructure and reiterated that the distribution of the mandates will be made after the collection of the final data from a computer-station that is secured and certified by CERT-RO,” reads the release.
The MAE representatives informed about such attempts of misinformation and spreading of fake news that were immediately counter-attacked, “so that they did not generate any toxic effects on a larger scale.”
The meeting at the AEP headquarters focused on the application of the provisions of the European Commission Recommendation C (2018) 5949 of September 12 2018 regarding the cooperation networks in the election field, online transparency and prevention of cyber security related incidents and also combating of the misinformation campaigns in the context of the elections to the European Parliament 2019.
AEP specified that, according to the legal provisions, in the election of the Romanian members of the European Parliament 2019, the Permanent Electoral Authority played the role of a single contact point for the implementation of the European Commission Recommendation C (2018) 5949 of September 12 2018.
ALDE proposes diaspora have a week to vote
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) leader Calin Popescu-Tariceanu proposed a legislative solution according to which Romanians abroad should have a week at their disposal to cast their votes, and he announced that he will discuss this initiative with all the parliamentary parties.
“I received signals of dissatisfaction from the Romanian citizens abroad, but also from the Romanians at home. I won’t give any other detail, for we all know the situation, their waiting in line for a very long time which basically meant they weren’t able to vote in the end. (…) And we cannot say that this was a bad intention of the Government, because the number of polling stations did double. The situation was also caused by the fact that (…) there were 3 votes – in the elections to the European Parliament and the referendum. I don’t think it’s the right time now to explain more. We are facing a situation to which we must find a solution, so that the people will not stay in such long lines in the future and the situation will not repeat and Romanians will no longer face this impossibility to vote. Our proposal is that the polling stations abroad open one week before the vote and stay open for an entire week, so that those who live in more remote areas be able to come and exercise their right to vote,” said Tariceanu, on Wednesday, at the meeting of the Central Political Bureau of ALDE.
He also said mail voting faces certain obstacles of a bureaucratic nature, too, and those who want to vote need to go to register somewhere with their domicile where they can receive the ballot papers.
“Most Romanians working abroad or living abroad are not registered with the embassies or the consulates, so that there is no place where these institutions can send them the ballot papers by mail. Which is why we are proposing a more simple non-bureaucratic system – one week of voting. Of course that this is also problematic, because there could be challenges with the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) to do the same in the country too, but I believe that, the same as it happens in other country, where they have this system, this could also be the best solution for us. In the next period we are going to discuss with the other political parties in Parliament to listen, debate and find the best solution,” said Tariceanu.