On Wednesday, President Klaus Iohannis asked the Government to urgently draft a bill that would be adopted by Parliament during its current session, so that situations such as those seen during the May 26 elections, when many voters were unable to cast their ballots, would be avoided.
“I’m asking the Government to urgently draft a bill that Parliament could adopt by the end of the current parliamentary session, that would propose the appropriate administrative measures starting with the presidential elections next autumn. At the same time, I’m asking the parliamentary parties to make all efforts so that the bill would fully meet the standards of electoral conduct and the exigencies in this field, so that situations such as those registered during the May elections would be avoided. If the situation calls for it, I will ask, in line with my constitutional prerogatives, the convening of an extraordinary parliamentary session to urgently discuss the bill that will be put up for debate, so that the bill would be adopted ahead of the next parliamentary session,” Iohannis said, referring to the bill aiming to simplify the voting system that would be implemented as early as this year’s presidential elections.
Prior to that, the President reiterated the criticism levelled against the fact that Romanian expats were unable to vote in the European Parliament elections due to the overcrowding of polling stations, underscoring that voting is the essence of any democratic regime and no cost is too great to find those functional electoral mechanisms that would allow every Romanian, living in the country or abroad, to express their option and that, regardless of the political context, all relevant state institutions – especially the Parliament, Government, Interior Ministry, Foreign Affairs Ministry and Standing Electoral Authority – have the obligation to take all measures to eliminate the causes that led to the hampering of the voting process.
“These measures must aim at all types of elections – the election of the Romanian President, the election of the local public administration authorities, the election of the House and Senate, the election of the Romanian members of the European Parliament, and also all types of referendum –, with the possibility of drafting in the near future an Electoral Code that would unify and homogenise the legal provisions that concern these electoral processes,” the President said.
He recalled that immediately after the incidents registered on May 26 he announced the setting up of a working group at the level of the Presidential Administration, adding that, by proving special civic spirit, Romanians in the country and abroad conveyed their proposals for the improving of the voting conditions and that the necessary measures that must be urgently adopted to make sure all citizens can exercise their right to vote in decent conditions have been identified following a consistent dialogue with the representatives of the responsible authorities, with NGOs and experts in the electoral field.
“Today, I have sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Romania and the Speakers of the two Chambers, presenting in detail the solutions identified by the working group of the Presidential Administration, solutions that must be rapidly introduced in the electoral legislation. These measures seek: to eliminate red tape from the voting process in polling stations abroad; the proper equipping of polling stations; to amend the electoral legislation in what concerns the procedures that must be followed when the polling stations close; to hike the number of polling stations abroad; to introduce early voting when electing the Romanian President; to extend the exercise of the right to vote by mail – which already exists for parliamentary elections – to presidential elections and all the other types of elections. I warn Romanian state authorities that they have the obligation and responsibility to enact all these measures, to make sure that all Romanian citizens, in the country and abroad, will be able to freely exercise their right to vote,” President Iohannis stated.