Foreign Minister Ramona Manescu has sent a letter to the leaders of political parties in Romania saying that the human resources locally available abroad are limited for the November election of Romania’s president, calling on the parties for help with conducting the voting process abroad under the best circumstances.
The letter signed by the minister was sent to the national leaders of the National Liberal Party (PNL), the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Pro Romania, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), the People’s Movement Party (PMP) and the Save Romania Union (USR).
Manescu emphasises the importance of the presence of the members of the bureaus at the polling stations in all the three days allocated to the election abroad.
“Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has mobilised all its staff from the diplomatic missions and consular offices and representations of the Romanian Cultural Institute, the human resources locally available are scarce, which is why I am counting on your support and involvement to help organise the voting process abroad under the best circumstances. If we have to supplement the human resources locally available, each person dispatched from the country will provide additional funds to the budget allocated for organising and conducting the presidential election abroad by an amount of approximately 1,500 euros (average) per each round of the election. Thus, the budget estimated at this moment for conducting the voting process abroad is 122 million lei, the equivalent of 25 million euros,” writes the minister.
According to her, the current plan for managing the vote abroad is also influenced by the experience of previous elections.
“The diplomatic missions and consular offices have organised multiple consultations with representatives of the Romanian communities outside the country, with members of the Romanian civic associations and political parties in Spain, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Austria, Greece and Luxembourg. There were also meetings at the level of the MAE with political party leaders. I have invited the group leaders of the parliamentary parties for consultations, informing them about the latest developments in organising the elections abroad,” she says.
The minister adds that there are currently 714 polling stations approved abroad, but the list is not final. “I am expecting the total number of polling stations to be sent to the Permanent Electoral Authority on October 19 will exceed 800, almost double the stations set up for the May 2019 elections to the European Parliament and almost three times more than in the 2014 presidential election,” she says.
At the same time, according to Manescu, “the improvements made in the electoral legislation, especially the possibility to vote for three days, the extension of time for exercising the right to vote under certain circumstances to 23:59hrs, as well as the postal vote, will facilitate the electoral process.”
She adds that the organisation of presidential election abroad involves several institutions: the Permanent Electoral Authority, the Electoral Office for the Polling Stations Abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Central Electoral Bureau, the Special Telecommunications Service and the Romanian Post.
“It is important to keep in mind that the duties of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are well defined by the legal provisions in force, namely: the conduct of the communication campaign with the Permanent Electoral Authority and the establishment of polling stations abroad,” says Manescu.
The election of the President of Romania abroad will take place for three days for each round, that is November 8, 9 and 10 for the first round, and November 22, 23 and 24 for the second round. Also, Romanians abroad who have registered online can also vote by mail. According to the official portal www.votstrainatate.ro, 43,003 Romanians settled in another country have chosen the postal voting option chose this variant.