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October 31, 2020
JUSTICE POLITICS

UPDATE Scandal related to alleged electoral fraud in the Bucharest local elections deepens. Vela: 23 persons to be heard over District 1 situation

Prosecutors open criminal file after the appearance of video recordings with unauthorized persons handling bags of ballots in a room of BES1

The police and prosecutors from the Prosecutor’s Office of the District 1 Court made checks and decided to open a criminal case, after images broadcast by a TV station Wednesday evening in which persons believed to be  USR PLUS members handle bags with ballots in a room of the Electoral Bureau of District 1.

The police and prosecutors from the Prosecutor’s Office of the District 1 Court made checks and decided to open a criminal case, after images broadcast by a TV station Wednesday evening in which persons believed to be  USR PLUS members handle bags with ballots in a room of the Electoral Bureau of District 1.

 According to a press release issued by the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the District 1 Court, the prosecutors of this unit opened, following the September 27 election, two criminal cases regarding crimes related to the electoral process.

The first case was registered on Monday, September 28, following a call to 112 alleging the crime of falsifying electoral documents and records.

“The second criminal case was registered on 1.10.2020, based on the ex officio notification of the criminal investigation bodies, as a result of the appearance in public space of some video recordings and has as object the attempt to the crime of falsification of the electoral documents and records, provided by article 32 rap to article 391 of the Criminal Code ”, specify the prosecutors of the Prosecutor’s Office of the District 1 Court.

In both cases, investigations are being carried out in rem, these being at the time of the administration of the evidence. Prosecutors say this is being done “as quickly as possible” by Sector 1 police officers, under the supervision of prosecutors.

Gendarmerie: Access to BES1 room where the electoral materials are stored, allowed by BES head

Following the images broadcast on a television station on Wednesday evening in which several people showing several people who were entering the BES headquarters and handling the bags with ballots in a room of the Electoral Bureau of District 1, the Capital City’s Gendarmerie made clarifications : “Access to the Electoral Bureau of District 1 (BES 1) room where the electoral materials are stored is allowed only with the approval of the BES president, and the precinct is guarded after sealing”, a press release of the Bucharest’s Gendarmes Directorate General, sent to AGERPRES on Thursday.

“The room where the electoral materials are stored was only unsealed at the request of the president of the electoral bureau, with the gendarme on duty there always drawing up a report on handing over the room. We specify that access to that room is allowed only with the president’s consent. The activities carried out inside the room do not fall within the competence of our institution as long as the authorized persons carry out activities related to the electoral process,” mentioned the Gendarmerie.

The incumbent mayor of district 1, Dan Tudorache, wrote on Wednesday evening, on Facebook, that representatives of USR PLUS (Save Romania Union – Freedom, Unity, Solidarity Party) entered the BES headquarters “at night, like thieves.”

The incumbent general mayor of the Capital City, Gabriela Firea, on Wednesday evening wrote on Facebook that USR PLUS members “rummage” in the room at BES where the bags of votes are stored.

The candidate supported by USR PLUS and PNL (National Liberal Party) to become the next mayor of the district 1 of Bucharest, Clotilde Armand, stated that “this manipulation” orchestrated by PSD (Social Democratic Party) is meant to “intimidate” the president of BES 1.

She stated that the person looking for and handling that bag is part of the technical staff of BES 1 and that mathematics won in district 1.

PSD’s Ciolacu, on situation at Sector 1: We will file complaint to General Prosecutor’s Office

The Social democratic Party (PSD) Chairman Marcel Ciolacu announced on Thursday that he will file a complaint with the General Prosecutor’s Office, referring especially to the situation in Sector 1, appreciating that “there are dozens of violations” of the electoral legislation.

“Anyway, it is curious. Where the PNL [National Liberal Party] won, the recount is accepted, where the PSD submits a request, it is not accepted. (…),” Ciolacu declared at the PSD headquarters.

Asked if, procedurally, he will go to a Prosecutor’s Office with a complaint, Ciolacu said: “Definitely we will file a complaint to the General Prosecutor’s Office”.

He mentioned that he has a meeting with representatives of the PSD leadership and with lawyers, in which a series of decisions will be made.

Tudorache says he will ask BEC to repeat local elections in district 1

Incumbent mayor of district 1 of the Capital City Bucharest Dan Tudorache on Thursday announced that he will ask the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) to repeat local elections in district 1, on the grounds of fraud, claiming that a bag of votes was removed from the room where it was stored at the Electoral Bureau, which is not allowed.

“The whole building of the Electoral Bureau of District 1 is full of cameras. However, the only one that actually works is where the bags are stored. All the other cameras were covered with paper. By whose order? Why? Don’t we want everything to be transparent? So, from that room, the only place that was actually monitored, the bags were taken out, which was not allowed, regardless of whether they were taken out during daytime or nighttime. So, as long as that bag was taken out of that room, the only monitored room, I say it’s election fraud. (…) What re-count? This is a joke. (…) The election must be repeated because that bag left the room and it shouldn’t have. What was left to count again now? How do I know what they did outside when my representative knew nothing about this procedure?,” said Tudorache, at the headquarters of the Electoral Bureau of District 1.

He said on Wednesday after the BEC rejected his request to cancel the elections in this administrative area, that he was waiting for the decision of the Electoral Bureau of District 1 on his request to have the votes counted again.

Barna: USR PLUS representatives did not touch the bags with the ballot papers from the Electoral Bureau of District 1

USR PLUS (Save Romania Union – Freedom, Unity, Solidarity Party) co-chair Dan Barna rejected on Thursday the hypothesis that the alliance’s representatives could have intervened in the electoral process, specifying that the images broadcast on Wednesday night show moments that took place on Monday evening, and the representatives of USR PLUS did not touch the bags with the ballot papers from the Electoral Bureau of District 1.

“The mere idea that USR PLUS, which is not part of the local government of district 1, do not have the levers that Mr Tudorache [incumbent mayor of district 1 – editor’s note] has at hand, we do not have staff employed in the respective building and in the institutions involved there, would be able to intervene somehow in the electoral process is clearly a blatant lie. It is very clear, if you look, and I have frame 32 right here, that this is Mr Istrate Daniel, the driver of Mr Tudorache… The entire auxiliary and technical staff of the Electoral Bureau of District 1 is part of this district’s mayoralty office. These are Mr Tudorache’s people. They are the ones who took the bag and took it to the office, at the disposal of the president. In this context, the idea that USR’s observers touched the bags is a blatant lie,” Barna told a press conference at USR PLUS.

BES District 1: Images show the chairman of this electoral bureau accompanied by representatives of USR PLUS who requested to participate in the procedure

According to a release of BES District 1, in the images filmed on the night between Monday and Tuesday there is the chairman of the Electoral Bureau of the Electoral Circumscription of District 1, who, together with the chairman of the polling station, entered the room to retrieve the bag containing voters’ signatures.

“They were accompanied by representatives of USR PLUS [Save Romania Union – Party of Liberty, Unity and Solidarity], who, in accordance with the dispositions of art. 98, paragraph 4, of Law no. 115/2015, requested to participate in the procedure, request admitted by the chairman exactly in order to ensure the transparency of the electoral process,” the BES mentioned.

The person that appears in the images searching through bags is part of the auxiliary technical personnel of BES 1 and works within the District 1 Hall, being designated in this quality in agreement with dispositions of Law no. 115 of 2015, BES states.

“The person that appears in another shot of the film, in a corner of the room and places down a bag, is a member of the Electoral Bureau of the Electoral Circumscription of District 1, and that bag contains the reports from a polling station,” BES 1 added.

Dan Tudorache: PSD District 1 branch lawyer will submit criminal complaint to General Prosecutor

The Mayor of Bucharest’s District 1, Dan Tudorache, stated, on Thursday, for AGERPRES, that the lawyer of the Social Democratic Party’s District 1 branch will file a criminal complaint to the General Prosecutor in the case of the images with ballot bags at the headquarters of the District 1 Electoral Bureau (BES), shown on Wednesday night in the public space.

According to Dan Tudorache, the lawyer justified the complaint by the fact that some persons have entered the hall with ballot bags only with the agreement of the BES chair, without there being a decision of the District 1 Electoral Bureau in this sense.

IntMin Vela: 23 people who signed seven minutes on the elections in Bucharest District 1 will be heard

Interior Minister Marcel Vela announced on Thursday that 23 people who signed seven minutes on the elections in Bucharest District 1 will be heard to establish the correctness of their completion.

“The first event was registered at MAI [Ministry of the Interior] on the basis of a 112 phone call. Thus, the MAI has submitted to the Public Prosecutor’s Office District 1 a file on which two prosecutors work, together with colleagues from the MAI, and of the 473 minutes, seven are being analysed, and 23 persons who have signed those seven minutes, from all parties, will be heard, given that these minutes can be analysed in connection with the correctness of their completion,” said Vela, in a press statement held at the MAI Hqs.

In connection with the images that appeared in the media on Wednesday evening, with people searching through the voting bags of the Electoral Office of the District 1 Electoral District, Vela stated that the MAI has taken ex-officio action and now the prosecutors of the Public Prosecutor’s Office near District 1 Court are carrying out research in this regard, the conclusions will be brought to the attention of the public as soon as possible.

“I confirm that following the analysis and investigations, those present in the warehouse where the ballots are stored are the president of the Electoral Office of District 1, a member of the Electoral Office of District 1, delegate from the PPUSL – the one who stores a bag, the president of polling section No. 141 from District 1, the one that is seen to be picking up a bag, and three observers, candidates from political parties, who oversee the procedure, with the approval of the president of the District Electoral Office District 1,” Vela said.

The Minister of the Interior added that 1,128 events were reported in Sunday’s local elections, 461 of which were unconfirmed, and in 279 cases criminal files were drawn up and sent to the public prosecutor’s office.

Compiled from Agerpres

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