The electoral campaign for this year’s parliamentary elections kicks off on Friday and will end on December 5, at 7:00 hrs.
Abroad, the parliamentary elections will take place on December 5 and 6, and in Romania on December 6, between 7:00 and 21:00 hrs.
As in the case of the local elections, the electoral campaign for the parliamentary elections is carried out with special measures, imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Thus, in the case of events/meetings held indoors, the number of participants was limited at a maximum of 20, and in the case of those taking place outdoors – at a maximum of 50. As regards the actions carried out on the street, it was deemed appropriate to limit the number of people moving in a group or forming a group to a maximum of 6, and in the case of door-to-door actions, the number of people who make up the teams was limited to a maximum of 2.
A joint order of the Ministers of Health and of the Interior established public health measures to be observed for the safe conduct of events, rallies, actions related to the electoral campaign for this year’s parliamentary elections.
According to the Permanent Electoral Authority, the total number of citizens with the right to vote registered in the Electoral Register on October 31 is 18,981,242, by 2,012 fewer than the last information, made at the end of September.
Abroad, a total number of 39,238 Romanians from the diaspora submitted applications for registration for the vote by mail in the parliamentary elections.
Most requests came from Romanians in the United Kingdom – 9,224, Germany – 5,772, Italy – 3,378, Spain – 3,338, France – 2,769.
Over 1,000 applications were submitted by Romanians from Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, USA, Ireland.
At the same time, 3,939 Romanians from abroad registered to vote in the parliamentary elections at a polling station.
AEP: Candidates must observe health protection measures, physical distance
The Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) draws the attention of the candidates in the parliamentary elections that, during the electoral campaign that starts on Friday, they must observe the health protection rules, and provided them with a video showing how to correctly wear the protective mask, which is mandatory, that they need to maintain the physical distance of at least one metre between the participants in the electoral events, and that the number of those who are present at such events must be limited.
“For the safe conduct of events/meetings/actions related to the election campaign in the parliamentary elections, the candidates will have to observe the health protection measures and physical distance imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, they will also have to observe the rules regarding the financing of the activity of the political parties and election campaigns,” the AEP said in a statement on Thursday.
According to an AEP information video, the measures to be observed in the election campaign are: wearing the protective mask, which is mandatory, in a correct way, so as to cover the nose and mouth, disinfecting the hands, maintaining a physical distance of at least one metre between the participants in electoral events.
Also, the number of participants in the electoral events held indoors should be limited to a maximum of 20, and the duration should be a maximum of 2 hours, and in the case of outdoor events, the number of participants should be a maximum of 50.
For actions carried out in the street, the number of persons is limited to a maximum of 6, and to a maximum of 2 in the case of “door to door” actions.
“The observance of the application of the measures is monitored by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and non-compliance with the provisions is sanctioned according to Law No. 55/2020 on some measures to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the video also shows.
Nearly 70,000 ballot papers printed for voting by mail
The Standing Electoral Authority (AEP) has informed that for the exercise of the right to vote by mail in the general election of December 6, 71,016 ballot papers are printed for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, and on Tuesday it sent out approximately 6,000 envelopes with the necessary documents to Romanian nationals residing abroad registered for this option.
“For the exercise of the right to vote by mail, 35,508 ballots were printed for the Senate and 35,508 ballots for the Chamber of Deputies. On November 3, 2020, the Romanian Post Company sent 5,742 envelopes out of the 35,808 envelopes containing the documents. They were sent to 37 countries, including Germany, Bulgaria, Moldova, as well as remote areas such as Haiti, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and Myanmar,” EPA said in a press statement released on Thursday.
According to AEP, the envelope contains a voter certificate, a sticker for sealing the outer envelope, a sticker with the address of the polling station for postal voting, a sticker with the words “PRIORITY / PRIORITAIRE”, a bar code with the identification of the voter, instructions on how to exercise the right to vote, a ballot paper for the vote by mail in the election to the Senate, paper for the vote by mail in the election to, an inner envelope containing a support envelope containing two stickers marked “VOTED” and a sticker for sealing the inner envelope.
“On November 4, 2020, the Standing Electoral Authority sent out by e-mail notifications regarding the sending of election materials and air waybills (AWBs) of November 3, 2020, to 5,892 people who chose to vote by mail from Germany, Bulgaria and Moldova by EMS (Express Mail Service); to voters in the following countries the documents were sent by AR service (international postal parcels with acknowledgment of receipt “AR”): Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Benin, Bermuda, Cambodia, Chile, Cape Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Philippines, Gibraltar, Guernsey and Alderney, French Guiana, Haiti, Indonesia, Cayman Islands, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Macao China, Malaysia, Martinique, Monaco, Myanmar, Oman, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Trinidad ad and Tobago.”
The instructions regarding the exercise of the right to vote by mail in the 2020 election to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies can be found both inside the envelope and on the website www.votstrainatate.ro, according to AEP.
AEP points out that, according to the legislation in force, the outer envelope containing the ballot papers and the voter certificate must reach the polling station, the diplomatic mission or the consular post, as the case may be, by December 3, 2020.
“Given the international context generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the reduced frequency of dispatches, for better information on the times for the envelope to be returned to Romania / diplomatic or consular representation, please consult the websites of the national postal administrations in the country where you are located or request such information directly from a post office.”
The list of postal companies from around the world is available on https://www.upu.int/en/Universal-Postal-Union/About-UPU/Member-Countries.
A list of countries that have temporarily suspended mail and parcel collection and distribution is available on https://www.posta-romana.ro/a1309/stiri/lista-tarilor-cu -trafic post-restrictionat.html.
Questions, notifications or complaints can be sent to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over 7000 candidates, more than in 2016
The number of candidates in the 2020 general election has risen to 7,136, as against 6,476 in the 2016 election, according to a report released on Thursday by Expert Forum.
According to a map of the candidates in the 2020 general election made by the organisation, most of those registered in the electoral race come from the People’s Movement Party (PMP), 641; the National Liberal Party (PNL), 640; Pro Romania, 639, and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), 631. The Save Romania Union – Party of Freedom, Unity and Solidarity (USR PLUS) alliance, the only alliance in this election, filed 616 candidates.
The Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) has 621 candidates. “One candidate less is what the Romanian Ecology Party has filed, which in the weeks before the election attracted several famous but controversial figures from other parties,” reads the Expert Forum report quoted by Agerpres.
Of the 7,136 candidates, 4,659 are candidates are competing for a seat in the Chamber of Deputies and 2,477 for a seat in the Senate. As many as 57 candidates represent national minority organisations vying for a seat in the Chamber of Deputies.
There are 42 independent candidates running for the Chamber of Deputies and one for the Senate.
As many as 1,147 lists of candidates have been submitted to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
Running for four MP seats representing the overseas constituency are 47 candidates, and 29 are competing for the two senatorial seats places in the same constituency.
“The number of candidates has increased from 6,476 in 2016 to 7,136. Although most of them are nominated by parties such as PSD, PNL or PMP, there is a visible competition from some parties that did not have parliamentary representation in the last legislature, such as AUR and PER. The biggest competition is in Braila County in the races to the Chamber of Deputies, with 19.8 candidates per seat, and the lowest in Buzau County, 9 per seat. Most intense Senate races are also in Braila, with 27.5 candidates for one seat, while the weakest being is in the county of in Prahova, 11.8 per seat,” according to the Expert Forum report.
AEP President: From my point of view, the election can be held under safe conditions
President of the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) Florin Constantin Mituletu-Buica said that the upcoming parliamentary election can be held under safe conditions, as physical and sanitary safety rules have been established for candidates and citizens to comply with during the campaign.
“From my point of view, the election can be held under safe conditions. The physical and sanitary safety rules for the campaign, the rules for the electoral meetings have been established. Just like at the local elections, we will lay out in the next period the procedures for the voting day, so that the state of alert measures are observed in the midst of the pandemic. As the election campaign kicks off, we, the authorities, call on all the candidates and citizens to comply with the physical distancing and health protection measures established by the authorities, so that all electoral meetings are safe for both the electoral competitors and the attendance and the number of Covid-19 infections does not rise after this electoral process,” Mituletu-Buica told AGERPRES.
He mentioned that, with all the rules for the election campaign set in place by joint order of the Ministry of the Interior and the Health Ministry and with AEP’s approval, it all depends on the participants in the electoral process to keep things safe.
“All the citizens, whether participants in the campaign or those who get in contact with them, must comply with the protection, physical distancing rules provided for during this period and the Authority will continuously promote these safety practices, including with regard to the number of participants in the campaign (…) so as to prevent the spread of this virus,” said the AEP head.
Regarding the overseas electoral process, the AEP president said that there is hope that as many polling stations as possible will be opened.
“The discussions we have with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs give us hope that as many polling stations as possible will be opened, in a number approximately equal to the 835 we had for the presidential election; we are waiting for the host states to approve the requests forwarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for AEP to be able to establish by decision the creation of polling stations and the procedures to follow there,” Mituletu-Buica also said.
He assesses the number of almost 40,000 Romanians who registered for mail-in vote as “unsatisfactory” compared to the 740,000 Romanian citizens residing abroad, and encouraged the voters to turn out to the polls.
“As always in recent times, the local elections have shown an increased interest of the citizens in casting their ballot. The turnout at the local elections was satisfactory, taking into account the COVID-9 pandemic and as always, I encourage the citizens to come to the polls in high numbers for an as best as possible representation of the elected MPs, because representativity is also given by a high turnout. (…) Let’s hope that close to the voting day the numbers of Covid-positives will be on a descending trend for us to be certain that the December 6 electoral process unfolds under safe conditions for everyone,” Mituletu-Buica concluded.