The special parliamentary committee in charge of changing electoral legislation has established new provisions which are to be voted in Parliament next week
In Bucharest, Parliament's special joint committee in charge of drafting, amending and completing the election laws has endorsed the bill modifying the electoral legislation in the run-up to the presidential elections due this fall. Bringing such corrections became a must following the situation created on May 26, similar to the one back in 2014, when the previous presidential elections were held, when thousands of Romanians queued for hours in front of the polling stations set up abroad, and some of them didn't even manage to cast their votes.
According to the new provisions, Romanians living abroad will have three days to vote: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and a member of the polling station staff will count the number of people still standing in line at 9 p.m., which is the official closing time, both inside and outside the station. These people will be allowed to stay and try to vote until midnight. Moreover, legislative solutions were introduced, meant to render the election process less bureaucratic. One such solution is the automatic generation, in electronic format, of additional lists and the possibility of electronic signature exclusively for the Romanians voting on additional lists abroad. The special committee has also endorsed the introduction of postal voting also for presidential elections, as well as early elections, and the dates of these elections are to be announced by the Government 75 days before the vote.
Laura Scantei, representing the main opposition party in Romania, the National Liberal Party, has called on the Government to carry out an information campaign for the Romanians who are living abroad, for them to become aware of the changes brought to the electoral legislation:
"In our opinion, it's very important for the Government and all the other authorities involved to carry out an information campaign on all these changes, before this autumn's election, because all Romanian citizens should know their rights."
The representative of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, Senator Dorin Badulescu, who headed the special committee, has stated that the changes have improved the electoral legislation:
"Working in this committee has been an example of good collaboration between all the political parties represented in the Romanian Parliament and also with the Government representatives, more specifically the Interior Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Permanent Electoral Authority and the Ministry of Romanians Abroad. I am sorry that the Presidency did not take part in the discussions, although invited, but I think that the bill is a very good one."
Romania's President Klaus Iohannis, one of those who harshly criticized the way in which the elections were organized for the Romanians in the Diaspora, has recently presented the proposals for improving the election legislation, drawn up by a Presidential Administration working group and submitted to the Romanian Government through a letter.