European elections - Around 19 million voters are summoned to the polls today to elect Romania’s representatives in the new European Parliament. 13 political parties are taking part in the race. Adding to these are 3 independent candidates. Romania will have 33 members in the new European Parliament makeup, but according to a European Council decision, one of these seats will only be assigned to Romania after Brexit has taken effect. The Romanians living abroad can cast their vote in 441 polling stations, most of them in Italy and Spain, each of them home to around 1 million Romanians, and in the Republic of Moldova, a country with mostly Romanian-speaking population. According to the Central Election Bureau, the voter turnout rate in the country 9 hours since the start of the vote was 31.29%. In the capital Bucharest, 33.89% of the citizens have voted by 4 p.m. Also by 6 p.m., some 180,527 Romanians in the Diaspora went to the polls. At many of the polling stations abroad huge queues have formed since the opening of the vote, such being the case in Turin, London, Paris, Marseilles, Rome, Vienna and Brussels. At national level, around 50 possible offenses or crimes related to the election process have been signaled, according to the Romanian Interior Ministry, but no major incidents have been reported. Citizens of another 20 EU countries are also going to the polls today. The citizens of Britain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Slovakia, Latvia and Malta have already voted for the European Parliament.
Referendum - Concurrently with the European election today, Romania also holds a referendum on the judiciary, initiated by President Klaus Iohannis. Voters receive three ballot papers – one for the European election, and two for the questions in the referendum. Romanians must answer with “YES” or “NO” to the following questions: "Do you support a ban on amnesty and pardon in cases related to corruption?" and "Do you support the ban on the adoption by the government of emergency ordinances in the field of crimes, punishments and judicial organisation and the extension of the right to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court?" By 4 p.m. some 25.9% of Romanians cast their vote across the country, according to the Central Election Bureau. By 4 p.m. the voter turnout rate in the capital Bucharest was 28.76% while 178,111 Romanians cast their vote in the Diaspora. The referendum will only be valid if at least 30% of those enrolled on the electoral register turn up at polling stations.
(Translated by Elena Enache)