Amended election legislation aimed at hopefully eliminating the issues that hindered the election process in the Diaspora, got passed by the Senate
The Romanian Senate has convened in
an extraordinary session to pass amendments to the Election Code, unanimously
considered an emergency issue following the row caused by the huge queues at
polling stations abroad, where many Romanians had to wait for hours to be able
to cast their ballot in the latest European Parliament elections.
In fact, the elections in May this
year were considered a reiteration of the organizational fiasco of the 2014
presidential voting abroad, when a significant number of Romanians from the
Diaspora, was even unable to vote, a situation, which sparked off protests in
front of the polling stations.
The Social Democrats (PSD), number
one in the coalition government, have attracted a lot of criticism for their
failure to stage civilized elections. Under the pressure exerted by the public
opinion, the presidency and the opposition, a draft on amending the election
code, designed to eliminate dysfunctions that might appear during the election
process, has been debated upon and approved by the Senate.
Amendments include an extended
election period for the Romanians abroad as well as the introduction of postal
voting at the presidential elections in autumn. Senator Calin Popescu
Tariceanu, leader of ALDE, the second political force in the government
coalition, has shared with us the main amendments regulating the election
Calin Popescu Tariceanu: "We
are going to have a prolonged early voting session on three days: Friday,
Saturday and Sunday. Polling stations are going to remain open on Sunday until
24 hours and we are also going to have the postal voting, which wasn't
available in the presidential election, but only in the Parliament elections."
According to opposition Liberal
senator Laura Scantei, the aforementioned amendments are going to prevent
dysfunctions in the future elections involving the Romanians abroad.
Laura Scantei: "This draft on
amending several election laws is focusing on concrete measures, aimed not only
at ensuring people's fundamental right to vote, but also at preventing
administrative hindrances to exercising this right. It is very important that
all Romanian citizens in the Diaspora have been given voting alternatives,
starting with the three-days early voting and the postal voting."
On the other hand, the Liberals
have called on the executive to mount an information campaign for the Romanians
abroad, briefing them on the latest amendments to the Election Code. The
Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) refused to endorse the
amendments as they consider unfair for the voting to continue after 21 hours on
Sunday as the Romanians abroad have been given three days to vote. The
legislative amendments endorsed by the Senate have been submitted to the
decision-making Chamber of Deputies for the final decision.
(translated by bill)