President asks for immediate measures to eliminate the voting problems that occurred in the elections for the EP
It happened in the presidential elections of 2014, and once again, at a much larger scale, in the May 26 elections for the European Parliament: tens of thousands of people queued for hours in polling stations abroad in order to exercise their constitutional right to vote, and many of them didn’t even get to cast their ballots.
“The humiliation experienced by Romanian citizens in the May 26 vote must never happen again,” President Klaus Iohannis warned. According to him, Parliament, the Government, the Interior and the Foreign Ministries and the Permanent Electoral Authority must take all measures to eliminate the factors found to have contributed to this problem. Such measures, the head of state insisted, must cover all types of elections and referendums.
A task force set up within the Presidency following the incidents reported on May 26 has listened to the opinions of citizens living abroad, of the relevant authorities, of NGOs and election experts, and together they have identified the measures that should be taken so that all citizens may vote in decent conditions.
Klaus Iohannis: “These measures are aimed at eliminating red tape in the voting process in polling stations abroad, at properly equipping polling stations, at amending the election laws with respect to the procedures to be followed in closing polling stations, at increasing the number of polling stations outside Romania, at introducing early voting in the presidential election, in extending the option of mail voting, which is already in place for parliamentary elections, but should also be available for the presidential and other types of elections.”
Directly targeted by accusations of flawed organisation of the voting process in the diaspora during the EP elections, the Social Democratic Party in power says that tackling what went wrong in these elections was already a matter of interest to the Social Democrats, even without the President’s request. The Social Democratic Party spokesman, Mihai Fifor, explained:
Mihai Fifor: “The Permanent Electoral Authority has already announced that next week they will present the Cabinet with a draft emergency order on mail voting and extended early voting. As far as we know, the Permanent Electoral Authority suggests extended early voting by up to 7 days for those who will vote by mail. A lot of aspects are being analysed as we speak. What we are certain of is that we intend to address what went wrong on May 26.”
The ruling coalition made up of the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats also considers setting up a parliamentary inquiry commission to look into the EP elections, amid allegations of vote rigging by means of supplemental voter lists. The right-wing opposition dismisses these suspicions as ridiculous, given that ballot stuffing is impossible once the voter ID is electronically recorded.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)