BEC rejects requests to extend voting schedule for Diaspora, despite President Iohannis’, opposition parties’ calls

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The Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) has announced Sunday evening that the schedule of the polling stations abroad are not going to be the extended beyond 21.00h, sources from the institutions said.

The answer came as calls were registered for an extension polling stations schedule abroad, in the vote for European Parliament and for the referendum on justice issues.

The president of the Electoral Bureau for Polling Stations Abroad (BESVS) Florentina Vasiliteanu says she has notified the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) requesting the extension of the programme, following the demands in this regard.

She mentioned that, despite the record number of polling stations abroad – 441, by 251 more than in 2014, there are queues in many places in Europe, mainly in Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany.

We want to tell the Romanians in Diaspora who complain they can’t vote that by 21.00h we will try to get in touch,” Vasiliteanu said.

She mentioned that by 16.00h, Romania time, some 180,000 have turned out to the polling stations, more than at the presidential elections. “There are many people in Chisinau, Rome, Hamburg, Brussels and Lille. We are trying to meet the problems,” she said.

President Klaus Iohannis has sent a message on Sunday to the Romanians standing in line, wanting to vote, urging them to have patience and not to give up their right to vote. He called on the authorities to find solutions so that the Romanian citizens will be able to vote.

Dear Romanians, wherever you may vote, in any city of the world or in any village in Romania, no one has the right to take away the right to vote! Please, do not lose your patience, do not give up your ballot due to an incompetent government, which forces you to stay in line for your constitutional right. Thank you for wanting to have a better Romania! I ask the authorities responsible with the organization to urgently find the solutions that all Romanian get to vote today!” the President wrote on Facebook.

The USR-PLUS Alliance had also requested the extension of the voting programme until 23.00h. “We urge the authorities to adopt urgent measures in order to ensure the fundamental right to vote. The 2020 Alliance says the current situation needs urgent measures!” their representatives say.

FM Melescanu’s version

FM Melescanu claims the queues were prompted by the fact many Romanians had chosen to vote at the polling stations in the area of the embassies and consulates, although the ministry had organised other voting centers as well.

The FM argued that the number of polling stations has doubled compared to 2014 when there were just 215 stations set up abroad, now there are 441 of them.

“One explanation is that Romanians abroad preferred to cast their votes at the polling stations near embassies and consulates, but there were voting centers created in other places, too, so that people could exert their right to vote”, Melescanu said.

He also argued that some Romanians are not registered at the embassies, which means it’s difficult to estimate the precise number of Romanians abroad. The ministry has calibrated the number of polling stations in accordance with the official data reported at the embassies/consulates, he added.

 

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