Romanians living abroad have been queuing for hours to cast their vote and the referendum for justice. Thousands of them faced issues on the digital voting system or the bad weather in some European cities. The longer queues were in Italy, Germany, UK, France, Spain and Belgium.
In the end, after polling stations closed in the countries abroad with large Romanian communities, thousands of them had been left out, had not manage to cast their vote after all amid general anger.
In London, in The Hague, in some cities in Spain, thousands of Romanians who had been waiting in line for more than 5 or 7 hours didn’t succeed to vote. Furious voters tried to force the entrances of the polling stations, with local police being called on scene. Some reported to have been taken to the police vans.
The same as in 2014 during the presidential elections, voting incidents have been reported in almost all European cities where large communities of Romanians are residing. They have been queuing for hours, more than 5 hours to get to the polling station and vote, while complaining about the poor organisation. People were booing the Romanian authorities, chanting “We want to vote!”. They complained of scarce polling stations, and in some areas insufficient voting ballots and voting stamps have been reported.
Queues were reported in London, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Milan, Turin, Stratford, Eindhoven, Koln, Vicenza, Copenhagen, Dublin, Vienna, Madrid, Zurich, Prague, Aarhus, Graz, Nurenberg, Barcelona, Bochum, Valencia, New York, Marseilles, Lyon, Ulm, Lutton, Limassol, Bristol, Munich, Stuttgart, Oslo, Lille, The Hague,Wurzburg, Castellon, Luxembourg, etc
In Amsterdam, around 2,000 people were waiting in line to vote, they claimed that there were just three voting staps in the polling station and that the voting is extremely slow, with around 60 people voting per hour.
Problems were also reported in UK, with Romanians in Birmingham waiting in a 1.5km line even for 4 or 5 hours to enter polling stations.
Romanian voters in Peterborough, reclaimed that consular authorities are deliberately slowing down the voting procedure, as they use only one tablet out of three to check the voters’ identity.
Ballot papers were reported to be out in Anwerpen, Belgium, in a voting section in Madrid and in Zaragoza, Spain, but also in Prato, Italy.
In Padova, Italy, the line of the Romanian voters was stretching including in the parking near the polling station, patiently waiting to cast their vote. Some of them were carrying their babies in their arms.
In Brussels as well, it was a similar situation, and even at 7:00 a.m., as Romanians did not find room in the courtyard of the polling station and they had to “occupy” the sidewalk nearby.
In Rome, Romanians faced the rain, waiting in front of the Romanian Embassy to cast their vote.
In Stuttgart, around 2,000 were waiting in line, while in Munich there were 200 people waiting in line as of 07:00 a.m. People have been waiting to vote for more than 4 hours. Local policemen have been deployed on scene, while Romanians have chanted “Thieves! Thieves” for minutes. In Italian owning a restaurant in the area rushed to help Romanians, allowing them to get some rest inside the restaurant. People decided to allow parents with children to go first to vote, forming a separate line.
From all over the world, Romanians posted photos and videos with the queues and shared them on the social media.
The first polling stations abroad for the elections and referendum in Romania were opened in New Zealand, on Saturday, at 10 p.m. (Romania’s hour- 7 a.m. Sunday, the local hour).
Romania has 33 seats allotted in the European Parliament out of the total of 751.
Incidents reported in Castellon and Valencia, Spain. PNL to file criminal complaint against FM Melescanu for not increasing the number of polling stations
First incidents have been reported in Diaspora in Castellon, where one of the largest communities of Romanians live. Hundreds of Romanian voters in Castellon started to protest, angry that they had to stay in line for hours to cast their votes.
Photos and videos posted on Facebook featured people starting to chant “Thieves”, “Shame on you”, while booing, upset with the long waiting time.
“Again, Diaspora is humiliated by the red plague! We are over 800 people in line and the queue is getting bigger minute by minute. After waiting 2-3 hours to enter the polling station, they are forced to get out of the line to go back to work, especially the truck drivers!#Diaspora does not give up and will Vote!”, reads a message by a Romanian settled in Spain.
Another Romanian woman also posted: “In Castellon, where there is the largest community of Romanians from Spain, they are chanting #thieves. People are very upset for the line is slowly advancing and there are a lot of people who want to vote, while authorities refuse to supplement the voting stamps”.
The National Liberal Party announced it would file criminal complaint against the Romanian FM Teodor Melescanu for refusing to supplement the polling stations abroad, accusing him that he had thus wanted to prevent Romanians abroad from voting.
“We decided to file a criminal complaint against FM Teodor Melescanu and against all those who were involved in organising the vote abroad. It’s revolting that our brothers in Diaspora are humiliated. It’s revolting that, after everything that happened in 2014, the Government and the Foreign Ministry has again premeditated the action to prevent Romanians from Diaspora from exerting their right to vote”, said PNL Chairman, Ludovic Orban.
Several Romanians living in Valencia reported to “Romania Journal” that there was a wrong address of one polling station in the city posted on the website of the Romanian Consulate in Castellon. The consulate posted that one station was at 4.6 Calle del Doctor Marañon, Valencia, but there was no polling station there. The correct address was 7 Carrer de Francesc Tàrrega, Valencia, and it can be checked here.
Romanians standing in line to vote at the polling station in Carrer de Frances Tarrega, Valencia. Videos provided by Adrian Butu in Valencia.
And booing after waiting in line for more than 4 hours.
In Bochum, the sixth largest city of the most populous German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Romanians were also queuing in front of the polling stations, chanting “We want to vote!”.
People have been waiting for more than 5 hours to vote in Bochum, stores nearby have run out of merchandise and around 6 p.m. he Red Cross’ local branch have come to supply the Romanians voters with stocks of water.