Incumbent mayor of district 1 of the Capital City Bucharest Dan Tudorache on Thursday announced that he will ask the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) to repeat local elections in district 1, on the grounds of fraud, claiming that a bag of votes was removed from the room where it was stored at the Electoral Bureau, which is not allowed.
Tudorache accused that representatives of USR PLUS (Save Romania Union – Freedom, Unity, Solidarity Party) entered the BES headquarters “at night, like thieves.”
“The whole building of the Electoral Bureau of District 1 is full of cameras. However, the only one that actually works is where the bags are stored. All the other cameras were covered with paper. By whose order? Why? Don’t we want everything to be transparent? So, from that room, the only place that was actually monitored, the bags were taken out, which was not allowed, regardless of whether they were taken out during daytime or nighttime. So, as long as that bag was taken out of that room, the only monitored room, I say it’s election fraud. (…) What re-count? This is a joke. (…) The election must be repeated because that bag left the room and it shouldn’t have. What was left to count again now? How do I know what they did outside when my representative knew nothing about this procedure?,” said Tudorache, at the headquarters of the Electoral Bureau of District 1.
He said on Wednesday after the BEC had rejected his request to cancel the elections in this administrative area, that he was waiting for the decision of the Electoral Bureau of District 1 on his request to have the votes counted again.
Later on Wednesday evening a private TV station broadcast images in which several people would handle the sacks with ballots in a room of the Electoral Bureau of District 1.
In retort to the PSD’s accusations, the Bucharest Gendarmerie explained that the access to the Electoral Bureau of District 1 (BES 1) room where the electoral materials are stored is allowed only with the approval of the BES president, and the precinct is guarded after sealing.
“The room where the electoral materials are stored was only unsealed at the request of the president of the electoral bureau, with the gendarme on duty there always drawing up a report on handing over the room. We specify that access to that room is allowed only with the president’s consent. The activities carried out inside the room do not fall within the competence of our institution as long as the authorized persons carry out activities related to the electoral process,” mentioned the Gendarmerie.
In her turn, the new mayor-elect of the district 1 of Bucharest, Clotilde Armand, stated that “this manipulation” orchestrated by PSD (Social Democratic Party) is meant to “intimidate” the president of BES 1.
She stated that the person looking for and handling that bag is part of the technical staff of BES 1 and that mathematics won in district 1.
Armand explained that the footage also feature the president of BES 1, prosecutor Sprîncu Nicolae, who decided to count the signatures of the voters on the permanent electoral lists, including the additional ones, in order to see if their number corresponds to the number of signatures of the voters written in the electoral minute.
“BES 1 President invited us, by the law, to accompany him, in our capacity of candidates-observers, to prove that the process is transparent and that there are no frauds in handling the bags of votes. BES 1 was full at that hour. We are talking of Monday, September 28, less over midnight. That night BES 1 was closed at 02:00hrs and we left along with the BES 1 members who were in the building”, Clotilde Armand said.
She further added that the one who is handling that bag and looking for votes is a member of the technical staff of BES 1. “The prosecutor was the one who asked that man to look for the bags of a certain polling station, a certain Dan, Daniel Tudorache’s driver, employed at the District 1 direction of child protection during the activity of BES 1, as member of technical staff”.
BES 1 has also intervened in the row of bags of votes in a room of BES, used by PSD to ask for the votes recounting. The District 1 Electoral Bureau says that no bag of votes has left the secure room and that the footage “has been distorted in the view of misleading the audience”.
Criminal case opened
Prosecutors from the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the District 1 Court have opened two criminal cases, following the scandal regarding the conduct of local elections in district 1 of the Capital City Bucharest.
“Two criminal cases were registered with the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Bucharest District 1 Court in connection with the unfolding of the local elections in district 1 of Bucharest. The first criminal case was registered on 28.09.2020, following a call to the emergency service 112 and it refers to the crime of forging electoral documents and records, as stipulated by article 391 of the Criminal Code. The second criminal case was registered on 01.10.2020, based on the ex officio notification of the criminal investigation bodies, as a result of the appearance in the public space of some video recordings and it refers to an attempt to forge electoral documents and records, as stipulated by article 32 corroborated with article 391 of the Criminal Code,” says a press release of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the District Court 1.