Run-off election: All eyes set on Diaspora vote

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800,000 ballot papers sent to the polling stations abroad.

Last preparations for the voting process in the polling stations abroad on Sunday are under way, with incidents, discontents and appeals making no exception. Standing firmly by its previous decision not to set up new polling stations in the Diaspora, the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs informed on Wednesday that it had sent 800,000 ballot papers and other necessary logistics for the runoff to all Romanian diplomatic and consular missions abroad. MFA also asked that the presence of all members in the polling stations is mandatory on Sunday so that the voting process should run smoothly. MFA’s appeal comes after the Central Electoral Bureau denied a ministry’s request to replace possible absent members in the electoral commissions with other persons submitted by the ministry.

However, PDL first vice-president, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu said there will be attempts to defraud the vote on November 16 and that a similar disaster like the one of the first round is shaping for the runoff at the Diaspora polling stations, as the authorities based in Romania have done nothing at all. Ungureanu advised Romanians living abroad to go to the polls early in the morning so that “PSD central authorities should not use any pretext to prevent them from casting their votes.”

A similar urge came from the Romanian ambassador to UK, Ioan Jinga who encouraged Romanians in Great Britain to go to polls starting with 7 am “to prevent the afternoon congestion.”

On the other hand, Romanian ambassador to France, Bogdan Mazuru told a RFI interview three days ago that MFA and BEC disposals for the runoff voting are not enough, arguing he has information that about 10,000 Romanian citizens intend to come to vote in the Paris polling stations on Sunday, November 16. Mazuru said there was the maximum number of stamps, voting booths and members in the electoral commissions in the first round of elections, too and that had no effect at all.

Meanwhile, the federation of the Romanian students studying abroad made a new call on the authorities in Bucharest to take immediate action so that the runoff voting should take place free of any incidents on Sunday. At the same time, Romanian students denounced the attempts to politicize their legitimate requests regarding the ballot.

The dispute over the Diaspora vote also got to the Romanian Parliament, at the Diaspora committee of the Chamber of Deputies. The committee had invited Foreign minister Teodor Melescanu and Minister Delegate for Romanians Abroad, Bogdan Stanoevici on Wednesday to talk about the measures taken in the view of the runoff. MPs representing the opposition parties in the committee staged a protest after Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea ruled the committee’s meeting is not statutory, on the ground that all deputies are in the field today, in their constituencies. The media’s access was also banned for this meeting.

Forum enabling Romanians abroad to go to the polls faster and cheaper

A Romanian living in Germany came up with an interesting idea to help other conationals established abroad to arrive at the closest polling station in their residence country as soon as possible and with the cheapest costs. Precisely, he created an online platform where Romanians who want to vote on Sunday can get in touch and agree on sharing the transportation costs to go to the nearest polling station. The forum mainly targets Romanians abroad who are not living in the European capitals or big cities and who have to travel long distances to get to a polling station. Those interested need an username and a password, but offers can be checked out without logging in. More destinations have already been opened in Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Germany, Norway, Portugal and USA. Registrations at  http://voteaza.forumprofi.de/.

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