Second Romanian Foreign Minister Resigns Over Vote Scandal
"I take full responsibility for what happened and will present my resignation in today's government meeting," Teodor Melescanu said on Tuesday.
Melescanu said he had decided to step down as Foreign Minister because of the anger felt over the long queues and chaotic scenes seen at embassies abroad, where Romanians tried to cast ballots at the second round of presidential elections on November 16.
A total of 378,811 Romanians voted abroad that day, more than double the number registered in the first round held two weeks earlier.
However, thousands were not able to cast their votes, even after queuing for hours at polling stations in embassies and consulates. In Paris, London and Turin, frustrated would-be voters clashed with local police.
Currently, voters must cast their votes on printed ballots, which are then marked with an official stamp. But the process is slow, restricting the speed of the voting.
The previous Foreign Minister, Titus Corlatean, resigned for the same reason on November 10.
He quit after tens of thousands of people protested in cities across the country in support of Romanians living abroad who were not able to vote in the first round of presidential elections.
Klaus Iohannis, 55, head of the opposition National Liberal Party, PNL, and a member of Romania's small ethnic German community, won a surprise victory in the presidential elections on Sunday, taking around 54.6 per cent of the vote.
Romania has a large diaspora. Over two million Romanians live or work abroad, mainly in Italy, Spain, Germany and France. Although only a fraction vote in elections, they have the power to influence the outcome.