Foreign Ministry report on May 26 out-of-country vote: Coordinated actions to bus in voters in high numbers

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) states in a report to the Premier on the May 26 out-of-country vote that there have been coordinated actions at the polling stations abroad to turn out a large number of citizens. "There have been coordinated actions of bussing in to vote a large number of citizens with 5-6 coaches or cars, which automatically put major pressure on the polling stations or influenced the voters' decision. To a great extent, these groups remained in the area of the polling stations even after having cast ballots and sparked incidents until the intervention of law enforcement that ensured the closing of the polling station," the Foreign Ministry said in the report. Under these circumstances, the Ministry notes, the ambassadors to the countries where voting in the two simultaneous electoral processes on May 26 encountered difficulties were called for consultations to identify the causes and each diplomat's responsibilities, as well as for proposals to modify the voting system in out-of-country stations. The Foreign Ministry considers that under the current law, "despite the significant increase in the number of polling stations, it has been proven that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had exhausted its resources in ensuring the logistics for out-of-country voting - locations, human and financial resources." The Ministry explains having fulfilled for these ballot casting processes "all its legal obligations arising from the law requirements regarding the organization and unfolding of the vote abroad." The Ministry also reported having sent "a new circular note to all embassies, cautioning that they need to make a special effort for an as efficient as possible activity and asking the heads of the diplomatic and consular missions to mobilize all resources for the May 26 voting process to unfold under the best conditions." MAE points out that as elections to the EP were held simultaneously with the referendum on justice, the voting time increased to 7 minutes. Another element that hampered the voting process, the report states, was the organization and functioning of the polling station commissions. "Regrettably, with only few exceptions, the political parties didn't show interest in appointing representatives in the polling station commissions, and gave up participation in these commissions 1 or 2 days before the event," the Ministry mentions. Another reason invoked by the Ministry as having rendered the process difficult was the voter turnout monitoring and illegal vote prevention system of the Special Telecommunications Service. "Each station was equipped with 1-2 poll pads (one for use in the voting process, the other as a backup). The functioning of the system was not that much an issue, as the shortcomings due to the slow internet service in various countries and locations," the MAE said in the report. According to the cited source, another factor to blame was the "involvement of groups of supporters of certain political formations, despite the law forbidding electoral activities on voting day." AGERPRES (RO - author: Oana Ghita, editor: Georgiana Tanasescu; EN - author: Simona Klodnischi, editor: Simona Iacob)

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