Romanian Presidential Election: A Letter to Europe

Post length: 680 words, just over 3 minutes.

In the wake of the mess of last Sunday’s first round in the Romanian Presidential, I helped Monica to write a letter to our local MEPs asking for their help to ensure that the second round, due to take place on the 16th of November, is carried out in as fair and transparent way as is possible. A slight variation of this was also sent to a few relevant members of the European Commission.

Update Not a single non-automated “please make sure you include your home address” response was received between sending the emails and the 2nd round elections last Sunday (16th November). Not even to say “sorry I can’t help.” This is a very disappointing response from across the political spectrum. I appreciate that MEPs have large areas with lots of constituents, but if they don’t have the staff time to even acknowledge communication from the people who voted for them I would suggest that they really need to look at the organisation of their offices. I may well pursue this, at least with my own party. If I do I’ll certainly keep this blog updated.

I am writing to you as my representative in the European Parliament regarding my concerns in relation to the failure of the democratic process during the recent first round elections for the President of Romania which took place on Sunday 2nd November.

As you may be aware from recent news reports there were systematic problems at a number of locations throughout Europe which had been designated as polling stations for expatriates to cast their vote. These problems lead to a large number of electors unable to access the polling stations, and therefore unable to exercise their democratic rights with regard to this election.

In my particular case I attended one of the three designated polling stations in London, arriving at around 2pm. The polling station was due to close at 9pm. The queue was long and I joined the back of it. After 7 hours in the queue, despite having made some progress towards the front, the polling station duly closed and I, along with many hundreds of others – reportedly 1,000 at this polling station alone – was unable to cast my vote. Various reports suggest this was the case at both of the other London polling stations, as well as other major cities across Europe. You see, therefore, that a large number of eligible voters in this country alone, through no fault of their own (indeed having made the effort to travel to the limited number of polling stations available in the UK), were unable to exercise their democratic rights as part of this important national election.

I am sure you agree that universal suffrage is a fundamental part of a free and fair democratic process – a process all European countries should strive to achieve. It is my opinion that through the actions of the administration of these elections – due to apparent mismanagement, be they intentional or otherwise – the right of a large number of citizens of both Romania and, indeed, Europe, have had this right severely impaired.

Therefore I ask that you assist in putting pressure on the Romanian administration, through all avenues available to you in your position as a Member of the European Parliament, to ensure that the second-round Presidential elections, due to take place on November 16th, are carried out in a manor which permits all eligible citizens who wish to exercise their right to express their opinion to do so unhindered no matter where in Europe they currently reside.

In addition to this Monica wrote to a few of her own government departments regarding the issue. I was also pleased to see that the British government took their concerns to the appropriate Romanian minister via the British Ambassador in Bucharest. I personally feel that it is crucially important that each and every citizen who wishes to express their opinion at the ballot box is allowed to do so, no matter what their political view. In this case, through failings of the administration of the election, this simply did not happen.

Posted on Friday 7th November, 2014 at 9:15 am in Obiter dicta.
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