Archive photo shows a queue of hopeful voters stretching back to rue de Pulvermuhl in Luxembourg City on 26 May 2019. Photo: Adina Barbu
Romanians abroad voting in the 10 November presidential elections can expect a swifter process thanks to a new system introduced following May 2019’s fiasco when thousands were denied voting rights.
Some 42 criminal complaints about irregularities in diaspora voting access rights for the 26 May European Parliament elections and referendum were lodged with Romanian prosecutor general’s office, after lengthy delays at polling stations left thousands of Romanians unable to exercise their rights.
The delays were explained by the labour intensive registration process of diaspora voters at polling booths. At the time there was no voter database for Romanians living in Luxembourg or the Greater Region. So, voting staff had to hand write names, addresses and ID numbers for both votes.
Anna Catana, a Luxembourg resident for the past three years, was among those who lodged criminal complaints. “At the moment I am happy with the result. For an effective electoral system, we also need to trust the authorities and how they count votes, how they don't use national numbers of dead people to put more votes, but these are other issues,” she told Delano, adding: “Hopefully, Romania is on a positive trend of change.”
In Luxembourg, where 1,739 Romanian citizens successfully voted in the European Parliament elections and 1,758 in the national referendum, around 400 voters who had queued for hours were turned away. Witnesses reported the peaceful group singing the national anthem in defiance, while the embassy called police to disperse the crowd. “Did they expect a riot? And where was the concern for the people who queued all day on the street or very close to the street? Were they not Romanians, were they not worth protecting?” Romanian journalist Raluca Caranfil told Delano shortly after the event.