Allegations of electoral fraud in Romania where 5% of the ballots were spoiled

Sursa: Inquam Photos/Saul Pop

Romanian non-governmental groups and opposition politicians have accused the ruling coalition of electoral fraud in June 9 local and European elections which saw the governing alliance tighten its grip on city halls across the country.

Some incumbent mayors who narrowly lost claimed there was fraud while Expert Forum which was monitoring the election revealed that a record of almost 500,000 ballots were spoiled, a massive 5.1% of the total.

The governing Social Democrats and the Liberals who formed an alliance in late 2021  both won well over 30% in the joint elections.

Hard-right Alliance for the Union of Romanians came third with about 9% of the vote,much lower than forecast, while reformist opposition group the Union to Save Romanians came a poor fourth.

One of the big losers was Clotilde Armand,the USR mayor of Bucharest’s fancy Sector 1 and her party colleague in Sector 2. They both narrowly lost their seats to candidates from the ruling coalition.

Ms Armand  accused Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu and Liberal Party leader Nicolae Ciucă of cheating  to „get their hands on the money and steal quietly. It is very clear that in Sector 1 the result was flawed and has no legitimacy thanks to an electoral fraud demonstrated by me mathematically, factually. ,” the mayor said in a Facebook post. She lost the vote to be re-elected by a few hundred votes to a Liberal Party candidate.

Party colleague for Sector 2 also narrowly lost his seat leading to fraud claims.

The figures point at best to poor organization by the government, the Permanent Electoral Authority.

Some ballots were printed on election day and political representatives of national minorities were allowed in polling stations.

Traditionally, polling stations are managed by the government.It had  four political representatives while the opposition had one or two representatives.

Supporters of the progressive USR joined by a few hundred others gathered outside the government offices in Victory Square to protest the way the election was organized.

The demonstration is not large and will not change anything, but it is a sign that dissatisfaction with the June 9 elections exists and is accumulating.

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