Romanian police are investigating allegations of electoral fraud in Bucharest’s first district after a man was filmed leaving the electoral offices with almost 500 voting papers.
Final votes gave Clotilde Armand, a French-Romanian politician of the centrist Save Romania Union-Plus 40.95% of the vote while the incumbent, Daniel Tudorache of the Social Democratic Party had 39.82% in Sunday local elections
However, Mr. Tudorache earlier claimed that he had won by 200 votes. He accused Ms. Armand of „lying, lying, lying” and denied defrauding the vote.
The seat is one of the hottest as it is located in the richest district of the Romanian capital.
Trouble started after video shot with a smart phone was posted on social media in which a man appears carrying a large pile of voting papers. Challenged about it, he claims the papers are copies not originals.
Cristina Grigorescu, who was a candidate for the Liberal Party for the first district local council, said she entered the electoral offices on Sunday evening and asked political party representatives whether they wanted anything to eat or drink, she told universul.net.
She later saw a group of people including a man carrying what she said were original voting papers. She asked him what he was doing and he said he was from the Social Democratic Party and he’d been given the papers.
She followed him to the elevator and continued to question him; he claimed the papers were copies. He got out at the first floor and she followed him; he returned and got out at the second floor where the sanitation department is located.
She said she found eight people on the second floor with original voting papers that hadn’t been signed off by the electoral office as is required by law. She called the police and the offices were sealed off.
Police questioned eight people and confirmed that a man had 473 voting papers in his possession. Police spokeswoman Ionut Dana did not say whether they were original papers or copies.
Mr Tudorache said the man was acting as a courier for the party and had the right to have the papers.
Social Democrat chairman Marcel Ciolacu dismissed allegations of fraud and asked for a recount
Clotilde Armand wrote on Facebook: “Look how the former first district mayor (Daniel Tudorache) is using the town hall and how he’s trying to change the voting papers with the help of employees from the sanitation department. Let’s be very clear. Tudorache and all those who took part in this attempt to defraud will face justice.”