Some 40,000 Romanians living abroad have registered for postal voting in a procedure that concluded on Sunday, according to official data. Even fewer registered as voters at sections abroad. The numbers are way below the levels expected by authorities and politicians, given how massive voting abroad affected a series of national polls in recent years.
Moves to ease voting abroad were taken in recent months after a spate of scandals related to the organisation of polling stations for the Romanian Diaspora.
The changes, which included voter registration and the registration for postal voting, where expected to be of help for millions of Romanians living abroad.
In July, a minister in charge with Diaspora issues claimed some 5.6 million Romanian citizens were living abroad. Related to that number, the current registration figures would bmean that only about 1% of potential voters registered for postal voting.
Voting in the European elections in May this year saw some 375,000 Romanians abroad show up at polling stations, many of them coming from cities were such stations did not exist.
That process saw massive queues and thousands of people failing to cast their votes due to organisational issues largely blamed on the government. The governing Social Democrats and their partners at the time, ALDE, saw massive electoral losses in the EP poll. The scandal repeated another of 5 years ago, when former PSD leader Victor Ponta was defeated by Liberal Klaus Iohannis in presidential elections despite major irregularities at polling stations in the Diaspora, also blamed on the PSD authorities.
Now Romania is bracing for a new round of presidential elections, due to take place in November.