Romania's DNA plans to investigate former foreign minister over election shambles

By bne IntelliNews May 16, 2016

Romania’s anticorruption body, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), has requested senators’ approval to start an investigation into former Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean for abuse of power and preventing citizens from exercising their right to vote.

The investigation refers to the organisation of the presidential elections in 2014. The prosecutors claim that Corlatean, who held the foreign minister post at that time, organised the polling stations abroad in a way that gave an advantage to the candidate backed by his, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Victor Ponta.

As a result of his actions, not all Romanians living abroad were able to vote in the elections. According to the DNA’s statement, Corlatean ignored some proposals made by diplomatic missions regarding the organisation of polling stations in towns where the right to vote could have been guaranteed to a higher number of people. Instead, the prosecutors claim, polling stations were organised in towns where there were no requests from diplomatic missions or consular offices.

A large number of Romanians living abroad were unable to vote in the 2014 elections. Huge queues and chaotic scenes were reported at embassies in London, Paris and other cities with a large Romanian diasporas, with many voters unable to enter the polling booths before polls closed for the day.

Both Ponta and President Traian Basecu blamed the chaos on Corlatean, who later resigned. Rallies were organised also in Romania’s biggest cities, with protesters demanding that the authorities ensure Romanians abroad were able to vote in the second round of the elections.

The way the abroad elections were organised impacted the voters both in the country and abroad and is likely to have led to Ponta losing the presidential race.

Corlatean refused to comment on DNA’s request to start an investigation into him, saying he was not informed about it, Mediafax news agency reported.

“I was not informed by any institution. I am surprised to find out from the media about this request. I don’t comment on it,” Corlatean said.

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