Monday, 24 November 2014

The mystery of the electoral tourists

What do you make of this, Holmes? 66% of Romanians say they voted for Klaus Iohannis in Sunday's presidential election, but he won only 54% of the vote.

Opinion polls are not be trusted. All but one poll prior to the second round of the election said Ponta would win and even the exit polls after the polls closed on Sunday suggested that he had a wafer-thin lead, though I was told that Mr. Iliescu called him at 3 p.m. to tell him that he had lost. And we know that people often convince themselves that they voted for the winning party even when they voted the other way.

But we know that 1.2 million Romanians (according to Associated Press) voted on 'supplementary lists', because they were away from home. Some were bona fide but many or most, I should guess, were 'electoral tourists' taken out in PSD busses from place to place, often depopulated villages, to vote several times with the connivance of corrupt officials. When you vote, the polling officer puts a sticker on your ID card (you don't have to be a registered voter) but if you go and vote for a second or third time elsewhere, officials may turn a blind eye to the fact your ID card is already stamped. This happened mostly in the deep South: counties like Gorj, Dolj, Teleorman and Giurgiu.

On Sunday 100,000 people decided to go to the dreary country of Teleorman to vote. A friend of mine who comes from Teleorman tells me that even he, whose family are there, only goes there with a sinking heart and that it has no charms. I am absolutely certain that like every county in Romania it does have its charms but on a cold November Sunday, come on.

 An Anglo-Romanian friend of mine said to me on Friday that Mr Iohannis's victory is
the end of eighteenth century Romania.
By which, of course, my friend did not have in mind aristocratic dinner parties, Meissen porcelain, Chippendale chairs or Mozart operas but very corrupt British elections. 

Over a million votes cast fraudulently should be investigated and the culprits put behind bars for many years but the same things happened, I recall, in the 2004 election and nothing happened then, even though the PSD government lost office. Obviously postal votes are the answer to this problem and they would enable the diaspora to exercise their right to vote, but postal votes in Romania will lead to a lot of fraud, as  they have even in law-abiding England.


  1. On election day I always advise my friends to "Vote early; vote often!"

    1. The old Northern Irish adage. Legend says that there was an election in Northern Ireland where the turnout was over 100% but I suspect that certain English councils with large numbers of Muslims like Tower Hamlets might be even dodgier when it comes to observing electoral law than Northern Ireland. In any case, there is no comparison with electoral fraud in the UK and in Romania where perhaps a million votes or more were cast fraudulently - not to mention all the other illegal and semi-legal things that happen.