Already foul play in the competition for the presidency

Several signature sheets were forged, eight candidates have been denounced

It seems that the Romanian president’s office has became so coveted that a small hindrance such the lack of enough signatures to support a candidacy will be overcome by any and every means. The Central Electoral Office (BEC), which has to validate all candidacies for the upcoming presidential election in November, had to file a criminal complaint at the Attorney General’s Office against not one and not just two candidates, but a total of eight presidential candidates for registering counterfeited signatures.

The law requires that anyone who plans to run in an election for the president’s office needs to gather at least 200,000 signatures of Romanian citizens in support of their candidacy. When registering officially at the BEC, the applicant who is keen on leading the country from Cotroceni Palace must bring these autographs as well.

According to the Tuesday night communiqué of the BEC, it had been found that eight candidates had several signatures that showed “obvious similarity.” So the BEC turned to law enforcement agencies to deal with the matter.

Another, most-mentionable detail is that the BEC had pointed out the irregularities observed on some signature sheets to the Constitutional Court of Justice. And yet, this high-ranked body of justice pinned down in a resolution that the presumption of authenticity can be refuted “only by determining that it was foul play.” That is why the electoral office turned to law enforcement to shed light on the matter.

The BEC had already distinctly rejected two candidacies on Sunday. One of them was Viorel Cataramă, politician and businessman, who was once one of the leaders of today’s biggest opposition party, the National Liberals (PNL), but last year founded his own, the so-called Liberal Right (DL). The DL has no parliamentary representation, and one couldn’t really say it is popular or even well known. The BEC stated that 97,170 signatures of the total of 230,341 that Cataramă presented, “show similar elements, and the presumption of validity does not stand.” The politician complained immediately at the Constitutional Court, which gathered on Sunday, gave ground to his appeal, thus approving that he can run as president…

The other rejected candidate was Miron Cozma who is known all right, just not for his political achievements. Rather, he is known for being the central figure of the so-called “Mineriads” of the 1990s. During this time, a large number of miners from the Valley of Zsil (Jil) were moved in an organized way to different places to terrify those who might have opposed the post-communist political system led by the president of the era, Ion Iliescu. In the case of Cozma, the electoral office pointed out that he had tried to register his candidacy with many signature sheets that were simply photocopied…

Objections and appeals have until Friday to be resolved. After that, the final list of the presidential candidates must be compiled.

The candidate of the Democratic Alliance of the Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ), party leader Hunor Kelemen, gathered and registered 265,949 signatures at the BEC. He arrived at the headquarters of the BEC in Bucharest last Saturday on an electric scooter to file the signatures and his candidacy. Both were validated. As Kelemen pointed out to the representatives of the media, he used an electric scooter on purpose: he wants a green and innovative country to live in and, as he said, “it is up to every single person to contribute to the change, to a greener country.” “Romania could be a stronghold of knowledge, but in order to achieve this, the country and the education and research system have to be radically changed. This is the task of every responsible political leader who plans for the future.” –  Kelemen said.

Title image: Seems that many want to run for Cotroceni, some by all means necessary…

Author: Éva Zay