The Bucharest 1st District Election Bureau resumed its work at 9 a.m. in an effort to untangle the situation that emerged in its constituency, after candidate Clotilde Armand accused incumbent Mayor Dan Tudorache (PSD) of attempted fraud.
While the polls showed Armand leading the race even by 11.5 points, Tudorache claimed that, according to his own count, he was ahead by 200 votes.
Armand said she and her associates had blocked the entrances of the town hall after discovering a person running for county council with more than 100 minutes in their possession, filled out and sealed, and called the police and the gendarmerie. When asked about this, the person appeared at loss of words and was not able to provide an answer. According to police sources cited by G4media, the person-in question was Sorin Cătălin Tomescu, the PSD candidate for the municipal council of the 1st district.
There were also reports of “vote theft”, that is, a number of votes from various minutes in favor of Armand had not been added to the summary table of the Electoral Office.
Tudorache denied allegations of fraud, mocked C. Armand for “not understanding Romanian” and called for a recount, as did PSD chairman Marcel Ciolacu.
However, Armand so far refuses the new count because, as she explained, she does not know what may have happened with the votes. In many minutes, the QR code appeared to be stamped over the list of names.
As the issue has escalated and has become viral across the Romanian media, Tudorache recently said he would turn to the Attorney General’s Office for a recount.
The media report a “huge scandal overshadowing the outcome of the Bucharest municipal elections”, with PNL and the USR-PLUS representatives insisting that their votes had been posted in favor of other parties on the Permanent Electoral Authority’s website.
Clotilde Armand explained to Digi24 how she discovered at the town hall of the 1st district a stack of minutes from the district election office, with her and her colleagues being forced to guard the area, as they were not allowed to enter the building. Furthermore, half-completed minutes were found in the area of the cleaning services according to the USR candidate’s statement, who called 112 to notify the police and the Gendarmerie.
Ionut Dana, police chief of the 1st district, said a while ago that the police had found 473 minutes from polling stations in the man’s possession for which he could not determine whether they were valid, and summoned eight people to testify. He also clarified that the man in-question was a party candidate, while Tudorache insisted that he was a courier who had the right to collect minutes from the polling stations.
Today, on Tuesday, there are still two constituencies the presidents of which have not delivered the final results, as reported recently by the Digi24 HD channel.
“Vote theft” was not only reported in the 1st district but also in the 5th. PNL candidate Cristian Băcanu alleged almost 100 votes had been “stolen” (sic) from his party from just one constituency. “We have proof that, in one district, 90 votes for the municipal council were stolen from the PNL. They were attributed to other parties (81 in the Roma Party). One vote was taken from me. In all, there was a falsification of 91 PNL votes, 90 for the city council and one for the mayor’s position – almost 20% of the total municipal council votes in that constituency. If the fraud is so extended in just one district, it is clear that it is necessary to check for the existence of extensive fraud in the 5th constituency as well. We have set up a technical committee to verify/control the result, and we will act to uncover the truth”, Băcanu wrote on Facebook.
A similar accusation was made by Claudiu Năsui (USR-PLUS), who insists the alliance lost 164 votes for the Bucharest City Council, which, on the Electoral Commission (BEC) website, were found in a “dark political scheme” (referring to the Romanian Nation Party).
Posting photos on Facebook, Năsui claimed that in polling station 127 the minutes state the USR-PLUS has the highest number of votes, 164, while the BEC website states it has received zero votes. /ibna