Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean resigned on Monday after thousands of people rallied at the weekend in support of compatriots abroad who were turned away as they tried to vote in the first round of a presidential election. Corlatean had been told by leftist Prime Minister Victor Ponta to ensure the Nov. 16 runoff vote ran smoothly or risk losing his job after Romanians living abroad complained of long queues at embassy polling stations and shortages of a form that had to be signed before a ballot could be cast in the Nov. 2 vote. Ponta won the first round of the election by a 10 percentage point margin over Klaus Iohannis, an ethnic German mayor backed by two center-right opposition parties. Ponta is likely to win the runoff vote, opinion polls showed. On Saturday, as thousands of people rallied in cities across Romania, Corlatean said there would be no increase in the number of polling stations abroad. Some protesters called on Ponta to resign, saying he had failed to ensure all citizens could exercise their right to vote.
Ponta told reporters on Monday he had accepted Corlatean’s resignation and had appointed former foreign intelligence head Teodor Melescanu, a veteran politician, as interim foreign minister.
Melescanu quit the espionage post in September and had joined the presidential race as an independent candidate. “First discussions will be at the electoral bureau to find out what can be done and which are the ways to ensure voting participation (abroad),” Ponta said.
Full Article: Romanian foreign minister resigns in election row | Reuters.