Low turnout for first day of Romania’s referendum on family redefinition

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BUCHAREST, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) — Voter turnout was low in the first of two days of Romania’s referendum on family redefinition, according to the latest report on turnout released by the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) late Saturday.

Only 5.72 percent of the electors have showed up to the polling stations in the first day of referendum, the data centralized by the BEC after the conclusion of the first day of voting showed.

Over 18,000,000 voters are expected on Saturday and Sunday at the polls for a referendum to revise the Constitution to redefine family as a freely consented marriage between a man and a woman, replacing the current form that defines the family as the free-willed marriage “between spouses.”

The question the voters will have to answer, with “Yes” or “No”, is “Do you agree with the Law for the revision of Romania’s Constitution in the form adopted by Parliament?”

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said that the topic of family is an important one for all and she voted for the values she believes in.

“Consulting citizens is the essence of democracy. It is the civic duty of each of us to express ourselves in regards to the topics important to society,” said Dancila, after voting at the Jean Monnet High School in northern Bucharest.

Under the laws, in order for the national referendum to be valid, it’s necessary a voter turnout of at least 30 percent of the persons registered on the permanent electoral lists. The referendum will be validated if the validated choices represent at least 25 percent of those registered on the permanent electoral rolls.

The cabinet decided on the date of the referendum on Sept. 18, in response to an initiative signed by 3 million citizens calls for a clear definition of the family concept.

The initiative, launched by the Coalition for Family in late 2015, is considered to block any possibility of same-sex marriages in Romania.

The Senate, as a decision-making chamber of the parliament, adopted on Sept. 11 this year the citizens’ initiative which was previously passed by the Chamber of Deputies on May 9, 2017.

The amendment is supported by most politicians and the major Orthodox Church with over 85 percent adherence among the population, as well as many other religious groups in the eastern European country.

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