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Elections 2023. What about Poles voting abroad? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet announced the decision on the districts

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Elections are fast approaching, preparation time is underway. Especially hot abroad. The new rules for counting votes are one thing, the referendum on the day of the parliamentary elections is another challenge, but this is not the end. There are more and more questions about foreign constituencies, especially the creation of new ones.

South Asia is a good holiday destination in October. You can warm up there and rest before the European winter. However, a trip to this part of the world at this time has its drawbacks for people who would like to vote in the Polish parliamentary elections.

On October 15, on election day, Michał Skrzywanek will be the patron of Sri Lanka. He would love to vote, but it is not known if it will be possible. There is no Polish consulate in Sri Lanka – the care of Poles who stay there is exercised by the embassy in New Delhi. – We started to organize ourselves completely apolitically, completely spontaneously on internet forums, through Facebook. Within a few days, over 100 people permanently residing in Sri Lanka, people who intend to visit this country for holiday purposes, declared their willingness to take part in the elections – says Michał Skrzywanek, a legal advisor who wants to create a circuit in Sri Lanka.

SEE ALSO: Who can become a member of the precinct electoral commission and what remuneration can they count on?

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The embassy in New Delhi promised to arrange a place, and attorney Skrzywanek proposed that he himself could create such a circuit and become the chairman of the commission. – In fact, purely technical and organizational considerations remained and now everything is on the side of the minister, but it would be a pity that such potential of Poles, people who want to vote so far away in such an important election, would be a pity. It would be a shame to waste it, he adds.

There are many more similar cases. The head of the parliamentary commission for liaison with Poles abroad said in an interview with TVN24 BiS that the Polish community from various parts of the world reported to him the need for a total of 112 new circuits. In Italy and Spain, the consulates refused to cooperate in this regard. The justification explains that they do not have the appropriate premises to set up additional electoral commissions. – In Turin and Zaragoza, the determined Polish diaspora turned to the mayors of these cities themselves and obtained a written assurance that the local governments of Turin and Zaragoza would lend the Poles free premises for elections. They sent this message immediately to the general consulates in Milan and Barcelona. To this day, they have not received an answer – says Robert Tyszkiewicz, head of the Sejm Liaison Committee with Poles Abroad.

Zandberg: The left is going for change in this electionTVN24

Poles abroad still cannot register to vote

The procedure for establishing wards abroad is regulated by the Electoral Code. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, not the National Electoral Commission, is primarily responsible for organizing voting abroad. Before each election, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends a question to consulates and embassies about how many electoral precincts should be created. The posts consult with Polish diaspora communities, check how many Poles are staying in their area and send the estimates back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry is still consulting with the PMC and makes a decision on the establishment of foreign circuits.

During the previous elections to the Sejm and the Senate, Poles could vote in 320 foreign committees. Most were active in Great Britain, the United States and Germany. How many circuits will be created this time? Still unknown. By law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has until September 25 to announce the decision. – Still, Poles abroad cannot sign up for elections, because the number and location of the Precinct Electoral Commissions are not known. For unknown reasons, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs still, despite earlier announcements, also submitted to the Liaison Committee with Poles Abroad, has not announced this number – explains Robert Tyszkiewicz.

There will certainly be more circuits, but it is not known – how many. Unofficially, we hear that this number should increase to about four hundred. Consuls do not keep a permanent register of voters, so they do not know exactly how many people will want to vote in their area. Certainly, however, due to the combination of the parliamentary elections with the referendum, the members of the commission will have much more work. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs promises to increase staffing in the most besieged facilities. – At the same time, it is necessary to take into account the operational capacity of individual foreign posts. Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is preparing to provide personnel support for those institutions for which, due to staffing reasons, servicing a much larger number of voting precincts may be a task beyond their capabilities, assured Piotr Wawrzyk, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Sejm.

Foreign electoral commissions have only 24 hours to count all votes. According to the Electoral Code – if the commission fails to count the votes, the vote in such a precinct is considered null and void. Many lawyers and the Ombudsman raise serious objections to these provisions.

Facts about the world TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: Facts about the world TVN24 BiS

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