Romanians are among the Europeans most worried about the election campaigns' transparency, a recent Eurobarometer on the expectations of the EU citizens for the May 2019 European elections showed.
The survey shows that a majority of EU citizens are worried that disinformation campaigns, data breaches and cyber-attacks will interfere with electoral processes.
Some 66% of Romanians are worried about people voting although they are not entitled to vote. The percentage places the country above the EU average of 45% of respondents worrying about this issue. At the same time, 62% of the local respondents worry about some people voting twice, the second percentage across the EU, where the average on this issue is of 44%. Another concern is people being coerced into voting a certain way, something 66% of Romanians flagged. It was the third result in the EU on the issue, where the EU average is of 52%.
Furthermore, 66% of Romanians are worried about elections being manipulated through cyber-attacks. It was the third highest percentage in the EU, after Spain and UK. The EU average is of 61%.
A total of 71% of the local respondents worry that the personal data left online could be used to target the political messages they see. By comparison, the EU average on this issue is of 67%.
The main factors that would determine Romanians to take part in the EU elections are: having more young candidates (42% compared to an EU average of 31%); better knowledge of the EU and its impact on their lives (42% compared to the EU average of 20%); more women candidates (14% compared to the EU average of 20%); and more candidates from underrepresented political groups (13% compared to the EU average of 12%).
When they are abroad, Romanians prefer voting at the embassy or consulate, an option chosen by 43% of respondents and one of the highest in the EU, where the average stands at 27%. A total of 32% would opt for online voting, compared to the an EU average of 42%.
“Our research shows that people are really worried about disinformation. The good thing is that more and more citizens are critical of the information they are offered, and well aware of the dark forces that would like to manipulate what they read, think and ultimately vote for. For the legitimacy of our European democracy it is essential that citizens use their right to vote. And that's why we all, EU institutions and member states, must protect our elections and bolster our democracy,” Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, said.
The Eurobarometer survey on Democracy and Elections was conducted through 27,474 face-to-face interviews at respondents' home in 28 EU Member States.