Europe
Low turnout invalidates Romania's referendum on family redefinition
Last Updated: 2018-10-08 14:06 | Xinhua
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Low voter turnout invalidated Romania's referendum on family redefinition, according to the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) late Sunday.

Only 20.41 percent of the electors showed up to the polling stations in the two days of referendum, data by the BEC showed. The laws require at least 30 percent of registered voters to participate in the referendum and 25 percent of voters to cast a valid "Yes" or "No" vote for the result to be validated.

Over 18,000,000 voters were 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 Romania of tomorrow, the Romania of Monday, will be exactly the same Romania as that of Friday, as the one before the referendum," said on Sunday Dan Barna, chairman of the Save Romania Union, the only political party in the parliament against the referendum.

The cabinet decided on the date of the referendum on Sept. 18, in response to an initiative signed by 3 million citizens calling 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.

Same-sex marriages are not allowed in Romania, according to the Civil Code. However, many people believe that the concept of marriage must be clarified in the Constitution to eliminate the possibility of amending the Civil Code.

The leader of the Coalition for Family, Mihai Gheorghiu, on late Sunday attributed the failure of the referendum to the generalized boycott from the political class, mass-media and the disinformation of citizens.

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

The amendment is also supported by 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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