Thousands queue in Fratton to cast Romania vote

Gino D'Acampo

‘For me it’s the easiest thing ever – I was born doing live TV’

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Thousands of Romanian immigrants queued round the block in Portsmouth today – so they could vote in their country’s presidential election

Queues started forming from 9am, as Romanians from across the area, and as far as Bournemouth and London, turned out to vote.

Thousands of Romanians queue to get into Fratton Community Centre, Portsmouth, in order to place their vote in the Romanian presidential election. Picture: Tom Harrison/Solent News & Photo Agency

Thousands of Romanians queue to get into Fratton Community Centre, Portsmouth, in order to place their vote in the Romanian presidential election. Picture: Tom Harrison/Solent News & Photo Agency

They waited for hours outside Fratton Community Centre, in Trafalgar Place off Clive Road, Kingston, to cast their votes.

The elections are held every five years, and those living abroad who still have Romanian passports are allowed to cast a vote.

However the surge in voters, believed to be caused by voters being turned away in London, created havoc for residents in Clive Road.

Vio Lazar, 35, travelled from Winchester to vote. He said: ‘It’s important we vote as this is about the future of my country.

Thousands of Romanians queue to get into Fratton Community Centre, Portsmouth, in order to place their vote in the Romanian presidential election.   � Tom Harrison/Solent News & Photo Agency'UK +44 (0) 2380 458800

Thousands of Romanians queue to get into Fratton Community Centre, Portsmouth, in order to place their vote in the Romanian presidential election. � Tom Harrison/Solent News & Photo Agency'UK +44 (0) 2380 458800

‘Even though I have been in this country since 2003, I have family, friends and relatives that live in Romania, so I want to vote because it affects their future.’

But neighbours living nearby criticised the decision to hold the vote in Fratton.

Tracey Crawford, of Clive Road, said: ‘Sundays are a day for rest and peace, but this has been absolute pandemonium.

‘Usually parking wardens are circling all the time and give tickets to people who are parked on double yellow lines or have overstayed the two-hour parking limit.

‘But on this occasion there hasn’t been a warden in sight.

‘People have parked where they liked and it’s chaos.

‘I don’t understand why we were not told about this.

‘There hasn’t been any trouble as such, but it’s just been so inconvenient.’

Resident George Small, 60, of Clive Road, said it was ‘diabolical’.

He said: ‘I have lived here 20 years and have never seen anything like this. I was livid to see such commotion. This was diabolical.

‘I don’t understand why we were not told about this happening.

‘We had such difficulty turning into Clive Road, and then you could see cars parked on double yellow lines, in disabled bays and parking without a permit for more than two hours.

The voting was arranged by Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock.

He said: ‘The Romanian Embassy contacted me to ask if the voting could be held in Portsmouth because it’s central space for Romanians around the area.

‘I’m sorry if it inconvenienced residents in Clive Road, but it was great to see so many come out and vote, I only wish we could get a turn out like that.’

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