According to this Reddit discussion and this article (Romanian), during the 2019 EU elections, Munich police helped the voters by "extending" consulate territory:

This is in Munchen. The German police there put up fences and made it so that a lot more people were considered to be on the territory of the consulate and thus couldn't be denied the right to vote even when, officially, the voting closed.

I am wondering if this is just an unofficial trick or the elections law actually allows for it, because a consulate territory seems like an important topic negotiated between two states, not something one can easily toy with.

Question: Can a state temporarily extend the consulate territory during some special events such as elections?

1 Answer 1


Despite the way it is sometimes presented in movies and TV, the land of a diplomatic mission from country A (an embassy or consulate) in host country B remains the territory of country B, and is usually just purchased legally using country B's standard property rules . The only normal peculiarities (I'm not considering situations like the UN land in New York) are that due to custom, treaty and the need to prevent tit-for-tat incidents, the authorities from country B can't enter or search buildings in the mission without permission from country A.

Providing the countries A & B are on good terms, there is no reason that this protection couldn't be temporarily extended (with agreement) to an extra area around the mission, but country A couldn't do it unilaterally.

Here though, the situation is actually somewhat different, and much more relaxed. What really matters is the election law in country A, and what it says about the close of polls. There are three broad possibilities:

  1. When the polls close at X pm, the ballot boxes shut.
  2. When the polls close at X pm, no new ballot papers are issued or,
  3. When the polls close at X pm, no more people can arrive to vote.

For countries with system 3, then the limit on polling places serving large communities (such as embassies) is how many people can queue safely "inside" the polling place. If moving some fences increases this, and everyone is happy, then nothing much needs to happen. The only way this can cause upset is if some locations are accommodating, while others are strict, in which case the difference in implementation can lead to outrage.

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