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ENEMO observers signal more infringements at general local elections in Moldova

15:48 | 06.11.2023 Category: Political

Chisinau, 6 November /MOLDPRES/ -  The International Election Observation Mission for the 2023 Local Elections in Moldova of the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO) today presented the Preliminary Declaration following the general local polls and signaled a string of infringements, among which attempts of buying votes.

According to ENEMO observers, ‘’the local elections from 5 November come in a crucial moment for the country’s way towards the edification of a fully functional democracy.’’  

„While the electorate had a wide spectrum of choices, the suspicions related to coordinated and widely spread attempts to influence the will of the voters, through the buying of votes and other practices, which run counter the foundations of a democratic society, are really worrying. On long term, such practices irremediably damage the electoral integrity, thus eroding the democracy. They must be approached efficiently and resolutely by the competent authorities, observing, unequivocally, the principles of the rule of law state,’’ the head of the mission, Dritan Taulla, said.

Nino Rizhamadze, an electoral and legal analyst of MIOA ENEMO, said that ENEMO welcomed the adoption of the new Electoral Code, which was significantly improved. ‘’ The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) works transparently and competently. Despite the large number of notifications, procedural and organizational tasks, as well as the deficit of human resources, CEC managed the process in due time and efficiently, with the observance of the electoral calendar and the legal terms provided for by the law,’’ Rizhamadze added.

The political analyst of the mission, Ales Jakubec, emphasized that, in general, the great majority of the candidates had been able to register without difficulties and ENEMO interlocutors did not report significant worries. ‘’The registration of the candidates of the Chance party was cancelled all over the country, based on an instruction by the Commission for Emergency Situations (CSE), two days before the elections. ENEMO considers that the decision on the cancelation of the candidates’ registration should have been taken by the bodies of managements of the elections and that the right to appeal should have been ensured. The intervention of CSE – a structure made up, to a great extent, by cabinet members, as to the right to participate in elections arouses concerns as to the interference of the government with the electoral process. While the candidates were able to make the electoral campaign freely, fair conditions of campaign were not ensured. The game field was distorted by the promises related to financial stimuli, which were wide spread and used as campaign instruments. Numerous charges of purchasing votes at wide scale, pressure on employees, inadequate use of administrative resources or the use of the achievements of the municipalities in the campaign, especially by those in offices, marked the electoral campaign,’’ Jacubec said.     

As for the coverage of the elections in mass media, the ENEMO observers detected infringements. ‘’The media landscape of Moldova shows a complex interaction between the political influence, economic challenges and the regulations in evolution. The polarization between the pro-Russian and pro-Western factions, accompanied by the oligarchic control, hinders the mass media’s capacity to act as an independent and critical voice. Moldova witnessed the increase in the number of information attacks and security threats, especially in the electoral process, with Russia carrying out misinformation campaigns through specific media entities, in a wider hybrid war. The decision on the suspension of the broadcasting licences for six TV stations during the emergency state, approved by the Commission for Emergency Situations, was prompted by the concerns as to the manipulating infringements and rhetoric, which regard the protection of the national information space. The Intelligence and Security Service accused Russia of influencing the local elections in Moldova, getting actively involved in misinformation campaigns through these TV stations, thus representing a threat for the democratic process,’’ observer Maja Milikic said.     

The declaration of the preliminary findings and conclusions is based on ENEMO’s observations nationally and in all regions, since 1 October till the date of the elections. The Mission will issue one more declaration of preliminary findings and conclusions one day following the runoff election.  





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