e-democracy.md

Elections in the Republic of Moldova

The will of the people represents a basis of the state power. This will is expressed regularly through free and fair elections by universal, equal, direct, secret, and freely expressed suffrage. Since 1994, in Moldova have been held several types of general elections:

Moreover, on the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia (Gagauz ATU) took place regional elections to the People’s Assembly and for the Governor of Gagauzia. These elections are organized and held in compliance with the Law on special legal status of Gagauzia (Gagauz Yeri) and normative acts of Gagauz ATU.

Usually, the general elections are held every 4 years, when the mandate of previously elected authorities expires. If the mandate ends before the expiration date, the early elections could be organized. The early elections are conducted under the similar rules, but the election campaign is shorter.

Problems of utmost importance for the Moldovan society or state shall be resolved by referendum, which is organized and conducted in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Code. The republican referendum — voting that permits the expression of people’s option and contributes to solve the existing problems directly. Referendum may be constitutional, legislative and consultative. Issues that are of special importance for the respective locality and that fall in the competence of local public administration bodies, including the mayor’s revocation, may be proposed for local referendum.

2009

The 2009 electoral year was a year of “change”. After two consecutive parliamentary campaigns, the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) was forced to cede the power in spite of the fact that party won 60 out of 101 seats in the April 5 elections, and 48 seats in the July 29 early elections. The “change” followed the political conflict between the PCRM and liberal opposition; the latter managed to block the election of the country’s President after the April 5 ordinary parliamentary elections, thus provoking the early parliamentary elections of July 29.

The electoral campaign for the April 5 elections was aggressive, marked by numerous accusations against the Communist governing on browbeating opposition political parties (especially, the extra-parliamentary parties), on misusing the administrative funds and on interfering in the editorial policy of public mass media that triggered off the media war against the opposition. As consequence, on April 6, the preliminary election results touched off ad-hoc mass protests against these results, alleging vote rigging by the PCRM. The youth-led protests were initially peaceful, but on April 7 they degenerated into violence and vandalism of the Presidency and Parliament buildings. The law enforcement bodies failed to control the situation from the beginning, but later launched a campaign to repress and intimidate the protesters. The latter ended up with numerous arrests, most of them accompanied by torture and maltreatment of detained protesters, and at least one confirmed decease.

[↓] Results of the April 5, 2009 parliamentary elections

The intimidation of opposition leaders by means of previously fabricated charges against them, provocative declarations of the PCRM leaders against the opposition made on the day after elections, as well the violent reaction of the Communist governing to the 6–7 April protests against election results, escalated the political conflict between the PCRM and opposition parliamentary parties. As a result, the parliamentary opposition blocked the election of the chief of state and none of the candidates nominated by PCRM (main candidate Zinaida Grecianii and 2 conventional candidates — Andrei Neguta and Statilsav Groppa), could not get the required majority of 61 votes to be elected. In this situation, in compliance with the constitutional provisions the Parliament was dissolved and the early parliamentary elections were set for July 29.

The decision of opposition political forces to form a coalition, the repression campaign that followed the April 6–7 riots, the withdrawal of Marin Lupu, former Speaker of Parliament (2005–2009) from PCRM and his joining of the Democratic Party of Moldova produced a shift in party preferences of voters and therefore changed the configuration of political forces on the eve of the early parliamentary elections.

In the July 29 early elections PCRM got 48 seats out of 101 and thus lost the parliamentary majority, and consequently the governing. The other parties which entered the Parliament decided to establish a coalition against PCRM and formed the Alliance for European Integration (AIE) that took over the governing. PCRM replied by going into opposition and blocking on its turn the election of the President of the Republic of Moldova, by refusing to vote for the single candidate of the governing Alliance, Marian Lupu, the PDM leader. As consequence, the 2009 political crisis was transferred to the year 2010.

[↓] Results of the July 29, 2009 parliamentary elections

April 5, 2009Parliamentary elections
PCRM — 60 seats, PL — 15, PLDM — 15, AMN — 11Seat distribution:
PCRM — 60 seats, PL — 15, PLDM — 15, AMN — 11
May 20, 2009
June 3, 2009
Presidential elections
None of candidates nominated by PCRM (main candidate — Zinaida Grecianii and formal candidates — Andrei Neguta and Stanislav Groppa) did not get 61 votes. Opposition MPs (PL, PLDM and AMN) refused to participate in the election of the chief of state, and Parliament failed to elect the President. Thus the Parliament was dissolved by Vladimir Voronin, the acting president.
July 29, 2009Early parliamentary elections
PCRM — 48 seats, PLDM — 18, PL — 15, PDM — 13, AMN — 7Seat distribution:
PCRM — 48 seats, PLDM — 18, PL — 15, PDM — 13, AMN — 7
November  10, 2009
December 7, 2009
Presidential elections
The only candidate nominated by a group of MPs of the Alliance of European Integration (AIE) — Marian Lupu, leader of PDM, — did not get 61 votes. The Parliament failed to elect the President.

2008

The intrigue of the elections to the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia, held in two rounds on March 16 and 30, 2008 consisted in updating the configuration of political forces of the region. The same political groups which entered the race for the office of Gagauz Governor (head of executive) in December 2006, committed themselves to contest the supremacy of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) in the regional legislature. Namely, these were the adepts of the new Gagauz Governor Mihail Formuzal grouped under the nongovernmental organisation United Gagauzia Movement (UGM) and the adepts of Comrat Mayor Nicolai Duduglo, who lost the electoral competition against Mihail Formuzal in December 2006.

The main stake of the PCRM was to get a result allowing it to keep the status-quo — the control over the People’s Assembly (PA). UGM adherents wanted victory for the sake of harmonizing the activity of Gagauz PA and Governor, while adepts of Mayor Nicolai Dudoglo banked on a good enough score to be able to impose a compromise solution to the dispute between the two rival camps by electing Dudoglo as PA Chairman.

None of the three forces could win the election and thus to build or consolidate a majority in Gagauz People’s Assembly in order to elect its leadership. Although the reckoning of Comrat mayor’s supporters was reasonable, none of the two rival forces wanted to accept the compromise solution proposed by Nicolai Dudoglo. Only after four months and numerous scandalous attempts, the AP leadership was elected and validated. The PA Speaker was elected Ana Harlamenco who ran in elections as independent, but actually a member of Dudoglo team.

Elections to the Gagauz PA have more specific features compared with the national parliamentary elections. This is a direct consequence of the majority electoral system in a “politically undeveloped” area. Confidence of citizens towards political parties is lower in Gagauzia than on country in general, where parties enjoy the confidence of only 15–20 percent of respondents. Political leaders of the region explain this attitude of citizens through the fact that the registration of regional parties is prohibited in Moldova. Under such circumstances, Gagauz voters choose to vote most credible persons from localities, with their political membership counting less. Certainly, politically unaffiliated candidates — the independents — enjoy the highest confidence, as they promise to resolve concrete daily life problems faced by citizens.

March 16, 2008
March 30, 2008
Elections to the People’s Assembly of Gagauz ATU
CI — 21 mandate, PCRM — 10, PDM — 2, MRR — 2Seat distribution:
IC — 21 seats, PCRM — 10, PDM — 2, MRR — 2

2007

The main stake of all Moldovan political forces in 2007 was to take up leadership positions in all local public administration bodies. One of the collateral goals of political parties running in local elections was to estimate their potential for a possible participation in the 2009 parliamentary elections. The results of the June 3, 2007 local elections mark the emergence of a very special situation that significantly affected the Republic of Moldova in the forthcoming years.

The defeat of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) in the local elections had several effects: abandonment by PCRM of the “political partnership for European integration” between the Communist governing and the opposition; stirring up the antagonism between the central and the local public administration; the ideological reconsideration of the governing party and regrouping of opposition forces.

The decrease in the PCRM rating down to 1/3 of the electorate’s sympathies placed the party in a new position. In the period of full domination of the political stage, PCRM managed to make political enemies. In the local 2007 elections, the PCRM behavior was oriented towards persecuting the opposition candidates, including the “constructive” opposition, and rejected all possible coalition partners. This had a contra-productive effect for PCRM when the elections of Chisinau mayor are concerned. After the first tour of elections, the main candidates — Veaceslav Iordan (PCRM candidate) and Dorin Chirtoaca (PL candidate) got a rather tight result (27.62% — Veaceslav Iordan comparing to 24.37% — Dorin Chirtoaca). The formation of a coalition of opposition forces around Dorin Chirtoaca along with the novelty and the charismatic behavior of PL candidate, allowed him to win by far in the second election round against the PCRM candidate with 61.17% of the votes comparing to 38.83%.

The PCRM failure in the local elections triggered off a propaganda war against the opposition, with the President of the country — Vladimir Voronin — as protagonist. He did not hesitate to reproach the citizens with their “incorrect” vote on June 3. As a result, the rayon counselors elected on June 3, both representing the Communist ruling party and the 5–6 opposition parties hindered each other from electing the rayon presidents for almost a month and a half.

After the coalition negotiations, the united opposition took the power in approximately 2/3 of the rayons (districts). Considering the results of the rayon presidents’ elections, the President of the country admitted that an absolutely new political situation created in the Republic of Moldova. Vladimir Voronin, in virtue of the latest developments declared the cease of “political partnership” with the “constructive opposition” because it made deals against PCRM with the “intransigent opposition”. Another reaction of the ruling party to the “aggregated victory” of opposition was to reduce the opposition’s potential with respect to the 2009 parliamentary elections by legislative means, namely by enacting the following amendments to the Electoral Code: banning the citizens with dual citizenship from holding public positions, raising the electoral threshold and banning electoral blocs.

[↓] Results of the June 3 and 17, 2007 local elections

June 3, 2007
June 17, 2007
Local elections
  • District and municipal councils:
    PCRM — 465 seats (41.44%), AMN — 220 (19.61%), PDM — 117 (10.43%)
  • City and village councils:
    PCRM — 4,220 seats (39.73%), AMN — 2,036 (19.17%), PDM — 1,155 (10.87%)
  • Mayors:
    PCRM — 334 seats (37.35%), AMN — 157 (17.61%), PDM — 74 (8.25%)
Dorin Chirtoacă The runoff election was organized to elect mayors for 474 localities of Moldova, including for Chisinau municipality, where none of candidates received the required minimum number of votes in the first round. On June 17, 2007, Dorin Chirtoaca, PL candidate, was elected as General Mayor of Chisinau with 61.17% of votes.

2006

The ordinary elections for the Governor (Bashkan) of Gagauzia (Gagauz Yeri) took place on December 3 and 17, 2006. On December 22, the Comrat Court of Appeal validated both election rounds and the election of the leader of regional opposition, Mihai Formuzal as Governor of Gagauzia. The interest for elections and for the consequences of their results was significant. It was caused by the attention the international community paid to the implementation of provisions of the European Union-Republic of Moldova Action Plan. Additionally, the problem of Chisinau — Comrat relationships came to the fore after the conflict in February 2002.

The victory of the opposition candidate was not a surprise, rather surprising was the fact that the representative of the ruling party — Gheorghii Tabunscik was not able at least to get into the second election round. There were several circumstances, somehow interrelated which can explain this failure. Native Gagauz citizens have always openly manifested pro-Russian sympathies. This explains why the PCRM received a large support in Gagauzia (over 80% of votes in the 2001 parliamentary elections), when the party assumed the role of promoter of a pro-Russian foreign policy. The way, the PCRM changed, between 2003 and 2004, the foreign policy course by declaring the European integration as main strategic goal of Moldova had direct impact on the March 2005 parliamentary elections, when the support for the Party of Communists dropped to 30%. This fact, added to the 2002 conflict between Chisinau and Comrat, but mostly added to the conflict related to the permanent harassment of Mihail Formuzal by central authorities, resulted in a general support to Formuzal.

December 3, 2006
December 17, 2006
Elections for the Governor of Gagauz ATU
Mihail FormuzalNone of candidates received the required number of votes to be elected in the first round of elections. Mihail Formuzal was elected as Governor (Bashkan) of Gagauz ATU in the second round, with 56.23% of votes.

2005

The parliamentary elections of March 6, 2005 took place on the background of color revolutions in Georgia, Romania and Ukraine. The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) won the elections with 46% of the total valid votes, getting 56 seats out of 101. Main intrigue of elections was the open support the PCRM received on the final step of the election campaign from the leaders of Rose and Orange revolutions (Mihail Saakashvili and Viktor Iushcenko) and the Romanian President, Traian Basescu. On the other hand, certain mass-media representatives suspected that the main opposition force — Electoral Bloc Moldova Democrata (BMD) was supported by Moscow political circles, willing to take revenge on the PCRM for refusing to approve the so-called “Kozak Memorandum” and for changing Moldova’s foreign policy orientation toward the EU.

After the March 6, 2005 parliamentary elections, the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) got by 15 seats less that in the previous parliament and therefore lost the possibility to elect the President of the Republic of Moldova on its own. Under these conditions, the re-election of Vladimir Voronin, PCRM leader, as President of the country was possible only by going into coalition with a part of the parliamentary opposition, consisting of the Electoral Bloc “Moldova Democrata” (BMD) — 34 seats and the Christian Democratic People’s Party (PPCD) — 11 seats. The withdrawal of the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) from the BMD (composed of the Moldova Noastra Alliance (AMN) — 23 MPs, Democratic Party of Moldova — 8 MPs and Social-Liberal Party (PSL) — 3 MPs), followed by the registration of its own parliamentary faction changed the configuration of political forces within the Parliament. PDM declared that will participate in the election of the President for the sake of avoiding the early parliamentary elections.

[↓] Results of the March 6, 2005 parliamentary elections

The opposition members did not propose any candidate for President. Consequently, both candidates registered by the special commission for election of the president (main candidate — Vladimir Voronin and the conventional candidate — Gheorghe Duca) were nominated by PCRM groups in order to respect the Constitutional Court’s requirements regarding the article 78 of the Constitution, namely that “at least two candidates should run for election of the President of the Republic of Moldova”. The biggest surprise of the April 4 presidential elections was the participation of 11 PPCD MPs and 3 PSL MPs in the election process together with the 56 PCRM and 8 PDM Members of Parliament. The AMN Members of Parliament did not participate in elections. Hence, 75 Members of the Parliament voted for Vladimir Voronin out of 78 MPs who participated in elections. His counter candidate, Gheorghe Duca, got only a vote, and 2 ballots were declared invalid.

Due to the decision of Chisinau Mayor Serafim Urechean to give up his position of Chisinau general mayor for the seat in Parliament, the circumstances to hold new elections for the position of mayor of Chisinau emerged. Both rounds of the July 2005 elections were invalidated because of low voter turnout (less than 1/3 of persons registered in the voter lists). In the July 10, 2005 elections 27.05% of voters participated, and in the July 24, 2005 repeat elections — only 19.8% of voters. The latter gave 96,250 votes to Zinaida Greceanii and 13,400 votes to Valeri Klimenko (the other contestants did not participate in the repeat elections).

The Central Electoral Commission set November 27, 2005 as date for organizing new elections, which were marked by a prominent appearance of Dorin Chirtoaca, one of the Liberal Party (ex. Party of Reform) leaders. At that point, the Liberal Party was less active and less known among the population. Nevertheless, the voter turnout (22.42%) was also under the election validation threshold. The forth essay to elect the mayor — on December 11, 2005 — also failed because only 22.65% of voters participated in elections. Two candidates received the most votes — Vasile Ursu, Chisinau vice-mayor, supported by PCRM (52.91%) and Dorin Chirtoaca (35.62%). Under these conditions, the decision to establish a moratorium on organizing new elections was made, and since then the interim mayor Vasile Ursu ran the capital of Moldova.

March 6, 2005Parliamentary elections
PCRM — 56 seats, BMD — 34, PPCD — 11Seat distribution:
PCRM — 56 seats, BMD — 34, PPCD — 11
April 4, 2005Presidential elections
Vladimir VoroninVladimir Voronin was re-elected as President of Moldova with 75 out of 78 votes cast.
July 10, 2005
July 24, 2005
Early elections for the mayor of Chisinau
Voter turnout was under the election validation threshold (27.05% and 19.8%)
  • Zinaida Greceanii — 96,250 votes (87.78%)
  • Valerii Klimenco — 13,400 votes (12.22%)
It was decided to organize repeat elections.
November 27, 2005
December 11, 2005
Repeat elections for the mayor of Chisinau
Voter turnout was under the election validation threshold (22.42% and 22.65%)
  • Vasile Ursu — 67,279 votes (52.91%)
  • Dorin Chirtoaca — 45,299 votes (35.62%)
Thus was established a moratorium on organizing new municipal elections, and Vasile Ursu remained to act as interim Mayor of Chisinau.