Following the appeal submitted by the Blocul Moldova Democrata (BMD), CEC found during its January 21 session that Moldova 1 public broadcaster, as well as the private NIT TV station unlawfully aired on January 9 and 10 materials viewed as electioneering (4.1 minutes) in favour of the Party of Communists. CEC decided to reduce the air time granted free of charge on Moldova 1 for the Party of Communists and to examine the contract concluded between the said Party and NIT. Both stations were warned to comply with the Regulation on the Election Coverage. Opposition claimed CEC only mocked punishing the media for its violations in electioneering for the Party of Communists.
On January 20–21, 2005 Acces-Info Centre held a press conference “Mass-media and election coverage”. Participants debated on legal provisions (Article 47 of the Electoral Code), Conception and Regulation of the Audiovisual Coordinating Council (ACC) and CEC on election coverage in mass media. They also considered the causes of frauds in election coverage and the efficiency of measures undertaken to fight them.
The refusal of several private TV and radio stations to broadcast electoral ads, albeit it generates revenues, has raised many eyebrows. There are political and legal explanations (the correlation between the airtime and quota allowed by the law). Chairperson of the ACC, Ion Mihailo, stated that “Dixi-Media-Grup” holding having under its control “Vzrosloe radio-Sanson”, “Melodia”, “Hit FM” radio stations, as well as ether TV station “TV DIXI” had refused to cover electoral campaign. Prior to that two private TV stations, i.e. PRO TV Chisinau and ORT-Moldova, as well as “Pro FM” radio station refused to air electoral ads.
Electoral factor in foreign relations
Media affiliated to various political parties running in elections reported quite differently on the official visit paid by the Romanian President, Train Basescu to Chisinau on January 21 at the invitation of President Voronin. Anyhow, from an electoral perspective it was the ruling party who had more to gain from the visit rather than pro-European opposition parties. Immediately after winning elections in Romania Basescu stated that his first trip abroad would be to Chisinau. Apparently, President Voronin took this into consideration when inviting his Romanian counterpart to visit Moldova just before flying to Kiev for the inauguration ceremony of Victor Iushcenko. In Chisinau Romanian President made several statements much acclaimed by everyone: a) Romania would be Republic of Moldova’s advocate in its efforts to accede to EU; b) Romania would not stand RM to be energetically blackmailed; c) measures would be taken to bolster trade between the two countries; d) Romania would take steps for the civilized aid that responds to the cultural and educational needs of the RM citizens who consider themselves Romanians, be regulated by a similar legal framework as that between Hungary and Romania. Traian Basescu pointed that for the Romanian support to be efficient authorities have to conduct free and fair elections.
Opposition had only to salute the warming between RM and Romania, even if they realised that Basescu’s visit only played in favour of the Communist Party. Its electoral program envisages improving the ties with Romania and Ukraine. One day later, Voronin’s visit to the inauguration of the Ukrainian President counterbalanced Romanian President’ visit in the eyes of Russian speakers. When in Kiev, Voronin talked to his counterparts from various countries, NATO Secretary General, US State Secretary, etc. In general, prolific activity on the foreign affairs front over the last week was an excellent opportunity for the Communist Party leader to promote his party, while opposition had nothing to reproach him. It seems Party of Communists knows far too well how to capitalize on the existing opportunities.
Electoral manifestations of the UTC
On January 21 Union of Communist Youth (UTC) received an authorisation from the Chisinau Mayoralty to stage on February 14, 16 and March 1, 2005 concerts and other electoral events in the square in front of the National Opera and Balley Theatre, and on February 26 in the Piata Marii Adunari Nationale square.
Analyst Vladimir Socor on elections in RM
During a meeting with the journalists and a TV show at the Moldova 1, the well-known American analyst (specialised on Moldova) Vladimir Socor talked electoral campaign in the Republic of Moldova which according to him was a “civilised” one. President Voronin’s invitation to international institutions to delegate observers was another positive factor mentioned by the analyst. In addition, he spoke positively of the policies promoted by the President Voronin in view of accession to EU and settling Transdnistrian conflict.
On the contrary, Socor was quite critical of the leaders of Blocul Moldova Democrata (BMD) — Serafim Urechean, Dumitru Braghis and Dumitru Diacov whom he dubbed as “nomenclature troika” willing to “serve two masters”, having a mentality of “selsoviet chief” rather than state dignitary (cited by BASA-press). He also referred to the post-election alliances that might be forged. According to him a national consensus might be reached if Christian-Democrats, Social-Democrats, liberal and socio-liberal wings of the BMD would cooperate with the Party of Communists, which in his opinion is morphing into a socialist party of European type.
Opposition has not reacted yet, however it is very unlikely that they would be happy about the said discourse.