On 1 February, CEC registered as electoral competitors the Peasants’ Christian Democratic Party (PCDP), the independent candidate Maia Laguta, Chairperson of Dwellings Association, and the independent candidate Stefan Matei, Chairman of the Charity Foundation “Sons”. Thus, the total number of electoral competitors has reached 13. The deadline for submission of requests for the registration of electoral candidates is 3 February.
The Government’s press service has made public a statement, which establishes “a new strain in the situation in the Transnistrian region”, accusing its authorities of having lately undertaken “actions of mobilization, of concentrating armed units and fight equipment in the security zone, of holding a wide propagandistic campaign aimed at intimidating the region’s inhabitants with an alleged military danger, which they claim is coming from the authorities of the Republic of Moldova and its people. At the same time, the number of Transnistrian armed formations at the borders of the villages located on the left side of Nistru river, which are under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Moldova, has increased several times”.
The statement says that the actions of the Transnistrian authorities are mainly aimed at destabilizing the situation in the Republic of Moldova on the eve of the parliamentary elections. Also, it highlights that “it is also obvious that it is by such inadequate actions that the Transnistrian leaders are attempting to influence the electoral process in Moldova, preparing the way for the coming to power of their political and economic partners”. It does not expressly specify who “the political partners” that the Transnistrian leaders would like to see come to the power would be, but this can easily be inferred from the official press and anonymous sources affiliated with PCRM (Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova).
An electronic source has begun to republish the article “KGB Alternative for Bessarabia”, which came out on 18 March 2002 in the newspaper ZIUA and was subsequently relayed by the Moldovan official press. The article had been publicized on the eve of the anticipated local elections planned for 7 April 2002, which were canceled as a result of a Constitutional Court decision. The article was directed against the Chisinau Mayor, Serafim Urechean, who in the current electoral campaign is the leader of BMD. The publication had started up the quasi-continuous campaign of accusations against Urechean, presuming him of being involved in corruption actions.
Political ethics in Moldova
The newspaper Communist, no. 8 of 2 February 2005 has published the article “Incident or order?” dedicated to the tragic accident, which resulted in the death of the candidate no. 38 on the PRCM list, Mr. Gheorghe Benderschi. The article’s author says that “State authorities fight against the corruption octopus “from above”. Benderschi organized the fight “from below”, and asks himself “who needed Benderschi’s death (if it was a murder indeed) — it is pretty clear”. The author cites the tile of the newspaper Vecernii Kisinev: “If Benderschi’s case is not investigated honestly and transparently, Urechean will have his own Gongadze”. This article correlates with another article published on 1 February 2005 on an Internet site, which said: “in both cases, the reasons for the tragedies are not elucidated, and the environments are mystified and politicized. Kucima — Gongadze. Urechean — Benderschi”.
It seems obvious that these sources are insinuating against the leaders of the main political entities involved in the electoral campaign. We recall that Leonid Kucima, ex-President of Ukraine was accused by a bodyguard of his that in 2000 he had ordered the assassination of the Ukrainian reporter Gheorghii Gongadze. In November 2003, the head of the state awarded Leonid Kucima the highest state decoration of Moldova “Ordinul Republicii”.
Police and image of Moldova
Reporters of the Commission for Monitoring Moldova within APCE, Josette Durrieu and Andre Kvakkestad, have met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the self-proclaimed Nistrean Republic, Valerii Litcai. Their discussions focused on the subject of the parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova. They mainly tackled the issue of exercise of the right to vote by Moldovan citizens living in Transnistria. It was established that those will be able to exercise their right to vote in the 6–12 polling stations to be opened especially for this purpose in the localities on the right side of Nistru that are under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Moldova.
Litkai did not hesitate to insinuate that the planned elections in Moldova could be falsified, invoking that: a) Moldovan authorities had not undertaken anything to ensure the exercise of the right to vote by Moldovan citizens from Transnistria, because they had not addressed the Transnistrian authorities with a request for opening polling stations, as the Russian and Ukrainian authorities had done, b) Moldovan citizens from Transnistria would be deprived from active voting, since no Moldovan citizens residing in Transnistria have been included in the lists of electoral competitors: “These will be Bessarabian elections, to a Bessarabian parliament”, c) the Moldovan electoral system allows throwing whatever number of ballots into ballot boxes, d) because CEC does not have a database with information about the number of Moldovan electors and mystification would be possible in connection with the drawing up of electorate lists at the polling stations especially designed for Transnistrian electors.
Litkai said that, for these reasons, “the presence of foreign observers would be extremely important”.
In fact, Transnistrian authorities have always impeded the exercise of the right to vote by Moldovan citizens residing in Transnistria. Litkai’s statements are mainly directed against the Moldovan authorities and the CEC, being aware that they cannot allow themselves treat Transnistria as a foreign subject, as Russia and Ukraine do. The experience with and statistics of the previous 3 parliamentary electoral campaigns and one presidential campaign did not highlight any kind of danger of falsifications related with ensuring the right to vote for Transnistrian citizens.
The official newspaper Moldova Suverana No. 17 of 2 February 2005 published a political commentary entitled “New electoral tactics and behavior deficiencies”, which states that “the lack of behavioral culture of the Moldovan society is for the first time used in the short history of Moldova… We all know the level of our police… We all have been brutalized by policemen at least once. And now, several political characters are trying to use the behavioral deficit of law-enforcement bodies for electoral purposes”.
This is about PSDM (Social-Democratic Party of Moldova) leaders, which raise the alarm that its activists are obstructed and maltreated by the police and state that “at present, the elections cannot be qualified as democratic anymore, because law-enforcement bodies are trying to serve state authorities in a primitive way”.
The article’s author continues: “We all know what kind of police we have and we know that we should not challenge it. It is a pity that due to such behavioral deficiencies of the policemen, the image of our country has to suffer. PSDM brings such cases to the notice of international structures on any occasion and comments on them as it is convenient to it. The opposition speculates on any behavioral deficiency on behalf of law-enforcement bodies and labels them as direct orders from state authorities. Policemen have arrested a member of an opposition party? This is political scuffle… A direct order from Voronin”.
“And after such examples of the electoral campaign we are surprised that the population is deeply disgusted not only with the police actions, but also with politicians and life in general?” — the author asks himself and probably thinks that it is timely to promote political ethics, as MS does in accordance with the Government Decree No. 365 of 5 June 95.
Newspaper FLUX of 2 February 2005 publishes Petru Bogatu’s editorial entitled “Why isn’t Andrei Stratan on the communists’ lists?” The author claims that the head of the state and leader of the PC (Communist Party) would have a ministry staff renovation stratagem, which would be imposed by the need to promote a policy of European integration of the Republic of Moldova, and which he implements in phases. As a proof of this serves the promotion to ministerial positions of relatively young and competent individuals, such as Marian Lupu, Victoria Iftodi, Zinaida Greceanii, Andrei Stratan. The author makes it clear that the absence of Mr. Andrei Stratan, Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of Moldova, from PCRM list of candidates is not accidental. He thinks that Stratan would brought electoral points to PCRM, and his absence from the list would be part of the stratagem, whose final goal would be to promote him to the position of President of the Republic of Moldova as a politically unaffiliated candidate. This would be convenient for the Republic of Moldova, PCRM and his leader, who would be able to take the office of Prime Minister. The author concludes: “Thus, we can presume that Andrei Stratan is the electoral stratagem of the communist leader. We shall see if the democratic electorate will be strong enough to override it”.
The Government has approved a 15–20 percent increase in the salaries of some employees from the budgetary sphere (nurses, watchpersons, social assistants, veterinary doctors etc.). The increase will take place as of 1 February 2005.
The Government has also decided to increase the “share of the number of budget-paid students to receive state stipends, from 40 to 70 percent”.
BASA-press Agency states that this is the third such increase made by the Government in the past 3 months.