On February 2, President of the RM Vladimir Voronin met with PACE Monitoring Commission, Josette Durrieu and Andre Kvakkestad. Upcoming elections were high on the agenda. In response to PACE representatives who claimed Transdniestrian authorities were willing to allow elections to be held in the eastern regions of RM, Voronin stated “due to the fact that the territory is under the control of the legal state authorities, and there is no certainty on the security and fairness of the electoral process, the modality used in the previous elections would be used. Citizens of the Republic of Moldova residing in Transdniestria would be able to vote in the polling stations on the right bank of Dniester, while it is hoped Tiraspol leaders would not preclude them to exercise their constitutional right to vote”.
The President “reconfirmed the commitment of the country leadership to ensure free and fair elections”. Council of Europe rapporteurs stressed that “RM is among the few CIS countries that has had a positive experience in conducting parliamentary elections”.
State media reported that the parties mentioned the importance of “preserving an impeccable image of our country in this respect, especially given the country’s aspirations to join EU”.
It wasn’t mentioned that RM “acquired that impeccable image” during 1994- 2001. After 2003 OSCE monitoring mission reported “negative tendencies” in the electoral process and behaviour of authorities, police, biased public media.
SDPM asks OSCE to get involved
Social-Democratic Party of Moldova (SDPM) addressed a special message to international organisations, Embassies and media on unequal and unfair conditions of campaigning in view of March 6, 2005 elections.
SDPM reports many abuses in the way the campaign is unfolding: a) Party of Communists was registered with the CEC by violating the provisions of the Electoral Code; b) there is no independent judiciary in Moldova; c) Party of Communists is controlling state media, which is covering in detail the activity of the ruling party, thereby electioneering for the Party of Communists; d) police is intimidating opposition and citizens taking party in such meetings; e) printing houses publishing electoral materials of the Communists’ foes are daily controlled and harassed by the controlling and security bodies. Therefore, printing houses refuse to print electoral materials.
SDPM believes “all of that undermines the freedom and fairness of the electoral campaign. March 6 elections have been rigged already” and demands “prompt interference of international organisations, so that they could make use of all the diplomatic channels at hand to determine Communist authorities to ensure a level playing field for all contestants and free and fair elections”.
Moldova Democrata Bloc (MDB) notified courts, law enforcement forces, broadcasting and electoral bodies that “after March 6, 2005 their behaviour will be under scrutiny. The first to be sanctioned for the violations committed during their governing and electoral campaign will be the moguls heading the incumbent ruling. Heads of the institutions that break the law, serving the interests of the Party of Communists would also go to trial”.
Would it be crowded?
Great many sources from Transdniestria and RM claim that Transdniestrian authorities were interested to have crowds at the special polling stations opened for the RM citizens residing in Transdniestria. Allegedly, Transdniestrian authorities would provide transportations for those willing to vote on March 6. Independent sources claim “official Tiraspol propaganda calls people to vote either for MDB or «Patria-Rodina»”.
US and OSCE watching RM
US Ambassador to OSCE, Stephan Minikes paid a visit to Chisinau. He already met representatives of Coalition 2005, electoral contestants, and is due to meet CEC.
Minkes visit comes at a time Russia talks of OSCE reforms, especially within ODIHR based in Warsaw. It is worth mentioning that on July 3, 2004 several CIS states, including RM, signed an anti-OSCE Declaration.
Third monitoring report
On February 3, Consortium on monitoring elections formed by CHDOM, LADOM and ADEPT, part of the “Coalition 2005”, released its third report, covering January 16–31, 2005. Apart from some reserves, the report sees as positive CEC’s approval of Instruction on particularities of voting on March 6, 2005. Similarly, the report notes certain negative tendencies, namely: aggression and intimidation of certain opposition candidates, abusive use of public resources for electioneering purposes, interference of the law enforcement forces in the electoral process.
Spokespersons of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova, Alexandru Petkov addressed the Coalition 2005 drawing its attention to the failure to mention in Report no. 2 of January 27, 2005 many violations of the electoral law committed by MDB and SDPM: a) MDB hosted on December 19, 2004 a rally where it electioneered directly, thereby violating provisions of the Electoral Code specifying that electioneering is only allowed after the contestant is officially registered with the electoral bodies; b) Media published a number of materials electioneering in favour of MDB and SDPM, again violating the electoral law; c) Materials bearing the MDB slogan “Together for a better life” and SDPM’s “Spring is coming” are distributed throughout the entire country by violating the Electoral Code.
Mr. Petkov stated “PCRM is willing to cooperate with representatives of the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections in view of ensuring free and fair elections in conformity with the electoral law”, and asked the Coalition 2005 to comment “the failure to report the aforesaid cases”.