The leader of Moldova Democrata Bloc Serafim Urechean met US Ambassador to OSCE, Stephan Minikes and draw his attention to “double standards” applied by the incumbent governing in the electoral campaign. A press release of the MDB reads “Stephan Minikes was concerned by the arrests and harassment of the electoral contestants, involvement of police and administrative resources, and intimidation of the voters”. According to the same press release “American diplomat stated that self-withdrawal of Pro TV and Pervii Kanal and of many other media outlets from covering elections raised many questions. Especially as those channels feature in different manners the activity of the ruling party”.
CEC on Transdniestria
CEC passed a resolution in response to the appeal submitted by MDB as regards conditions for RM citizens residing in Transdniestria to exercise their voting rights in the March 6 parliamentary elections.
to take notice of MDB appeal;
to ask Transdniestrian authorities to communicate within three days their commitment to guarantee the following in the region:
compliance to and enforcement of international standards and RM laws;
free circulation of people, especially electoral contestants;
elimination of all barriers, taxes, payments at the administrative border with Transdniestrian region;
free circulation of electoral materials (newspapers, magazines, flyers, etc.);
free circulation of written media;
security of electoral contestants;
free access of domestic and international observers;
premises granted for the electoral contestants to meet with the voters;
enforcement and observance of regulations on elections coverage in mass media;
ensuring level playing field for all electoral contestants as regards local media;
ensuring level playing field as regards financial and material resources;
ensuring free of charge transportation for electoral contestants (except for taxi);
ensuring level playing field as regards electioneering;
providing free air time to all electoral contestants at the local broadcasting institutions as provided by the Electoral Code.
CEC would decide on opening polling stations in Transdniestria only after receiving a positive response from Tiraspol as regards guaranteeing all the aforesaid requirements.
Opposition believes that the requirements set forward by the CEC are not observed even by Moldovan authorities, not to speak of the Transdniestrian region.
ODIHR started activity
At the initiative of Ministry of External Affairs of RM, ODIHR of the OSCE started its monitoring mission in the Republic of Moldova headed by Ambassador Istvan Gyarmati. The mission includes twelve experts. In addition sixteen LTOs arrived to Moldova to monitor the electoral process in its seven regions. OSCE/ ODIHR stated that it would invite 150 STOs to monitor the voting procedure on March 6, 2005. Albeit all of them had official invitations they faced difficulties in getting accreditation.
BASA-press agency reported that allegedly Russian Federation encouraged RM citizens residing in Transdniestria to vote for MDB. According to undisclosed sources Igor Smirnov met representatives of President Putin in Moscow. Reportedly, the main reason for Smirnov’s visit to Moscow was “recent actions undertaken by Chisinau to diminish Russia’s influence in the region”. This refers to “RM’s appealed to OSCE Permanent Council to enlarge the existing negotiation format; to establish an international assessment mission that would inspect munitions warehouses, as well as all the military and paramilitary forces located in the region; to adopt a Declaration on Stability and Security of RM; to draw the attention to Russia’s failure to comply with travelling requirements to the eastern regions of RM”.
In response, Russian Foreign Affairs accused Moldovan authorities of setting an economic and diplomatic blockade on Transdniestria, trying to eliminate it from the negotiations process. Russian side indicated that it would examine the possibility of signing the Declaration on Stability and Security of RM, only if Moldova renewed negotiations on Kozak memorandum.
To thwart Moldova’s actions, allegedly Smirnov coordinated in Moscow the plan of interference in the electoral campaign of RM by allowing citizens residing in Transdniestria to take part in the parliamentary elections and encouraging them to vote for MDB or “Patria-Rodina” Bloc.
Noteworthy, in 2001 President Voronin and Smirnov signed a document recognizing IDs issued by Transdniestrian authorities, therefore there are no impediments for the citizens residing in Transdniestria to exercise their voting rights.
Six more contestants
CEC registered 6 new candidates: Andrei Ivantoc, political detainee in Transdniestria; Tudor Tataru, actor and producer; Alexandru Arseni, engineer; Busuioc Alexei, Mayor of Capaclia village, Cantemir rayon; Fiodor Ghelici, teacher; Victor Slivinschi, student at the Moldovan State University.
The deadline for registering electoral contestants expired on February 4. In total, CEC registered 19 electoral contestants: 9 political parties and blocs and 10 independent candidates. Until February 11, CEC may decide on registration of other candidates who submitted the necessary documents prior to February 4.
CEC registered Andrei Ivantoc as an independent candidate mentioning that he was “political detainee of the Tiraspol secessionist regime for 13 years”. “Andrei Ivantoc was represented at CEC by his wife Eudochia and by the newspaper Ziarul de Garda. Eudochia Ivantoc stated that Andrei would continue to fight for his freedom, for the freedom of Transdniestria, for human rights, specifically for the rights of the victims of the secessionist regime” (after Ziarul de Garda).
Prodemo Association reported that the total weekly turnout of the publications supportive of ruling party was 177,850; while that of publications supportive of opposition — 312,528, with the difference of 134,678 copies. In November the difference was 50,500 copies per week in favour of opposition.