The CEC modified the concept and regulation on coverage of the electoral campaign by audiovisual institutions, in order to increase the antenna time available for candidates. All the public television channels will have to organise 90-minute debates with participation of electoral competitors every day. This time completes the 120 available weekly minutes. Also, the CEC obliged the public TV channels to organise debates on Sundays. Twelve hours will be available to electoral competitors to inform the channels about their agreement to attend debates.
Public and private channels which have accepted to cover the electoral campaign must include five electoral advertising materials in their news programmes. They will be broadcasted in line with order of requests received from candidates.
The Democratic Moldova Bloc (BMD), Social Democratic Party of Moldova and the social-political movement Ravnopravie do not warm this CEC decision. They said that a short time is left till elections and the CEC tries to legalise the scrutiny this way. Also, they seek the annulment of the right of private channels to refuse the coverage of electoral campaign.
CEC chairman Petru Raileanu said in turn that these modifications aim to enhance the access of population to electoral information through liberalisation of free antenna time for debates. Also, he underlined that no state institution can intervene in the editorial policy of a private channel, while their decision not to participate in the electoral campaign is legitimate.
BMD spokesman Victor Osipov stated to BASA that the BMD did not organise the Moscow congress. “We have been invited at this action and, as I know, BMD was not the only invited party. There is no other connection between BMD and organisers of this action,” Osipov underlined.
According to ASM representatives, a survey was undertaken among students of many institutions of higher learning based in Chisinau on February 18–21, 2005. The survey shows that about 67% of respondents want to attend the elections. Also, 70% of respondents who decided or did not decide yet to participate in scrutiny want to cast their ballots in the settlement where they have permanent residence, 21.5% want to vote at any polling station in the settlement where they study, on basis of the necessary CEC-issued certificate, while another 5.8% percent want to vote only at their institution.
At the same time, ASM is indignant that some organisations which self-name as “of students”, though they have nothing in common with life and university community, try to speak on behalf of all the students. ASM described “the actions of these organisations as a try to manipulate the public opinion.” “There are persons older than students among leaders of these organisations and, even more, they are representatives of a political bloc. Their activity is nothing but a try to satisfy the political interests of certain electoral competitors through manipulation of students.”
ASM calls on all Moldovan students “not to cede to manipulations of political forces, regardless their colour. Students represent one of the most intelligent categories and they are capable to decide alone whom to elect. The participation in the 2005 parliamentary elections is very important for students. ASM invites all its fellows to use their constitutional right to vote.”