* Moldova’s parliamentary election campaign began Monday amid concerns that Russia is seeking to influence the results in the former Soviet republic.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for 24 February 2019. The current political context is characterised by public distrust in state institutions amid ongoing corruption investigations and economic stagnation. The governing coalition continues to consolidate its influence by garnering support from an increasing number of members of parliament (MPs) from other factions and local government representatives.
The recent lack of validation of the Chisinau mayoral election by the courts following a complaint resulted in a series of protests against the ruling party and judiciary and more broadly diminished confidence in state institutions. Many ODIHR NAM interlocutors expect the events around the mayoral election to impact the conduct of the upcoming parliamentary elections.
- Since the 2014 parliamentary elections, the majority of parliamentary factions have significantly changed their composition. The 101-member parliament comprises 51 members from the governing parties (Democratic Party 42 and European People`s Party 9), and 44 members in opposition; the Party of Socialists (PSRM) 24, Liberal Party 9, Party of Communists (PCRM) 6, Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM) 5, and 6 non-aligned members (elected mostly on PLDM and PRCM lists).
- The electoral legal framework primarily includes the Constitution, the Election Code and the Law on Political Parties, and is supplemented by other laws and Central Election Commission (CEC) regulations. In 2017, the Election Code underwent a series of significant amendments, including to introduce a mixed electoral system. Of the 101 MPs, 50 will be elected by proportional closed-lists in a single nationwide constituency, and 51 MPs in as many single-member constituencies. Other amendments focus on constituency delimitation and the funding of parties and electoral campaigns and additionally on the election administration, and voter and candidate registration.
The 2017 amendments were reviewed by ODIHR and the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission). On certain issues, previous recommendations have been partially addressed, including on constituency delimitation, enhancing women’s participation, campaign finance contributions, and out-of-country voting. Many other recommendations on a range of issues remain to be addressed.
An ad hoc boundary commission was established to delineate majoritarian constituencies. The majority of representatives from opposition parties boycotted participation in the commission’s work due to not supporting the change of electoral system. A number of stakeholders alleged that many commission members were affiliated with the main governing party and raised concerns about criteria to establish constituencies, in particular, the two constituencies in Transniestria and three for citizens abroad, which were noted to challenge the principle of vote equality. The elections will be managed by a revised structure of election administration that includes the CEC, Constituency Electoral Councils (CoECs) and Precinct Electoral Bureaus.
Candidates can participate through closed party lists, in an electoral bloc, or in single-mandate constituencies either by party nomination or independently. New provisions require candidates to obtain an integrity certificate, which includes information on any legal constraints to stand as candidate or to hold public office and personal financial disclosure.
The lack of validation of the May 2018 Chisinau mayoral election by the courts following a complaint resulted in a series of protests against the ruling party and judiciary and more broadly diminished confidence in state institutions.
- The CEC established that election was won by Andrei Nastase in the second round. The law provides that elections are validated by a court. On 19 June 2018, the Chisinau City Court issued a judgment that the election could not be validated based on a complaint which alleged that Mr. Nastase received support from abroad and campaigned on election day. The Court’s decision was upheld by the Chisinau Court of Appeal on 21 June. Many interlocutors expected the events around the mayoral election to impact the conduct of the upcoming parliamentary elections.
- The media and advertisement markets are dominated by two holding companies affiliated with the two largest parties in parliament. The circumstances under which other media outlets struggle for financial sustainability could limit media pluralism and the independence of editorial policies and would likely limit the media coverage of contestants not affiliated with media owners. Media representatives noted the complexity of covering the upcoming elections and pointed to harassment of individual journalists, limitations to access information, including on candidate registration and campaign financing.
The campaign lasts from 30 days until the day before election day. Campaigns are financed from contestants` own funds and donations. Funding from foreign, state, public and anonymous sources and from non-profit and charitable organizations and trade unions is prohibited. Donations from out-of-country income remain prohibited.
The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: globalsecurity.org