Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Moldova's parliamentary elections in April: One fourth of electorate left aside?

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Update (6 April): Election results and election observation reports
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On 5 April this year, the Republic of Moldova (a landlocked country between Romania and Ukraine) will hold parliamentary elections.

Nico Popescu has written an article on this subject, and the main paragraph is:
Perhaps the best news is that the outcome of the elections is not known. That is a huge achievement for a post-Soviet state. Pretty much everywhere in the region (with the exception of Ukraine, and to some extent Georgia) election results are known well in advance, and elections do not really matter. While the big picture for Moldova is good, zooming in on the electoral process is less reassuring. The elections are marred in irregularities. Harassment of opposition parties, NGOs and media is wide-spread and more systematic than ever before in Moldova’s short history of elections.
What is not mentioned in this article is that these elections have a true pan-European dimension: According to the statistics (e.g. from IOM), more than 500,000 Moldovans (out of a population of 4.5 million and around 2.5 million voting age citizens) live abroad, especially due to labour migration (which means: voting age population) to CIS and EU countries.

Whether these people living abroad will be able to vote is unclear, but seeing this petition from the Moldovan diaspora it seems as if only Moldovan embassies and consulates will be providing polling stations - not enough for the masses of emigrants.

This could mean that up to one fourth of the electorate will not be able to participate in the elections, a considerable and rather worrying figure!


Update (27 February): See also the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission website!

Update 2 (09 March): The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) remarked the following in a press release on a pre-electoral visit to Moldova:
More precisely, the pre-electoral delegation was informed of the following issues: use of administrative resources for the campaign, cases of pressure or intimidation, accuracy of voters’ lists.

The delegation welcomes the pluralism of opinions in the print media but is preoccupied by the problem of equal access of all political parties to the broadcast media, particularly those TV channels with nationwide coverage.


Update 3 (16 March): The OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission has issued its first interim report giving a general assessment of the present situation. Very interesting read with a lot of helpful backgrounds.

Update 4 (02 April): The second OSCE/ODIHR report has been issued, and it raises a number of critical issues, especially regarding the use of power by the governing party to intimidate the oppositions. A number of other organisational shortcomings are mentioned, too.

3 comments:

Flasher T said...

1) "Pretty much everywhere in the region (with the exception of Ukraine, and to some extent Georgia) election results are known well in advance"

Ahem!

2) "it seems as if only Moldovan embassies and consulates will be providing polling stations - not enough for the masses of emigrants."

This is a problem? How else would it be done? If the workers left, and went to places that don't have a Moldovan consulate nearby, that's their choice. If they want to vote, they can travel to an embassy, or request a postal vote.

Julien Frisch said...

The legislation of Moldova does not foresee postal vote, and the number of voters one polling station (i.e. one diplomatic mission) can handle per day usually can not exceed a few thousand.

In some countries like Spain where there are many Moldovans don't even have a Moldovan diplomatic mission.

But it is correct: You could blame Moldovan migrants for this situation. But I wouldn't...

Flasher T said...

Ah see, this is where we can point to the EU and say it's useful: in a country with no diplomatic representation from my own state, I can turn to any EU-member's consulate for assistance. :)