Moldova Urged To Probe Election Abuse Allegations

Western countries and watchdogs have recognised the results of the February 24 elections in Moldova - but have called on the authorities to investigate widespread allegations of voting fraud and misuse of public resources.

The US ambassador in Moldova Dereck J. Hogan (R) discusses with his French counterpart Pascal Le Deunff (L) after the preliminary results of parliamentary elections held on 24 February 2019. Photo: EPA/Doru Dumitru

The US State Department on Wednesday said parliamentary elections held last Sunday in Moldova, in which pro-Russian Socialists did best, were “competitive and generally respected fundamental rights”.

But it also agreed with the OSCE preliminary report, which noted many allegations of bribery and the use of administrative resources to aid the campaign of the ruling Democratic Party, PDM.

The US has urged the Moldovan authorities to investigate the allegations and form a new government as soon as possible.

“The United States urges Moldova’s leaders to move quickly to form a new government that respects the will of Moldovan voters and serves the Moldovan people by fighting corruption, promoting judiciary reforms, and securing Moldova’s progress on its democratic trajectory,” the US said in a press release.

An OSCE report released one day after the elections on February 25 stressed that generally the elections were held in a correct framework, but noted allegations of pressure on public employees, strong indications of vote buying and the misuse of state resources.

The main issue concerned the multiple votes of 38,000 Moldovan citizens living in the breakaway Russian-controlled region of Transnistria.

Many were brought to polling stations by bus and some told independent media in Moldova that they were promised up to 20 US dollars for their votes.

The results showed they voted mainly for the left-wing parties, two out of three of which have political programmes that favour close ties to Moscow.

Rebecca Harms, head of the European Parliament’s delegation of election observers, said on Monday that changes to the electoral system and the simultaneous conduct of a referendum had also “clearly led to confusion among voters”.

ENEMO the International Election Observation Mission concluded also in its preliminary report released on Tuesday that sporadic procedural mistakes and ambiguities had marred the vote, such as campaigning on election day, the use of video cameras, and the holding of a referendum on the same day as the election.

Romania, in line with the OSCE preliminary report, called for the election results to be carried out in a responsible manner, “to ensure the stability and preservation of the European perspective of Moldova”.

On Wednesday night the chief of monitoring mission of the NGO Promo-Lex, Pavel Postica, told a TV show that the reports of abuses must not be ignored.

“The role of these reports is to provide both the public and interested persons, especially electoral bodies, public authorities, in particular, parliament and government, suggestions to take measures so that such negative situations [like bribery allegations] are no longer admitted,” he said.

Madalin Necsutu