Protest against change in electoral system in front of Parliament Building

Mobilized by civil society, several thousand people came together in front of the Parliament Building in Chisinau on June 11 to protest against the change in the electoral system and to seek the withdrawal of the bill on the switchover to the mixed-member electoral system from the Parliament’s agenda. Representatives of the opposition – Party “Platform Dignity and Truth”, Party “Action and Solidarity”, Liberal Democratic Party and “Our Party” – joined in the protest. The participants adopted a resolution on the non-admission of changes to the electoral system of the Republic of Moldova, addressed to the foreign partners, including the Venice Commission, European Commission and European Parliament, IPN reports.

The protesters chanted: “Union, Moldovans!”, “Up to victory!”, “We are the people!”, “Down with Plahotniuc!”, “We are right!”, “We do not change the system, we change you!”, “We resist!”, etc.

Expert Sergiu Tofilat said the people came to protest because they are not heard in Parliament. “The ruling thieves, realizing that they do not have chances to enter Parliament after the next elections, want to change the rules of the game. They want to steal our last right – to have free and democratic elections. Here and now we combine our forces to get rid of this dictatorship. There will be democratic competition from now on. Regardless of our political and cultural options and of the spoken language, we face the same danger and should thus unite to get rid of it,” he stated.

Igor Botan, executive director of the Association for Participatory Democracy (ADEPT), said the people protest not only because they are lied to, but also because they disagree with the way in which the bills to change the electoral system were introduced in the agenda. The replacement of the electoral system is aimed at distorting the people’s will and the protest and demand to withdraw the bill to change the electoral system are absolutely legitimate.

Vladislav Gribincea, director of the Legal Resources Center, noted that the people would have protested against the electoral system change anyway, no matter who submitted the proposal. “The last thing that we still have – the right to vote – risks being taken from us by this bill. We cannot accept this. The bill was introduced to distract attention from the theft of the US$ 1 billion,” stated Vladislav Gribincea.

“We say “no” to the attempt to further diminish this fragile democracy that has been built during 25 years. They try to change the electoral system in order to hide what has been done during the last few years, including the laundering of money through the banking and legal systems and the attempt to legalize this money. They now try to legalize it by another method and we put up residence,” said Transparency International Moldova director Lilia Carasciuc.

Deputy chairman of “Our Party“ Dumitru Chubashenko said President Igor Dodon and the Democratic leader Vladimir Plahotniuc are together making effort to change the electoral system. “When we called on you to vote for Dodon in the runoff elections, this assured us that he would fight the Plahotniuc regime. He lied to us and betrayed us. Today Dodon lies to and betrays the entire population,” he stated.

Andrei Nastase, chairman of the Party “Platform Dignity and Truth”, said not new electoral systems, but the problems faced daily by the citizens of Moldova, such as the low salaries, high taxes and high prices, should be the preoccupation of the government. “This government transformed our country into an enclave of corruption, poverty and humiliation. Instead of talking about decent living conditions, taxes, exaggerated fines, more accessible medical services, they speak about the electoral system. They want our country to become a country of despair. They built state policies based on the people’s despair,” stated Andrei Nastase.

The protest organizers said they will continue to mount protests if the authorities do not withdraw the bill to change the electoral system from the agenda.

According to the General Police Inspectorate, the protest in Chisinau was peaceful and involved about 2,000 people. The organizers reported yet higher figures.

While a protest against the change in the electoral system was mounted in Chisinau, organized by civil society, local civil society staged demonstrations in support of the mixed-member electoral system in Ialoveni, Cahul and Edinet towns.