Statement of PACE pre-electoral delegation
A pre-electoral delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that visited Chisinau to assess the election campaign and the preparations for the Parliamentary elections to be held on 24 February 2019 was informed about a number of long-standing concerns which still remain unaddressed
In particular, cases of intimidation and violence against candidates; cases of hate speech, including against women candidates; cases of misuse of administrative resources; allegations of vote buying; cases of involvement of public employees in the signature collection procedure; cases of distribution of electoral gifts during election campaign events involving charitable foundations associated with certain political parties. For some interlocutors, the use of video-cameras in polling stations can be perceived as a means of pressurizing voters. The Assembly’s delegation condemns such practices in the election campaign and asks the relevant authorities to take all necessary measures to exclude them.
Many interlocutors mentioned the issue of a lack of confidence in state institutions resulting from multiple corruption scandals. This aspect is particularly worrying in a country with a high level of poverty. A considerable proportion of the general public is convinced that corruption is common in the Republic of Moldova and that the judiciary lack independence. With regard to campaign financing, while legal regulations on campaign and party finance have improved and the parties’ election expenditures reports are provided in due form, for many interlocutors, significant financial resources can still be used for electoral purposes without any efficient control by State authorities.
The delegation was informed about increasingly frequent cases of pressure, threats and verbal and physical attacks on independent journalists during the months preceding the elections. Media pluralism can be considered as limited because most of the media are affiliated with the main political parties and the advertising media is under their control.
In Chisinau, the delegation had meetings with the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament, the leaders or the representatives of the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary political parties participating in the elections, the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission, the Chairperson of the Audiovisual Coordinating Council, the Chairperson of the National Integrity Agency, representatives of civil society and the media, and representatives of the international community.