Chisinau, October 27, 2019 - The post-first round electoral environment can be assessed as generally calm, with first round results overall accepted by most electoral contestants. However, the legal framework insufficiently regulates key aspects for the second round. Unclear regulations may lead to inconsistent and contradictory interpretations of the law for the mayoral run-off, which does not provide legal certainty.
This was concluded in the Second Interim report for the period 21 – 25 October 2019, published by ENEMO International Election Observation Mission (IEOM) to Moldova.
“The second round for the election of mayors is vaguely regulated in the Electoral Code, leaving some key aspects unaddressed. ENEMO notes that this lack of clarity in provisions leaves space for inconsistent and contradictory interpretation of the law and possible misuse of legislative gaps”, states the report.
In general, the CEC operated collegially and complied with most legal deadlines. However, several decisions were late, such as addressing complaints submitted to the CEC before 20 October. Also, over the observation period, ENEMO noted an insufficient level of regulations and instructions issued by the CEC in order to address some of the shortcomings in the law.
“A number of electoral contestants (mayoral candidates and political parties) resumed campaigning immediately following Election Day on 21 October, despite official results and the holding of a second round not having yet been announced by the CEC. While fundamental freedoms were generally respected and contestants were able to campaign freely, concerns should be raised regarding the increase in “black PR” and hate speech in the period between two rounds amongst second round mayoral candidates”, quotes the report.
Additionally, the report quotes: “ENEMO raises concerns regarding allegations of misuse of administrative resources which were ongoing according to observers, namely the involvement of mayor office workers and independent candidates using their official positions to influence the election campaign, as well as the use of mayoral property and resources for campaigning”.
ENEMO highlights as a positive fact the coordination of the CEC with other state institutions regarding verification of individual donors of electoral contestants, as well as with the Public Procurement Agency regarding donations of legal entities and checking their engagement in public procurement contracts during the three years preceding the elections (or lack thereof).
“ENEMO notes that resolving election related complaints after Election Day, which the CEC did on 22 October, is a practice that should be avoided, since it undermines potential sanctions for breach of the electoral legislation. Moreover, ENEMO reiterates that not updating the online registry of complaints and appeals received by the CEC is a practice that damages transparency of the electoral process and limits the right to information of the public”, states the report.
DISCLAIMER: ENEMO’s international observation mission for Moldovan Local Election 2019 is financially supported by the European Union, Sweden and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The content of the document is the sole responsibility of ENEMO and does not necessarily represent the position of the donors.