Congress of Local and Regional Authorities recommends improvements of Moldova’s legal framework for elections

In a Recommendation adopted on September 28, concerning the 20 October 2019 local elections in the Republic of Moldova, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe called on the Moldovan authorities to improve the legal framework and the practical management of electoral processes, IPN reports, quoting a press release of the CoE.

This Recommendation was included in an election observation report which was foreseen for the spring session of the Congress in March 2020 but had to be postponed and added to the agenda of the Statutory Forum on 28 September.

The Congress welcomes that the October 2019 local elections in Moldova were effectively administered, and that the polling day was, in general, calm and orderly. It also acknowledges the efforts by the Moldovan authorities to improve the legal framework for elections, in particular amendments aiming to improve the financing of political parties and the regulation of electoral campaigns, but regrets that these amendments were adopted shortly before the elections, a practice which is contrary to the Venice Commission’s Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters.

The Congress invites the authorities to make a number of improvements including:

-revising the overly restrictive provisions for the registration of independent candidates, in particular the threshold of collected signatures required which is significantly higher than as recommended by the Venice Commission’s Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters;

- strengthening the participation of women in politics as voters and candidates, notably, the implementation in practice of the legal quota rules on a minimum of 40% for both sexes and the introduction of prioritization rules for women candidates, since women candidates are often placed last on the candidate list;

clarifying the legal terms “domicile” and “temporary residence” to tackle the issue of “artificial voter migration” during electoral processes;

- strengthening the oversight and enforcement powers of bodies responsible for administration of elections, monitoring of the media and supervision of financial matters.

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