Cornel Ciurea: It’s risky to come up with changes before 2019 elections

Political analyst Cornel Ciurea considers it’s risky to come up with changes before the 2019 parliamentary elections that will be held based on the mixed system as this would cast a shadow on the normal electoral process. In particular, the analyst does not recommend annulling electoral silence and holding a referendum on the election day. “Such changes generate questions and we should avoid them,” he stated in the public debate “Stake of free and fair elections. Who ensures them, who respects them?” that was the 97th instalment of the series of debates “Developing political culture through public debates” organized by IPN Agency and Radio Moldova.

The political analyst noted particular concerns about the future elections appeared after the Chisinau mayoral elections of June 2018. Such concerns existed earlier too as they are related not particularly to the invalidation of the elections in the municipality, these being an additional pretext only. The main concerns are yet related to the replacement of the electoral system that wasn’t accepted by the opposition and later by Brussels and the Venice Commission that gave a somehow unjust verdict, according to him.

Cornel Ciurea said at the beginning of this summer, the EU agreed that the elections of next February will be the main test of democracy despite the electoral system that apparently serves the interests of the government. But local elections took place later in Chisinau and that unhappy invalidation of the elections generated concern inside the EU and the opposition and the latter fueled further the concerns about the possible unfair elections. “However, we should admit that the decision was taken following violations committed by the candidate who won the elections and Brussels and the opposition forget to say this. I can describe this punishment disproportionate, not yet arbitrary,” stated Cornel Ciurea, noting the government is apparently to blame for what is going on and for the fears that the elections could be free, but not fair or neither free nor fair. There are cardinal political elements that determine a possible unhappy denouement of these elections. These include the predisposition of all the payers, including the power and the opposition, to violate the rules of the game. The ostensible inability of the players to accept the final and decisive result of the elections, if this is unfavorable to them, is another element.

As to the elections in single-member constituencies, the analyst said the parties with decent people and local bodies will gain more than the parties without local bodies. But the Democratic Party cannot be called a dominant  party. From electoral viewpoint, only the Party of Socialists is such a party. “I agree that this system could favor the two parties, but not because they are dominant, if only in the case of the Socialists, but because they have a solid local network and surely because 60% of the mayors in the country are members of one party, the PDM,” stated Cornel Ciurea, wondering to what extent the use of administrative resources is legal and if a mayor can support a party. According to him, if the mayor does this in accordance with the law, there is no problem here.

The analyst noted in essence many of the problems mentioned in the debate are technical in character. A part will be solved, others will not be event felt, while the third could cause serious problems. However, the risks of having unfree and unfair elections reside in political constraints. “There are enormous temptations to break the law. The PDM, which will always be blamed in case of violations, treats these elections with optimism and considers it will have a god score, while the fact that the EU somehow says it will not apply penalties, but will wait for the elections to draw conclusions creates particular relaxation,” said Cornel Ciurea, noting the elections will be held in more or less optimal conditions as bitterness hasn’t yet reached paradoxical levels.

The debate “Stake of free and fair elections. Who ensures them, who respects them?” forms part of the series of public debates staged by IPN News Agency and Radio Moldova as part of the project “Developing political culture through public debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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