The elections of July 11 were marked by multiple cases of abusive use of the administrative resource by election contenders, the equality of chances in elections being this way affected. Promo-LEX Association ascertained at least 291 such cases. Most of these refer to the involvement of electoral functionaries in the election campaign during working hours and attribution of merits for works or services covered with public funds to themselves, Nicolae Panfil, program director at Promo-LEX Association, stated in a news conference at IPN.
Nicolae Panfil said there is no clear definition of “administrative resource”. Such a resource refers not only to tangible assets, as the legislation of the Republic of Moldova provides, but also to intangible assets, such as a photo or the name. No penalty is stipulated for the use of the administrative resource. Promo-LEX said Parliament should return to bill No. 263 of June 12, 2020, which was given a first reading only and which provides solutions to the mentioned problem.
The reporting of costs to CEC by election runners is another problematic aspect noticed by Promo-LEX. The election contenders defectively reported the incurred costs. At least 11 million lei wasn’t reported by election contenders. The practice of monitoring the costs incurred in the campaign should be improved. Hate speech was used at a growing frequency in the campaign – at least 132 identified cases. Nicolae Panfil said the bills should be reconsidered so as to solve these problems.
On election day, Promo-LEX noticed a number of irregularities, such as attempts to offer money awards to voters, violation of the secrecy of ballot, campaigning or black PR inside polling stations, mistakes in the registers of voters, defective functioning of the state automated information system “Alegeri” and organized transportation of voters to polling stations.
Nadine Gogu, executive director of the Independent Journalism Center, noted that the media outlets, with some exceptions, had a biased conduct in the election campaign. They covered the activities of the election contenders not impartially and didn’t ensure full informing of the public about the electoral process and the method of voting. The ten TV channels monitored by the Center covered the election contenders disproportionately, especially as regards the Electoral Bloc of the Communists and the Socialists in relation to the other contenders. BeCS was the most visible competitor. It was considerably promoted by NTV Moldova and Primul în Moldova and was simultaneously favored by Moldova 1, Prime TVC and Publika TV by the time allotted to it. TV 6, RTR Moldova and Prime TV had an imbalanced editorial policy in favor of the Shor Party by allotting more time to the representatives of this party. Pro TV, Jurnal TV and TV 8 covered the campaign relatively impartially, except for the last week, when they disfavored BeCS. Online, the imbalanced and biased character in the covering of the election campaign was more pronounced. It was determined that BeCS was most often placed in a positive context, while PAS in a negative one.
The Audiovisual Council didn’t fulfill its supervision duties and didn’t take prompt action to ensure the impartial covering of the campaign by all the media service providers. The Independent Journalism Center considers the lack of promptitude and efficiency at this institution didn’t contribute to ensuring free and fair elections.
Secretary of the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (CALC) Elena Prohnitski, ADEPT vice director, said the number of polling stations accessible to persons with disabilities was under 1% in the elections. Only two election contenders published their platforms in Braille, as against one contender in the previous elections. This is a good, but minor result.