Legal framework regulating referendum is not sufficiently solid, NGO

The legal framework for holding the local referendum on the dismissal of Dorin Chirtoaca from the post of mayor general of Chisinau municipality on November 19 is not sufficiently solid, Promo-LEX Association says in its first monitoring report on the preparations for the plebiscite and new local mayoral elections that will take place the same day in ten communities. The monitoring covered the period between October 4 and November 1, 2017, IPN reports.

Even if the Election Code includes a separate chapter on the local referendum, Promo-LEX warns that there are a number of shortcomings. The status of participant in the referendum is not sufficiently regulated. A restrictive approach was adopted to the categories of participants. The concept of election campaign is interpreted in the context of the plebiscite.

The Association’s observers also established faults in the Chisinau District Electoral Council’s decision not to register Dorin Chirtoaca as a participant in the referendum. As regards the election campaign prior to the referendum, the plebiscite participants, the Party of Socialists (PSRM) and the Liberal Party (PL), staged 58 propaganda activities – 50 and, respectively, 8.

During the first campaign week, the PSRM reported revenues of 377,000 lei and costs of over 370,000 lei, while the PL reported zero lei. But the PSRM staged additional electoral propaganda activities assessed at over 400,000 lei, including street advertising (100,000 lei) and promotional publicity (250,000 lei), with over 41,000 lei being spent on the payment of volunteers.

As to the November 19 local elections, Promo-LEX ascertained the low activism of the election contenders. There were recorded at least two cases of propaganda disseminated through social networking sites and at least one case of provision of services in the election campaign.

The observation mission of Promo-LEX consists of five long-term observers who will monitor the electoral process in all the electoral districts of Moldova during October 4 and November 19, 2017. On the election day, Promo-LEX will delegate by a short-term observer to supervise the elections at each polling place.

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