The fact that the voters in particular regions have electoral preferences is not something bad. The problem appears when these electoral preferences are influenced massively or are manipulated by particular factors, Mihai Mogîldea, team leader at the Institute for European Policies and Reforms, stated in IPN’s public debate “Particularities of voting in geographical areas and territorial-administrative units of the Republic of Moldova, including in the Transnistrian region and ATU Gagauzia: motives and effects”.
In the Republic of Moldova, the mass media are mainly politically controlled, this being practically the first factor underlined by the expert. “According to polls, four in five Moldovans use TV channels as a primary source of information. If we now look at the media landscape in the Republic of Moldova, we see how important and big the coverage of the channels with mainly Russian content is,” stated Mihai Mogâldea.
He considers the Party of Socialists and Igor Dodon have influence over a number of important TV channels with national coverage and this will favor them in the upcoming elections as these channels will disseminate messages for the Russian-speaking public – geopolitical messages with a content that would be sensitive for this Russian-speaking ethnic group in the Republic of Moldova.
The second factor noted by Mihai Mogîldea is the misuse of administrative resources for influencing the electoral options of the voters, while the third factor is the use of geopolitical messages and platforms in a move to influence voters’ preferences.
“The information that reaches the voters is rather significantly influenced by a misinformation strategy, by particular instruments for manipulating the perceptions of the general public that come primarily from the Russia Federation,” stated the expert, noting that this aspect is not typical for Moldova only, but for the whole region and the influencing of voter preferences in order to control their values and options related to the political life can generate a real danger to Moldova’s security.
Mihai Mogîldea made reference to the referendum held in Gagauzia in 2014, amid the war taking place in Ukraine, saying this is a very good example of a situation when these preferences and views can be manipulated so that they affect not only the electoral process, but Moldova’s society itself. “We must take these preferences into account, including when speaking about elections and electoral preferences.”
The public debate “Particularities of voting in geographical areas and territorial-administrative units of the Republic of Moldova, including in the Transnistrian region and ATU Gagauzia: motives and effects” was the fifth installment of the electoral series “We and the President: who elects who, who represents who” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.