All the election campaigns are held in accordance with the generally accepted norms that are valid for longer periods of time, but each campaign has its particularities that influence a lot its conduct and results. The special features of the current election campaign were identified and discussed by experts invited to IPN’s public debate “Particularities of election campaign 2021: traditions and new tendencies”.
According to the standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan, the difference between the features of the snap parliamentary elections and the ordinary parliamentary elections is significant. “The last take place regularly in more or less normal situations, while the snap parliamentary elections are the effect of the overcoming of a governmental or political crisis. The snap parliamentary elections are marked by a crisis and the overcoming of this crisis is a kind of leitmotif for the campaign prior to the snap elections. If we start from the current context, the snap parliamentary elections are regarded by particular political factors as the third round of the presidential defections. Other political players want the campaign preceding the snap parliamentary elections to have a different theme and other factors of attraction for the citizens,” stated the expert.
According to Igor Boțan, the Republic of Moldova is a parliamentary republic where the President’s powers are symbolical and this is the difference between the presidential elections and the parliamentary ones. “The parliamentary elections are the most important ones in the country as Parliament configures practically the administration of all the law enforcement and regulatory institutions. The local general elections are administrative elections. The difference between the three types of elections - presidential, parliamentary and local – is considerable from the viewpoint of the impact and electoral behavior. Things are very interesting and should be analyzed together. The results of the local elections show the political force of the party, where this has local bodies, councilors, mayors. If the party does not have them, it is a signal that the force of this party is very modest,” stated Igor Boțan.
The Central Election Commission is responsible for the electoral process, alongside Parliament, which designs the electoral legislation, the Government, which decides the financing for the election campaign, the Audiovisual Council, which regulates the coverage of the election campaign, and other institutions that, for example, regulate the personal data issue. The task of all these institutions is to ensure a free and fair electoral process.
Veaceslav Berbeca, political commentator of the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives ”Viitorul”, said the parliamentary elections are held in accordance with the Electoral Code. The electoral legislation used before the adoption of the law of 2017, which modified the electoral system in Moldova, was now restored. In 2017, the electoral system was changed and the MPs in February 2019 were elected based on a mixt electoral system – a part according to the proportional representation system, while the other part in single-member constituencies.
As regards the institutions responsible for holding the parliamentary elections, the political analyst said no major changes occurred in this regard. The CEC organizes the parliamentary elections and creates all the inferior bodies that hold these elections. There were constituted 38 de district electoral councils that coincide with the territorial-administrative borders of Moldova’s districts, plus Gagauzia, Chisinau, Bălți municipality, the council for the diaspora and for the Transnistrian region. The polling stations and the electoral bureaus of these stations will be created note later than 35 days before the elections.
Political analyst Cornel Ciurea said the electoral period usually lasts for two months. During one month the election contenders are registered, while during another month the election campaign is conducted. “The held discussions can trigger two changes in the electoral process. The first change is related to the diaspora and voting abroad. The last visit paid by MEPs to Chisinau reveals the interest of the right in increasing the number of polling stations abroad. It would be probably a disproportionate increase in favor of the polling stations from the West. The right banks a lot on a similar or even better result than the one achieved at the presidential elections. The financing of elections by the state is also discussed. On the one hand, the state does not have sufficient financial resources for increasing the number of polling stations, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration says the number of polling stations should be increased and uncertainty appears as it is not known what the CEC will decide and if enough financial resources are found for the purpose,” stated Cornel Ciurea.
According to him, the decision concerning voting in the diaspora is illustrative and emblematic. If the number of polling stations is raised, it will mean the state institutions favor the right. If the current number is kept, it means they plead for the status quo that is rather favorable to the left. The allocation of resources is also a politicized discussion. The left speaks about the underfinancing of elections as the Government’s reserve fund is empty, while the right says there are sufficient financial resources for the elections despite the pandemic.
The political analyst considers the problem of pandemic can be solved by obliging the electoral functionaries of polling stations to get a vaccine, as the President recommended. The voters will wear masks, will maintain social distancing and will obey other protection measures.
The public debate “Particularities of election campaign 2021: traditions and new tendencies” is the 187th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.