Everyone should contribute to the organization and holding of free and fair elections, mainly the voters, who take part in the process and decide each of them apart who will enter the future Parliament. But the main role in this process is played by Parliament that manages and models the legal framework, Promo-LEX programs director Pavel Postica 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.
He said the next parliamentary elections will be based on a new electoral system for Moldova and this is discussed and criticized by many players. But there is a law passed by the legislature and the elections will be held based on the new, mixed system either they like it or not. “Parliament voted and modeled the system and the main dominant parties that are now in the legislature, both in the government and in the opposition, supported this bill. They are the main players that will benefit from this electoral system,” stated the programs director.
Pavel Postica noted the Central Election Commission also plays an important role in ensuring free and fair elections by enforcing the electoral legislation. A separate role is played by the electoral contenders and political parties that already started to prepare for the upcoming political struggle and the mass media that should contribute to free and fair elections by presenting the information about the elections neutrally, objectively and impartially. The courts of law should acts as referees so as to prevent the repeat of the situation concerning the invalidation of the Chisinau mayoral elections. The observers also play a significant role in all the stages of the electoral process, either they represent NGOs or parties.
Speaking about the risks of the mixed electoral system, Pavel Postica said any electoral system has its advantages and disadvantages. “The mixed electoral system advantages the dominant parties. In the Republic of Moldova, there are now two such parties – the Party of Socialists and the Democratic Party. These two parties that promoted the mixed electoral system are the main beneficiaries of this system. Not I say this, but the studies and analyses that were carried out not only in the Republic of Moldova, but also in other countries where such systems were applied. An independent candidate practically cannot compete with a dominant party even in a single-member constituency,” he stated, noting the risks can materialize and it happened so in the elections held in Chisinau this spring and also in Jora de Mijloc village, where the elections were bought by parties that invested large sums of money, but no one was penalized.
The programs director of Promo-LEX also said the mixed electoral system can lead to the underrepresentation of the players who will enter Parliament. “Most probably, we will have not many single-member constituencies where the election runners will score 50% and over. Only in such a case can we speak about the representation of the majority as democracy, from my viewpoint, is the domination of the majority over the minority. It could be the opposite under the mixed electoral system and the voters should be prepared for this,” stated Pavel Postica. He noted the citizens should understand that there will be only one round of voting at the 2019 parliamentary elections and their choice should be a conscious one as there won’t be the second chance.
As to the eventual signs of vote rigging or non-rigging that the people should know, Pavel Postica said the elections would be free and fair if there weren’t such situations when the priest in the locality recommends how to vote, when an electoral concert is held and the real costs are then indicated in parties’ financial reports, when employees from different spheres are forced to come to meetings with different candidates or to take part in meetings in support of different candidates, and when the people would have free access to different TV channels and other media outlets to analyze different viewpoints about different election runners.
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.