Public debate: “The first round of the "Only one out of many: who and why?" electoral debate


on the organization of the debate
The first round of the "Only one out of many: who and why?" electoral debate, which involves the participation of mayoral hopefuls for Chișinău municipality”. Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”

Held on 14 October 2019, Debate No.118 brought together: Lilia Ranogaeț, the National Liberal Party candidate; Vitalie Voznoi, Party of the European Left candidate; Serghei Toma, the Political Party "Partidul Oamenilor Muncii" candidate and Octavian Țîcu, the Political Party "Partidul Unității Naționale" candidate.

Lilia Ranogaeț, the National Liberal Party candidate, said that staying away is not good enough when you see that things are not going well and that you should take action if you have the skills and care about your country and your city. For these reasons, she decided to run for the mayoral seat of Chișinău. Her municipality development program focuses on an economic-social policies. According to her, many believe that the economy has nothing to do with the social dimension. However, if decent living conditions are created for the residents, then people remain and contribute to the development of the homeland.

The mayoral hopeful said that the main priority of her platform is the creation of social housing for young people, which would cost half of current market prices. In her opinion, if decent conditions are created for young people, they will be motivated to stay and work in their home country. This would lead to economic development. As mayor, she aims to solve the issue of traffic jams, to fight flooding and to create attractive neighborhoods in order to make an attractive city, including the suburbs. Having entrepreneurial experience, she intends to capitalize on all available opportunities in order to develop the city's economy, including by attracting investments.

Vitalie Voznoi, Party of the European Left candidate, said that along with his team, which consists of civic activists, has put forward a 5 chapter platform - free Chișinău, modern Chișinău, comfortable Chișinău, green Chișinău and social Chișinău. Although the objectives entailed in the chapters are similar to those of the other candidates, his platform puts forward real projects with a clear perspective. However, in his opinion, the implementation of these objectives and projects will only be possible if the Transparency Declaration will be implemented, which Voznoi's team asked other candidates to sign. According to him, this declaration, which contains 15 points, was elaborated by the civil society in 2018. The document holds provisions such as the elimination of free access restrictions for citizens to the City Hall building, the recertification of all City Hall officials within one year and the organization of employment competitions based on skills and merit, etc.

Vitalie Voznoi said that he hopes to be voted by citizens who are tired of corruption, which represent, in his opinion, 99% of city residents. The candidate considers that the current elections are not free and fair. According to him, some electoral competitors, while being unregistered, were conducting electoral activities, while allegedly using undeclared funds. Voznoi believes that other debate participants, including himself, have very slim chances to win the mayoral chair, however, they should continue fighting for the Chișinău Municipal Council seats. In his opinion, winning chances are slim because a candidate spends tens of millions of lei for advertising and concerts, while another candidate piggybacks the first candidate's campaign, by saying that we must fight with "Russian tanks, even if the message is framed by using other words".

Serghei Toma, the Political Party "Partidul Oamenilor Muncii" candidate, said that people will vote for good management in the October 20 elections, not for politics. According to him, some are trying to engage in politics. However, the City Hall does not need politicians, it needs managers. The candidate’s platform prioritizes health. Additionally, Toma's platform aims to stop all chaotic repair works, including road repair works. According to him, the city needs a plan with a vision towards the future, which also aims to preserve the historical center.

The mayoral candidate said that entrepreneurship is underdeveloped because the city is not attractive to investors, meaning that there are no suitable conditions for businesspersons from outside to invest and run a business in Chișinău. Serghei Toma added that the issues regarding traffic jams and the lack of bicycle and public transport lanes must be addressed. In his opinion, Chișinău should become a city similar to those in Europe, with infrastructure for ecological transport, rain systems, sidewalks, roads and green spaces. Additionally, the candidate thinks that over the course of the next 10 years, the city must switch from the use of carbon fuels to electricity.

Octavian Țîcu, the Political Party "Partidul Unității Naționale" candidate, said that he is one of the initiators of unique projects, including "Expedițiile Memoriei". Additionally, he is one of the founders of the ACUM Resistance Movement and of the ACUM Bloc, entities along with which he committed "to bring down Plahotniuc's regime, then remove Igor Dodon and the Socialist Party from power”. "The motivation to run for mayor of Chișinău is first and foremost a political one and was determined by the need to offer Chișinău residents an alternative to the Ceban-Năstase binomial", said Octavian Țîcu.

According to him, the main issues concerning the Chișinău residents are not hard to identify, because the same issues affect him as well. In his opinion, the main issues are clean and accessible transport, good roads, sidewalks, transparency and a clean green city. "However, the most important issue is the need for a major Romanian and European political transformation that will allow access to refundable and non-refundable European funds and urban experiences", said Octavian Țîcu. According to the mayoral hopeful, it is necessary to adopt a general urban plan, which will combat corruption and which will include the suburbs in the general concept of Chișinău municipality.

Teodor Cârnaț, the Political Party “Voința Poporului” candidate, and Dorin Chirtoacă, the Liberal Party candidate, were invited to the first round of debates, however, they did not participate.

The IPN news agency carries out a mini-cycle of three electoral debates with the candidates for the position of general mayor of Chișinău municipality, which will confront each other on October 20, 2019. In order to ensure a maximum level of objectivity in putting together the candidate lineups for the three debates and to avoid the repetition of lineups from other debates, when the same participants were invited to different platforms, the IPN Agency resorted to using the Random.org platform, a random arrangement mechanism.

The next round of debates is scheduled for October 15 and 16.

The Agency published 5 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 14.10.19, „Candidates Serghei Toma, Vitalie Voznoi, Octavian Țîcu and Lilia Ranogaeț, at IPN debates” -
https://www.ipn.md/en/candidates-serghei-toma-vitalie-voznoi-octavian-ticu-and-lilia-ranogaet-8004_1068818.html; „Vitalie Voznoi: Implementation of programs will only be possible if the Transparency Declaration is achieved” - https://www.ipn.md/en/vitalie-voznoi-implementation-of-programs-will-only-be-possible-if-8004_1068820.html; „Lilia Ranogaeț: Voters decide” - https://www.ipn.md/en/lilia-ranogaet-voters-decide-8004_1068822.html; „Octavian Țîcu: The capital’s historical centre is of primary concern to me” - https://www.ipn.md/en/octavian-ticu-the-capitals-historical-centre-is-of-primary-8004_1068825.html; „Serghei Toma: Vote for good management, not for politics” - https://www.ipn.md/en/serghei-toma-vote-for-good-management-not-for-politics-8006_1068826.html.

IPN promoted the debate before and after the event, in particular the ensuing news stories, using all the available channels, including social networks. Confirmatory materials of deliverables, as well as a media coverage dossier are attached.

Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN