on the organization of the debate “Autumn of elections: expectations and challenges in European development context”.
Public debates series “Overcoming stereotypes of European integration by communication” held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”
Held on August 24, 2020, Debate nr.6 brought together: „Balkan Center” director Sergey Manastîrlî, journalist Lilia Burakovski, TV presenter, and the jurist and standing expert of IPN’s project Ștefan Gligor.
Several election campaigns will take place in Moldova this autumn. The whole country will elect the President, ATU Gagauzia will choose the members of the People’s Assembly, while the Transnistrian region will select the composition of the de facto Supreme Soviet. In such a context, it is normal to wonder what will result from this mingling of election campaigns, how they will influence each other and if they able to bring us closer to the development goal – improvement of the quality of life and the economy?
Commenting on the circumstances that make a difference between the current and previous elections, the jurist and standing expert of IPN’s project Ștefan Gligor said the upcoming elections from legislative viewpoint will be held in conditions similar to the campaigns of 2016 and 2019. “The previous campaigns took place under the control of the regime of Plahotniuc and the criminal groupings managed by him. As a result of the previous presidential elections, there were actively explored the administrative resources, disinformation through the media and used illegal funding for financing candidates, corrupting voters through charitable foundations and open bribing. In 2019, this specific feature became even more evident. In the parliamentary elections, there was used the mixed system that creates favorable conditions for corrupting. The same phenomenon was seen in Romania and Ukraine, but in Moldova it produced unprecedented results,” stated Ștefan Gligor.
He noted that the Plahotniuc regime was partially disintegrated, but it was also partially adjusted to the new political realities. “It is no longer that powerful coordination center that worked meticulously and very professionally, but the other components remained. At legislative level, no changes that would have stopped the use of charitable foundations and the church for electoral purposes were made. The Audiovisual Code wasn’t amended. The registers of voters with 3.2 million electors weren’t brought in order, but the country’s population is now by about half a million people smaller,” stated the expert.
He reminded that the prosecution service didn’t provide the necessary attention to the violations witnessed in the previous campaigns, even the outrageous ones, like the falsification of proceedings, even if there was conclusive evidence. “Consequently, in autumn we will see the same negative phenomena, but in a polished form. They will not dare to be as impertinent as earlier,” concluded Ștefan Gligor.
“Balkan Center” director Sergey Manastîrlî spoke about the change of the quality of the electoral process depending on the increased attention of the development partners. According to him, the role of the EU and the U.S in the upcoming elections will grow considerably, and not only in these elections, but throughout the period that starts in September and ends in April-May, after the eventual snap parliamentary elections. “Their role of arbitrators and figures able to recognize and legitimize the election outcome will grow,” stated Sergiy Manastîrlî, referring to the preconditions that exist in this regard.
”The power and the government coalition showed their readiness to cement the legislative possibilities so as to reserve control over all the instruments. Namely because of this, the coalition proposed amendments to the Election Code. It goes to traditional stratagems, the attempt to use the accomplishments of civil society, the Western partners and the legislative body for ensuring more confortable positions,” stated the expert.
Journalist Lilia Burakovski, TV presenter, underlined the importance of finishing the legislative preparations before the elections. “There is no obstacle to examining and adopting amendments to the Election Code, even as regards the Audiovisual Council and the media. The TV channels and the radio are in a rather difficult situation. They are obliged to organize debates with candidates in prime time. In reality, it is impossible as the number of candidates is lower than of TV channels,” she said.
She noted that no one can be now sure that the media coverage of the elections will be objective. “In the parliamentary elections, the Audiovisual Council monitored only one TV channel to see how objectively it covered the campaign – the public TV channel “Moldova 1”. If it happens the same now, there is no certainty that the elections will be covered correctly by the media,” concluded Lilia Buracovschi.
The IPN Agency published 7 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 24.08.2020: Autumn of elections: expectations and challenges in European development context. IPN debate - https://www.ipn.md/index.php/en/autumn-of-elections-expectations-and-challenges-in-european-development-context-8004_1075729.html; Experts: Government does not want elections in equal conditions with opposition - https://www.ipn.md/index.php/en/experts-government-does-not-want-elections-in-equal-conditions-with-8004_1075731.html; Sergey Manastîrlî: “Sheriff” holding increases its influence on elections in Moldova - https://www.ipn.md/index.php/en/sergey-manastirli-sheriff-holding-increases-its-influence-on-elections-in-8004_1075733.html; Lilia Buracovschi: President could be elected in first round - https://www.ipn.md/index.php/en/lilia-buracovschi-president-could-be-elected-in-first-round-8004_1075735.html; on 25.08.2020 – Ștefan Gligor: The right should unite around an idea and find a suitable candidate who would implement it - https://www.ipn.md/index.php/en/stefan-gligor-the-right-should-unite-around-an-idea-and-8004_1075738.html; Lilia Burakovski: Presidential elections cannot meet society’s expectations - https://www.ipn.md/index.php/en/lilia-burakovski-presidential-elections-cannot-meet-societys-expectations-8004_1075740.html; Sergey Manastîrlî: Migrant workers are a powerful source of protest for the right - https://www.ipn.md/index.php/en/sergey-manastirli-migrant-workers-are-a-powerful-source-of-protest-8004_1075741.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