Public debate: Particularities of voting in Moldova’s regions

Press release
on the organization of the debate
Particularities of voting in Moldova’s regions”. Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”

Held on 28 October 2020, Debate No.05 brought together: Mihai Mogîldea, team leader at the Institute for European Policies and Reform, Veaceslav Craciun, expert in regionalism-related problems, political processes in ATU Gagauzia  and Igor Boțan, IPN project’s standing expert.

Several days remained until the presidential elections of November 1, which will show the results obtained by each of the electoral contenders. Surely, the results will depend on the effort made by each candidate during the current election campaign and also on the electoral tradition, the electoral preferences of particular regions, zones and even localities apart, traditions, tendencies, particularities that became more pronounced during the independence period of the Republic of Moldova. The particularities of voting in geographical areas and territorial-administrative units of the Republic of Moldova, including in the Transnistrian region and ATU Gagauzia, its motives and effects were discussed in a
public debate held at IPN News Agency.

Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, said that on the one hand, there is no well-defined voting technology and for the people it is important that the vote can be expressed freely. On the other hand, at least eight types of votes can be identified in Moldova. The first is the “induced vote” that is imposed by the government. Namely the rulers hold all the instruments and induce a particular electoral behavior in citizens. There is also the “rational vote”. In this case, the people study the platforms, candidates and vote rationally. “The first that made use of the rational vote in 1994 was the Social Democratic Party led by Oazu Nantoi, whose slogan was “Vote with the head”, which is think well”.

The expert noted the “rational vote” exists and is generated by candidates with charisma who simply impress the citizens by their behavior, by their way of being. It is believed that this vote is typical primarily of women, who yield to such influence. There is also the “regional vote” that in Moldova has been witnessed in Orhei town and in Orhei district.  The regional vote exists also in localities from near Bălți town. There was also the “religious vote”. There were religious leaders who entered the election campaign and banked on the vote of the people who share a particular religious belief. There is the “ethical vote” that is also regional: in Gagauzia or in localities with mainly Ukrainian population.

There is also the “geopolitical vote” that is preferred by those who vote for pro-European and Eurasian parties. There is the “protest vote” of the people who supported parties that promoted a particular line, had preferred political leaders and these were then removed. It happened so to the leader of the Liberal Party of Moldova. The percentage of those who would accept the union with Romania rose, while the leaders who represent this movement on the political segment do not enjoy proportional support.

According to expert Mihai Mogîldea, team leader at the Institute for European Policies and Reforms, “surprises” are permanently witnessed during the elections in Moldova. In particular regions, there is sometimes a vote that is different from the expectations of electoral observers and politicians. The most recent example is the mayoralty of Chisinau that was won by a candidate of the left, representing the Party of Socialists, for the first time after the declaring of independence. This could not be easily anticipated before the elections.

Mihai Mogîldea said there is no correlation between the preferences of voters in the parliamentary elections and in the local elections. In all the regions it is noticed that the electors in the parliamentary elections vote political leaders who bank on the geopolitical vote, while in the local elections they bank on the figure of the local leader, on the accomplishments of the incumbent mayor or another important person who is a leader in the locality. This shows that the vote is somehow manipulated by the political leaders, depending on the profile of voters and the socioeconomic characteristics of the region.

The expert also said it is not possible to clearly delimit that a party holds the electoral monopoly in a particular region. In some of the districts, local subdivisions, owing to the ethnic profile of the voters some of the parties have a better image, but the vote in the parliamentary elections of 2019 showed that the activity of regional leaders and the administrative resources used by the government in elections are very important.
Veaceslav Craciun, expert in regionalism-related problems, political processes in ATU Gagauzia, the region’s relations with the central authorities of the Republic of Moldova, speaking about the particularities of the Transnistrian vote noted the organization of the electoral process there, stating the Transnistrians voters who have Moldovan nationality cannot be said to have specific features as they are exclusively a resource in the hands of political players that use them in their favor.

The expert said the voters in the Transnistrian region as a component part of the Moldovan voters cannot be characterized for now. Sociologists should be engaged to make the portrait of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova from the Transnistrian region.

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.

The Agency published 7 news stories on the debate (see the English version of on 28.10.20, „ Particularities of voting in Moldova’s regions. IPN debate” -; „Mihai Mogîldea about organized transportation during elections” -; „Igor Boțan about vote in northern region and in Transnistria” -; „Veaceslav Craciun: Gagauz people prefer to support power that comes to terms with them-; on 29.10.20 „Veaceslav Craciun: Gagauz voters will support economic progress and what influences their life” -; „Igor Boțan: When we speak about electoral behaviors, we must start from political culture” -; „Mihai Mogîldea: We must take into account preferences when we speak about elections” -

Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN

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