Each electoral period in Gagauzia has its own particularities. When there are parliamentary elections, particular mechanisms are activated, while in the presidential elections, other mechanisms are used. In general, the Gagauz people tend to prefer and support the power that comes to terms with them, 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, stated in IPN’s 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.
According to the expert, since 1994, when the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia appeared, the Gagauz people have stepped up the process of consolidating regional identity. “I speak about ethnicity, language, an ensemble of regional interests that are not discussed, but they exist,” he stated, noting that several years ago the people in the region voted depending on the geopolitical factor, but now they want more concrete things for them and their community.
Veaceslav Craciun remembers that at the parliamentary elections of 2001, the Party of Communists won a big score in Gagauzia. Then the PCRM formalized a political agreement with the region by which the party pledged to solve particular problems in the region, while the members of the local legislative body, the People’s Assembly, undertook to urge the people in Gagauzia to support this party.
What is interesting is that most of the clauses in that document were virtual in character, such as Russian as the second official language or entry into the Eurasian Union.
In other electoral campaigns, the proportions of virtual promises declined and candidates’ agendas started to contain more concrete socioeconomic issues, such as development of infrastructure, creation of jobs.
In the current election campaign, geopolitics is present to a minimum extent or is absent. “The geopolitical factor will emerge when it is raised by politicians. The strengthening of the region’s powers has always been an important element for the Gagauz people. In the current agenda of the candidates, such issues are not addressed,” stated Veaceslav Craciun.
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.