on the organization of the debate “To Whom and to What voters of candidates who didn’t reach runoff migrate?”. 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 09 November 2020, Debate No.07 brought together: political analyst Anatol Țăranu; psychologist and philosopher Sorin Scutelnic, professor of the State University of Moldova and Igor Boțan, IPN project’s standing expert.
The results of the November 15 runoff vote will ultimately depend on the total number of voters who will take part in elections and on how the supporters of the six candidates who didn’t reach the runoff vote. What the two candidates who will compete in the runoff do now is aimed at attracting more people from the two large categories. The chances of these to incline the balance in their favor were discussed by experts invited to IPN’s public debate “To Whom and to What voters of candidates who didn’t reach runoff migrate?”.
Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, said the votes of the competitors who dropped after the first round of voting are distributed according to a number of factors – politological, psychological and philosophical. Society in the Republic of Moldova is divided according to a number of criteria and these cleavages determine a particular behavior in voters. Furthermore, immediately after the first round of voting, most of the six candidates made statements by which they tried to persuade their sympathizers to support a candidate or another. “In fact, we saw that the whole support of those who made statements was aimed at one candidate and it’s clear who this is,” stated the expert.
According to him, the psychological factor plays an important role before the runoff vote. It goes to irrational, rather than rational elements. The charisma of the candidates matters. “If we refer to philosophy, we must understand that the philosophical principles form the basis of political doctrines and the political doctrines form the basis of electoral programs. We have two candidates and one of them embraces the Social-Liberal doctrine. This is Maia Sandu. The second, independent candidate (supported by the PSRM, e.n.) said he is of the left, but questions appear here. My opinion is that the Party of Socialists is not a party of the left,” explained Igor Boțan. He reminded of the recent 103rd anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, when the PSRM said nothing about this event and this generates questions as to the party’s ideological doctrine.
Historian Anatol Țăranu said the geopolitical factor in the Republic of Moldova has if not a supreme value, an extremely important value when people’s votes are determined. It is anticipated that the electoral pools of the two candidates will be kept. “It goes to not a competition between the candidates who can make use of the electoral pool that was already secured by the opponent in the first round of voting, but rather to the redistribution of the votes given to the six former candidates who didn’t reach the runoff. Surely, another massive pool of votes that has potential to determine the result of the campaign or the runoff vote is the electors who will come as a result of a campaign to mobilize the undecided or absent voters,” stated the ex-ambassador.
The analyst gave as example the presidential elections of 2016 and the local elections in the municipality of Chisinau that can be compared with national elections, according to him. From those electoral exercises, we can deduce that the mobilization of voters played a decisive role in what is called victory of candidate in the two elections. “So, two massive pools. There is the mobilization that brings a surplus and the second element is the distribution of the votes gained by those who lost the right to run further,” stated Anatol Țăranu. According to him, the voter turnout of the first round will not significantly change in the runoff.
Psychologist and philosopher Sorin Scutelnic said that very vast representational elements and camps are taking shape inside a society. Inside these representational camps, there are particular myths concerning the future, ideals and there is the psychological element that appears in the form of attitude. It is very hard to modify the attitudes or a lot of work should be done for changes to occur.
“It seems to me that many voters at the first phase were in the situation not to leave home owing to the pandemic. That’s why there are many latent zones that haven’t been yet revealed. The changes, mutations that will occur in the runoff, towards one side or another, will be small, I consider. But we will probably witness very good mobilization in the runoff, especially in the camp of the voters of Mister Dodon,” said the professor of the State University of Moldova. According to him, these voters are better protected and better engaged. “It will be harder for Maia Sandu as there is considerable dispersion among her former and future voters and these are of different colors. It is up to the politician to ensure the merger of these elements.”
The debate “To Whom and to What voters of candidates who didn’t reach runoff migrate?” was the seventh installment of the electoral cycle “We and the President: who elects who, who represents who” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
The Agency published 4 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 09.11.20, „To Whom and to What voters of candidates who didn’t reach runoff migrate? IPN debate” - https://www.ipn.md/en/to-whom-and-to-what-voters-of-candidates-who-didn-8004_1077490.html; „Igor Boțan: If Dodon wins presidential elections, Moldova will keep status-quo” - https://www.ipn.md/en/igor-botan-if-dodon-wins-presidential-elections-moldova-will-keep-8004_1077497.html; „Anatol Țăranu: PDM enabled to form Government that is fully faithful to Igor Dodon” - https://www.ipn.md/en/anatol-taranu-pdm-enabled-to-form-government-that-is-fully-8004_1077504.html; „Sorin Scutelnic: Voters in the West understood they can change something in this country” - https://www.ipn.md/en/sorin-scutelnic-voters-in-the-west-understood-they-can-change-8004_1077505.html.
Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN