Voting in a polling station in Moldova during the election in April 2009. Sweden supported Moldovan non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) election observation and the major international election observation.
Photo: Malin Lundén/Sida
Election observation in Moldova to strengthen democracy
Sweden supported Moldovan non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) election observation and the major international election observation.
“In the existing political context, it’s important to us to promote the Moldovan civil society’s voice and actions,” says Malin Lundén, programme officer at Sida. “NGOs play an important role in continuing the so far hopeful road to greater democracy.”
The NGOs informed voters about the election and why it was important to vote. They also observed the election before and on election day and organized debates in private media channels to provide an alternative to the government-loyal media channels.
In the election on 5 April 2009, the governing Communist Party won 60 seats of the 101 in the parliament. It was a surprisingly large victory, which led to violent demonstrations in the capital, Chisinau. However, the party still lacks a mandate for a majority. On 3 June, the opposition rejected the Communist Party’s proposal for a new president. There will therefore be a new election.
The opposition has undoubtedly been strengthened by the criticism that election observers voiced against both the prelude to the election and how it was run.
The large civic coalition for free and fair elections, “Coalitia 2009”, consisted of about 90 Moldovan NGOs. Their criticism included enormous advantages for the governing party in the mass media and that there were too few voting stations abroad, where more than 625,000 Moldovans live – most them of voting age.
The coalition also says it has proof that the authorities used state resources for election propaganda for the Communist Party. These irregularities were more obvious in the breakaway republic of Transnistria than in the rest of the country.
“The elections were not correct and not completely free,” the coalition announced in a press release.
Mixed feedback from international election observers
The largest foreign delegation of election observers came from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European Parliament and the European Council. Their conclusion is that a lot of progress has been made in the organization and handling of the election, but that further improvements are necessary.