NDI Delegation to Assess PRE-ELECTION Environment in Moldova
Public Discussion: Starting positions of political parties and potential independent candidates on alternative pro-European platform before electoral year
on the organization of the debate “Starting positions of political parties and potential independent candidates on alternative pro-European platform before electoral year”. 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 23 November 2017, Debate 81 brought together the following participants: Mihai Popșoi, vice president of the PAS Party; Chiril Moțpan, secretary general of the PPDA Party; Alexandru Bujorean, vice president of the Liberal Democratic Party; political activist Valeriu Pașa; and Igor Boțan, as the Project’s standing expert.
Why this subject and these speakers?
While there is one more year left until the next legislative elections, a significant part of Moldova’s political actors have already engaged in electoral activities. This is a novel phenomenon that has been influenced by the introduction of the (even more unusual) mixed voting system, and, of course, these developments cannot be left without proper examination. This debate inaugurates a miniseries of four installments that aims to survey the starting positions of political parties and potential independent candidates ahead of an electoral year. The criteria by which participants were selected for each of these debates are based on what we saw during last fall’s presidential campaign. The big platforms that drew together the main existing political interests one year ago seem to remain the same: 1) the pro-Eurasians; 2) the official pro-Europeans; 3) the alternative pro-Europeans and 4) the pro-unificationists.
The event included the traditional introductory/educative part that explained basic notions, such as electoral period, election campaign, electoral activities, and the particularities of the next parliamentary elections, which will follow absolutely new rules, if nothing major happens until then.
Standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Botan, director of the Association for Participatory Democracy (ADEPT), said that parliamentary elections will take place in Moldova in a year, in a special context, given the new electoral system that molded the party system. “The fact that during over 25 years we had used the proportional representation system shows that our party system was shaped primarily by this electoral system. Now that the rules of the game are changed and new requirements are introduced for political parties, we should anticipate things and see how we can have competitive, free and desirably fair elections. It is very important to understand that the new electoral system, its uninominal part, is a very subtle and sensitive issue. Things change dramatically because the uninominal majority system is the system of lost votes, while the proportional voting system is an honest one,” stated the expert.
In the same connection, Mihai Popsoi, deputy chairman of the Party “Action and Solidarity”, said the decision to create a platform between the PAS and the Party “Platform Dignity and Truth” for the upcoming elections was partially imposed by the mixed-member electoral system and is aimed at preventing the loss of many votes and at ensuring competitiveness in single-member constituencies. “It is vital for the center-right parties to combine forces in the fight against the PSRM and the colossus with ceramic legs PDM. If the right remains divided and struggles inside it, the elections will be doomed to failure. Thus, the strengthening of the center-right segment derives from the circumstances and is the result of the cooperation relations established in the presidential elections, when the candidate of the right Maia Sandu polled the largest number of votes ever won by the right in Moldova,” stated Mihai Popsoi. He added that an increasing number of parties appear on the right and several more center-right parties could appear at the start of next year to steal votes from the PAS-PPPDA bloc that is decided to win the elections by a very larger percentage on the list of blocs and with a sufficiently high number of candidates chosen in constituencies.
Kirill Motpan, secretary general of the Party “Platform Dignity and Truth” (PPPDA), said the consolidation of the pro-European and anti-oligarchic forces remains a priority and the people’s confidence in the change wanted by the center-right forces depends on this. The new electoral system that was insistently promoted by the PDM and PSRM will give a harsh blow to the democratic values in Moldova. “We will suggest the same thing as now – the people should become more actively involved to ensure the change. Or Moldova could reach an economic and political deadlock not only at internal level, but also at international level. The mixed system is favorable only to the PDM and PSRM and we should do anything for the people to understand this. They will try to remain in power,” stated Kirill Motpan.
Alexandru Bujorean, deputy chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM), said the vote given by the people in 2014 was betrayed and redirected to promote the narrow interests of the PDM and PSRM. “The PDM, which won only 19 seats of MP, now holds a majority of seats and these were obtained by corruption, blackmail and severe public manipulation. The upcoming elections will be marked by the same actions of the PDM-PSRM that want to divide the power in the state after the elections. They possess administrative resources and control justice, have money in pockets and have evil thoughts. We, the three authentic opposition parties, the PAS, PPPDA and PLDM, have something else. We showed in time our resistance and correctness and that we can be a serious alternative and are immune to blackmail and corruption and that we have people who share these values at the local level. Thus, the PLDM reiterates its call to create a common platform that is the only real chance to get rid of this power,” stated Alexandru Bujorean.
Civic activist Valeriu Pasa expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that the three opposition parties decided to form a bloc only in a year of the presidential elections at a time when the goal of the opposition is to seize power. “A series of questions appear: Why two parties and not three? Why did they need a year for things that were evident a year ago? We use theoretical concepts about politics, but in Moldova we are not in an ordinary political situation, where there is liberal competition. The question now is not who takes over, but if we will yet have democracy after the next elections? The electoral bloc is expected to be a rather interesting and practical idea, especially because it is based on the logic that the resources should be not dispersed,” stated the activist.
The Agency published 6 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 23.11.17, „Position of parties and candidates on pro-European platform before electoral year, IPN debate” - http://ipn.md/en/integrare-europeana/87791; „Mihai Popsoi: We will create integrity filter for candidates in elections” - http://ipn.md/en/politica/87793; „Alexandru Bujorean: Elections will be marked by anti-democratic values promoted by PDM-PSRM” - http://ipn.md/en/politica/87794; „Valeriu Pasa: The question is if we will have democracy after next elections” - http://ipn.md/en/integrare-europeana/87795; „Igor Botan: Majority uninominal voting system is system of lost votes” - http://ipn.md/en/integrare-europeana/87796; „Kiril Motpan: We could witness appearance of Social-Democratic party” - http://ipn.md/en/politica/87797.
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
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