The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (CALC) said the presidential elections were partially free and partially fair. The Coalition established that in both of the rounds of elections, a number of voters could not exercise their right to vote at some of the out-of-country polling stations. On November 1, owing to the reduced capacity, the polling places could not serve a large number of voters even if the voting program was extended. After the first round of elections, the Central Election Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration found new offices for some of the polling stations, extending their area and supplementing the technical personnel and equipment. However, a large number of people were unable to vote in the runoff too as the ballots were used up.
In a news conference at IPN, the Coalition’s secretary Elena Prohnitski said that throughout the electoral campaign, there were noticed numerous instances of use of hate speech, instigation of discrimination, sexist messages used by candidates, politicians, opinion leaders, journalists and citizens. “The use of negative speech expanded considerably before the runoff vote, primarily against candidate Maia Sandu, being also accompanied by the distribution of defamatory and false messages and materials,” she stated.
The head of Promo-LEX’s Election Observation Mission Pavel Postica said that more incidents were witnessed in the current elections than in the previous ones. The observers reported multiple cases of violation of vote secrecy by photographing or close placing of polling booths and multiple cases of non-observance of the anti-COVID measures. “We ascertained multiple cases of organized transportation of voters not only at polling stations intended for voters resining in the Transnistrian region, but also in other places in the country. Regrettably, we also witnessed situations when the organized transportation of voters was accompanied by actions to offer monetary rewards to voters for casting their ballots. We consider all these cases should be taken into account and examined by the law enforcement agencies,” stated Pavel Postica.
According to him, the correct and free character of the elections was affected by the misuse of administrative resources, such as the assumption of merits by particular electoral contenders for activities carried out with public funds, which were actually within the professional duties. “There were many situations when public functionaries were engaged during the working hours in electioneering in support of electoral contestants. The largest part of the ascertained situations involved independent candidate Igor Dodon,” said Pavel Postica.
Sorina Macrinici, programs director at the Legal Resources Center of Moldova, said the discrediting of NGOs also affected the correctness of the electoral process. “The denigration campaign was launched by an MP of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova and was undertaken by the media outlets affiliated to the PSRM and continued throughout the electoral campaign. The goal of the attack was to discredit nongovernmental organizations and to also distract public attention from the journalistic investigations featuring candidate Igor Dodon and to engage civil society in the political struggle against its will,” stated Sorina Macrinici.
She noted that the discrimination of the persons with disabilities was another problematic aspect. More than 70% of the polling stations were inaccessible to persons with locomotor disabilities. Only one electoral contender ensured electoral materials in a format accessible to persons with disabilities.
The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections is a permanent and voluntary entity founded in 2005 by public organizations with the aim of contributing to the conduct of free, fair, transparent, inclusive and integral elections.