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19 October 2019
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Interviews

Gheorghe Russu

Vice-director, The Center for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption

Parties-Phantoms, Parties - State Institutions, Parties - State Enterprises

Ion PREAŞCĂ

20 parties have registered in the current election campaign. Many people say it is a too big number for such a small country as Moldova. At the same time, much more parties could take part in the election campaign.

Last week illustrated
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Activists launch Moldova’s first ‘Space Camp’ © Susan Coughtrie

Voters – prisoners of political war

Though short, the electoral campaign for the July 29 early elections is marked by aggressiveness.
Info-Prim Neo, 20 July 2009, 18:30

2009-07-20/07:48/ Chisinau (IPN) Every day, the parliamentary parties reveal new cases that, as they say, come to continue and accentuate the violent character of the day of April 7, when devastating street protests took place in Chisinau.

The accusations are mainly leveled at the ruling party by the three parties that made common cause after April 5 – the Liberal Party (PL), the Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM) and the Moldova Noastra Alliance (AMN). “In 2009, the elections stopped being a simple and ordinary exercise of governmental succession because the ruling party, the PCRM, spasmodically hangs on to everything that offers it illegal advantages against it opponents: the state-owned press, administrative resources, keeping of posts during the election campaign by senior state officials, xenophobic attacks and verbal violence, says political analyst Igor Munteanu, e xecutive director of the Institute for Development and Social Initiative (IDIS) “Viitorul”.

The bullet that started the war

The analyst considers these elections a historical moment. “For the first time after the dissolution of the Soviet state, preconditions for a real political, guerilla war were created in Moldova, the authorities acting as instigators of this war,” Igor Munteanu said. He exemplified that the outgoing president Vladimir Voronin officially declared these elections “a war for death or life”, calling upon his supporters to behave like in a war with the opponents, i.e. “with no prisoners alive”.

Munteanu considers that during eight years while in power, the PCRM has aimed and partially managed to reinstall a Soviet-type political system. “This year’s elections really confirmed the structural deficit of democracy in Moldova with a ruling party greedy for power and bl inded by mercenary interests that does not tolerate competition and political pluralism and follows a Russian model of administered democracy,” the analyst said.

He considers that any party that is in power has increased responsibilities in an electoral context. On the one hand, this is determined by the fact that the actions and behavior of the authorities must be maintained maximally transparent, efficient and reasonable so that they provide additional public guarantees that the legislation that provides equal conditions for all the electoral contenders will be observed in elections. On the other hand, the ruling party must behave decently and not use the available administrative resources, showing thus the national and international public opinion that the democracy in Moldova is sustainable and does not depend on the generosity of the political leaders and that the democratic system functions perfectly owing to the inexistence of a single decisional factor .

The Opposition accuses, the Government rejects

So far, the PL, PLDM and AMN declared in unison, together and separately, that after April 7, the police used violence and took the life of at least one young person. They accuse the police and employees of the Security and Information Service (SIS) of playing the game of the Communists, who feel that they do not enjoy the massive support of the population anymore and try to keep the power by different methods. The PCRM rejects the accusations, calling them lies, aberrations, absurdities or electoral statements.

The AMN leader Serafim Urecheanu declared that the ruling party disseminates false information among the people, saying that if the Democrats come to power, they will unite with Romania. Another harsh electoral move is used by Mister Mishin, one of the greatest political adventurers in Moldova, who promotes the interethnic conflict on television, Urecheanu said. He also said that th e mayors, school principals and kindergarten directors are urged in an authoritarian tone to campaign in favor of the Communists day and night so that the population votes for them.

The PL leader Mihai Ghimpu said that the Communists stick election posters at night even on road signs. “In Nisporeni for example, the persons that tried to remove the posters were threatened with pistols by policemen and SIS employees in civvies”. Ghimpu also said that the Communists sent drunken persons to hinder the meetings held with voters in Bacioi, Orhei and Nisporeni. The aggressiveness of the PCRM is seen in the press as well, he said.

The PLDM said that the physical aggressiveness is also employed. The party’s administration announced that a sympathizer of the Liberal-Democrats had been stabbed by masked persons after he tried to hinder the destruction of campaign posters of the Opposition. He received a 6 cm stab wound. The PLDM has said that many of its election posters in Chisinau and other parts of the country are being destroyed. The PLDM leader Vlad Filat said that the Party of Communists pursues a segregation policy.

For his part, the PCRM candidate Vladimir Turcan admits that the spirits became heated, the situation tense and the opinions more polarized after the April 7 events. The information provided by the election runners can be regarded as more offensive and more aggressive, Turcan considers.

The PCRM points to deviations too

As to the Opposition’s accusations that the Communists send recidivists, aggressive or drunken young persons to the meetings with voters, the PCRM candidate said that these are lies employed by the Opposition to explain why some of their meetings fail.

Moreover, Vladimir Turcan complained that drunken people happen to be among those attending the PCRM’s meetings with voters as well, adding that they do not say that somebody sen t them. “The person that is under the influence can be the supporter of a certain party or can be an absolutely independent person. This way we can see the diplomacy of every politician. We must be on good terms with any person,“ Vladimir Turcan said.

Earlier, the PCRM expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the Liberal parties share leaflets containing images of persons with signs of violence on the body and even of the young man that died after the April 7 events among the people. The ruling party rejects the accusations that it is responsible for what happened, saying that all these accusations harm its image.

Face to face with political aggression

Serafim Urecheanu said that the state bodies scared the people so that they are afraid of discussing and going out and prefer to work at night more. Vlad Filat considers that this could lead to a low voter turnout as an electoral campaign with intimidations demoralizes a par t of the society.

Mihai Ghimpu has the same opinion. He makes reference to the last opinion poll, according to which 30% of the Moldovans are afraid to speak. Therefore, Ghimpu said, the people could vote for the Communists or not go to the polls out of fear. On the other hand, he sees a positive side in these intimidations as the people are indignant and feel that this is an injustice. “The lies and pressure make the people think about it,” he said.

Igor Munteanu said that the people have already experienced a visible psychological trauma after the April 7-10 events. “Besides, the election day is the worst day possible as it falls on a Wednesday in the height of summer, when the people have other preoccupations than the elections. It is already clear that a lower number of persons will participate in the elections, while the controversies that arouse at the previous elections have not been elucidated. This affects the morale of the soc iety and the representativeness in the future legislature.”

Vladimir Turcan also used the word “lie” to accuse the opponents. But he considers that the voters are rather wise. “The more lies are told, the better the voters will realize the true face of those that tell these lies,” he said, referring to the Opposition.

People’s voice – corrupt, but definitive

The IDIS director says that certain political forces tried to monopolize the truth about the April events so that the people are informed from a single official source, distorting the truth and spreading dangerous ideas for the basis of a state of law, flouting the principle of political pluralism and the Constitution.

“As there are no serious and credible debates at the so-called ‘public’ media outlets, which in reality are fully controlled by the government and the ruling party, a large part of the loyal Moldovans u nderstood that “a foreign state interfered” and that “the Opposition parties are to blame”. Such an interpretation constituted the final product of an abusive and improper propaganda campaign that has nothing in common with the democracy and the state of law and whose effects are as serious as the effects of the acts of torture pointed out in the reports presented by Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammamberg and by the European Parliament’s Mission after the April 7-10 events.”

The Opposition yet can be accused of being too timid when the deviations from the democratic standards seriously hit innocent people and of not adequately mobilizing forces to counteract the propagandistic machinery of the PCRM at all the levels, Igor Munteanu considers.

He said that the authorities did not want to change anything in the system that provided illegal advantages for them in the previous elections (the registers of voters, access to TV, abusive use of the state bodies for electoral purposes, etc.), which fundamentally affected the process of organizing the April 5 elections. Therefore, there is a risk that the results of the July 29 elections will not be better,” Igor Munteanu said.

During the last months, Moldova has been in the spotlight of the international organizations probably more than during all its years of independence altogether. The ‘recommendations’ made by European and U.S. officials carried practically the same message: something is happening and certain things should be changed.

Though the use of such harsh mechanisms in an electoral campaign seems inevitable after the spring events, nothing can justify the pressure exerted on the voters. The political players realize that the citizens hold the steering wheel of the “Republic of Moldova” sheep and thus hope that the rule “the black PR also brings a pl us to the image” will work this time. The course of the sheep will be clear after July 29. It is yet sure that there will be many ‘waves’ until then.



Readers' comments
Recent comments:
iannn, 28 October 2009, 10:35
People began to get real choice; they had options as to what they; as equal humans was best. The people held a vote; as a result of that vote which was overseen and validated by independant obervers with evidence; things changed; for the people.
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