U.S. Senator Ben Cardin’s statement on Moldovan parliamentary elections

Calls the Moldovan Government to provide access for all electoral participants and civil society experts to public media.
azi.md, 13 July 2009, 19:00

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), made the following statement on the upcoming repeated elections in Moldova:

"Mr. President, the Republic of Moldova holds repeated parliamentary elections on July 29, after previous elections on April 5 this year were followed by youth protests to display their lack of trust in the electoral process. These protests turned violent and led to arrests of hundreds of protesters, their severe beatings, and inhumane treatment while in police custody. Even an independent member of Parliament, Valentina Cusnir, was abused and beaten by police, suffering injuries. Three young men have died, and the cause of death is reported to be injuries from the beatings they received. Foreign journalists were expelled and local reporters were arrested and intimidated, their equipment was confiscated. The parliamentarian opposition parties, which accused the Communist Party in power of election fraud, have boycotted elections of the new President that, ultimately, triggered repeated elections. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe stated that Moldova’s recent elections had ‘‘shortcomings that challenged some OSCE commitments, in particular the disregard for due process in adjudicating complaints of alleged irregularities and deficiencies in the compilation of voter lists lodged by opposition political parties.’’

"On July 29, the Government of Moldova has another chance to show her citizens and the international community that it remains committed to democratic principles and international standards. Moldovan authorities must provide access for all electoral participants and civil society experts to public media outlets, as well as ensure the ability of voters abroad to participate in this important poll. The United States should condition good relations with the new government of Moldova based on its respect for the rule of law and human rights. The U.S. Helsinki Commission, which I chair, will continue to monitor the conduct of the electoral process in Moldova and will hold a public briefing following the elections."