Candidates are not taking full advantage of scheduled regional debates. IRI LTOs have witnessed debates country-wide and noted throughout that invited participants are often foregoing the opportunity to address voters and discuss important policy issues. The absence of lively political debate restricts the voter’s ability to make a comparison between candidates and analyze important policies that affect people’s daily lives.
Observers continued to follow developments in several official complaints and court cases related to election administration, such as cases of invalidated signatures. LTOs have analyzed and collected informative notes from various District Election Commissions (DEC) and will continue to review cases. To date, 32 complaints have been filed at the CEC, and nine of those were focused on the denial of certain candidates’ registration.
Precinct Electoral Commissions (PEC) have been created and are receiving training from the Central Election Commission’s (CEC) Center for Continuous Electoral Training. Observers have attended trainings in most single member districts and confirmed the trainings are well attended and taking place according to stated guidelines.
LTOs have observed a continuous increase in campaigning by candidates and parties throughout the country. Candidates and parties are using billboards, posters and leaflets in addition to person-to-person contact, including door-to-door campaigning and small meetings. Campaign events have also included concerts and distribution of party branded materials. Some interlocutors have raised concerns that some items exceed the 100 MDL limit allowed by law.
According to Moldova’s electoral code, DECs should have a maximum of nine members for the upcoming elections (two members nominated by the judiciary, two by the local administrative authorities and one member nominated by each party represented in parliament (5)). However, LTOs have noted several DECs with too many members throughout the country. IRI requests an explanation of this discrepancy.
Registration for candidates closed on January 24 and the official campaign period began on January 25. As of January 26, nine entities have been registered—eight political parties and one electoral bloc. One party, whose application was previously rejected, has since been able to register. Currently, six parties are under review and awaiting a decision on their registration.
On January 19, the CECentral Electoral Commission approved a plan to establish 125 polling stations outside of Moldova and 47 polling stations in the Transnistria region. IRI believes the procedure of establishing the polling stations outside Moldova lacked transparency and did not respect the provisions and criteria for establishing polling stations outside of Moldova as outlined by the Electoral Code.
Parties, blocs and independent candidates filed a total of nineteen complaints with the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) primarily focused on campaign finance declarations, early campaigning, campaign advertising, and disagreements over the District Electoral Commissions (DEC) decisions to register certain candidates or deny registration to others. All complaints were reviewed and decided in a timely fashion.