Worst elections in years - incidents on E-Day almost doubled since 2016
Preliminary evaluation of the voting day during the Parliamentary elections in Moldova, held on 24 February 2019, shows the highest number of incidents in comparison to the previous 16 elections observed by the domestic monitors of Promo-LEX. According to the Moldovan EPDE member organization, 1118 incidents were recorded on Election Day which might seriously affect the integrity and transparency of the election process. The number has almost doubled since the 2016 Presidential elections when 734 incidents were recorded during both the first and second rounds combined.
The most frequently reported incidents were errors in the voter lists in 129 out of 2094 observed polling stations, 123 cases of organized transportation of voters to polling stations, and 107 cases of photographing filled-in ballot papers and other cases of non-observance of secret voting. In 51 polling stations, Promo-LEX observers were hindered from obtaining the final voting protocols.
Although the quality of the election day was considerably low, the results of the parallel vote tabulation – a tool which enables domestic monitors to challenge the official results – confirm the results provided by the Moldovan Central Election Commission.
Promo-LEX Election Observation Mission Reports
The Promo-LEX Observation Mission (OM) presents a total of 6 monitoring reports on the parliamentary elections from February 24, 2019. The first report concerns itself with the pre-election period and the further four interim reports cover the period of candidates’ nomination and registration, and the competitors' electoral campaigns. The mission of these reports is to evaluate, in real time, the quality of the organization and of the conduct of elections; to bring electoral actors to accountability; to identify positive and negative trends in the electoral processes. After the election day, a final report provides a synthesis of the main aspects of the organization and the conduct of the voting, the results of the parallel vote tabulation (PVT), and their comparison with the official results.
According to the findings of the first OM Report, which analyzes the pre-electoral context, the electoral legislation and the relevant regulations; several irregularities were identified that occurred during the period of July 27 – December 10, 2018, such as the:
- Failed implementation of recommendations in the process of transitioning to a mixed electoral system;
- Hasty approval for a consultative referendum, without the consultation of public opinion;
- Misuse of administrative resources;
- Premature designation of candidates;
- Lack of confidence in the quality of the decision-making process managed by the CEC;
- Suspicious irregularities in the data concerning the number of voters;
- Major risks concerning the transparency in the final report on electoral campaign financing.
The full report can be read here:
Over the monitoring period of the second OM, Promo-LEX observers reported at least 10 cases that could be qualified as misuse of administrative resources. The PDM representatives are concerned in 7 cases, the PPS in 2, and Our Party (PN) in one case.
In the case of two parties, Promo-LEX identified the involvement of non-citizens of the Republic of Moldova in electoral activities: the PDM (3 cases) and the PPS (3 cases).
Promo-LEX observers identified at least 250 situations, where advertising was used (promotions, street and online advertising, etc.).
The Promo-LEX OM notes the involvement of the President of Moldova in the promotion of the PSRM candidates for parliamentary elections.
The third report reveals a series of worrying trends, in particular the:
- Intimidation of Promo-LEX observers;
- Premature start of electoral campaigns;
- Misuse of administrative resources and the offering of electoral gifts;
- Incomplete reporting of expenditure by initiative groups.
Other cases were identified concerning the non-observance of some legal provisions by the public administration.
The fourth report includes the monitoring results covering the period of 23 January – 5 February 2019 in the run-up to the parliamentary elections.
The report includes the following:
- Recommendations for the legal framework concerning voting from abroad for Moldovan citizens and for citizens with expired identity documents, and to clarify the powers of the Constituency Council;
- Monitoring of the electoral bodies, such as the registration process of national and international election observers;
- Monitoring of candidate registration and designation;
- Findings from Promo-Lex’s interviews with state electoral registrars and their investigations into the registrars’ activities, such as existing conflicts within the state electoral register including conflicts of address, boundaries of polling stations, and citizen’s status;
- And further analyses concerning election campaigning and campaign funding.
The report also highlights incidents of intimidation against the Promo-LEX OM. The mission has identified at least 5 situations of this kind.
The fifth report includes the monitoring results for the period of 6 February – 20 February 2019.
This report highlights following issues during this period:
- Concerns regarding a circular released by the Central Electoral Commission, which allows for a relaxation of legal norms concerning the prohibition of electoral agitation in polling stations;
- The re-location of polling stations which will complicate the information and access of the Transnistrian voters to these new polling locations;
- Failure to submit electoral rolls to the Electoral Bureau of the Polling Stations within the deadline and deficiencies within the electoral rolls (such as the inclusion of deceased voters, address errors, and possible artificial migration of voters from one Uninominal Constituency to another);
- Use of administrative resources during the run-up to the elections by candidates and instances of intimidation involving candidates;
- Donation admissions exceeding the limits of the financial means that can be transferred to the Electoral Fund account from one legal person.
Promo-LEX also reports on its “Go to Vote” campaign where it aims to inform citizens about the elections and to encourage people to vote.
The sixth report includes observations from the Election Day, such as the opening and closing of polling stations, incidents observed during the day, and an analysis of the final vote counting and issues surrounding this process.