Neither potential election candidates, nor voters are on equal footing
Promo-LEX presented its second interim report on the monitoring of the presidential election scheduled for 1 November 2020. Key conclusions from their observation refers to the pre-registration of voters abroad, unequal opportunities for potential candidates, unreported campaign expenses, and contestants taking credit for activities funded by public money.
Pre-registration of voters voting abroad and in the Transnistria region ended 16 September, showing a marked increase in registered voters especially in the Russian Federation (according to investigation provided by Moldovan media, the number of voters pre-registered in the Russian Federation could have been manipulated). However, five days before the pre-registration deadline, the Central Election Commission already sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration proposals on the establishment of polling stations (PSs) abroad, which could arouse suspicions that the decision was politicized. In the context of preliminary information on the possible refusal of some states to open PSs outside the locations of diplomatic missions, Promo-LEX has questioned the CEC's rash initiative to create 202 polling stations abroad, instead of 150 as previously budgeted.
Promo-LEX also criticized the Central Election Commission’s interpretation of the election law according to which political parties, other socio-political organisations and electoral blocs that nominated candidates for the presidential elections do not have the status of „election candidate“, which effectively prohibits parties from transferring funds to the electoral funds of the candidate. This may affect the level playing field as some presidential candidates run officially as independents (incl. the incumbent). This may also result in some of the funds available to the parties being channeled into candidates' campaigns beyond official control.
The view of Promo-LEX is that the existing legal framework does not contain precise and sufficient provisions to ensure equal opportunities for all contenders in the presidential election.
Promo-LEX also recorded that 9 out of the 13 initiative groups nominating candidates did not report all their expenses incurred during the signature collection phase for the registration of their group (amounting to at least MDL 735,021 or 37,456 EURO). Furthermore, none of the initiative groups reported expenses for signature collectors.
Below you can watch a recording of the press conference presenting this interim report with English interpretation
The full press statement can read below
The full interim report available here