Report on the local by-elections in Moldova 10 and 24 July 2005 - CG/BUR (12) 34

Rapporteur:
Pascal Mangin (France, L, EPP/CD)

Document adopted by the Bureau of the Congress on 19 September 2005

1. INTRODUCTION

At the invitation of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) of the Republic of Moldova1, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe took part in the observation of the elections held on 10 July 2005 to elect the mayors of 14 municipalities of Moldova, in particular the General Mayor of Chisinau.

In conformity with the Congress Bureau's decision, the delegation responsible for observing the initial elections was composed of Pascal Mangin (France, EPP/CD), Ludmila Sfirloaga (Romania, SOC) and David Lloyd-Williams (United Kingdom, ILDG) and accompanied by Jean-Philippe Bozouls and Irina Blonina from the Congress Secretariat. The same members of the Congress observed the "repeat" elections of 24 July 2005, with the assistance of Jean-Philippe Bozouls and Oscar Alarcón from the Secretariat. Mr Pascal Mangin headed the delegation, as Rapporteur for the election.

Both during the preparation of its visit and in the field the Congress delegation received valuable assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Moldova and from the country's Permanent Representation to the Council of Europe, whom it would like to thank, together with Ambassador Vladimir Philipov, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in Moldova, and his team.

The Congress observers also extend their thanks to Ambassador William Hill, Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, and his colleagues, for the help they gave the Congress on a political level at information and consultation meetings with the delegation throughout its visit.

The Congress delegation's observation work focused on Chisinau, in view of the importance of the capital city (in terms of its population, size and economic and political role) and of the very high political stakes consequently involved in the election of its mayor. Furthermore, numerous problems and irregularities had been reported by the Congress when it observed the local elections in Chisinau in 2003.

On the eve of the 10 July ballot the delegation met representatives of the Government and the Central Electoral Commission and candidates to the position of Mayor of Chisinau, in conformity with the programme set out in Appendix I. It particularly appreciated its meeting with OSCE/ODIHR representatives, whose long-term observation work proved very useful to the Congress observers. These meetings gave the Congress delegation a better picture of the context in which this election was taking place. The Congress delegation split up into two teams, composed of Pascal Mangin, Jean-Philippe Bozouls and Irina Blonina (team 1) and David Lloyd-Williams and Ludmila Sfirloaga (team 2). In all the two teams visited 27 polling stations on 10 July, including the central prison, the remand prison and the emergency hospital.

The following day a joint press release with the OSCE mission in Moldova was issued (Appendix III).

When observing the "repeat" elections of 24 July 20052, on the eve of the ballot the Congress delegation met representatives of NGOs, the two candidates to the post of Mayor of Chisinau and the candidates refusing to participate, some media representatives as well as representatives of the OSCE/ODIHR. The two teams deployed by the Congress, consisting of Pascal Mangin, Jean-Philippe Bozouls and Oscar Alarcon (team 1) and Ludmila Sfirloaga and David Lloyd-Williams (team 2) for these "repeat" elections were able to cover 40 polling stations.

Monitoring and election observation reports of the Congress in Moldova

The Republic of Moldova joined the Council of Europe in 1995. It ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government in 1997, and the instrument entered into force on 1 February 1998. The situation of local and regional democracy in Moldova has been the object of several information and monitoring reports prepared by the Congress3, both when the country was applying for membership of the Organisation and after it became a member state.

It is worth noting that the 4th monitoring report on local and regional democracy in Moldova is currently in preparation and should be examined by the Congress at the autumn session, from 7 to 9 November 2005.

The Congress has also observed several elections in this country: general local elections in 19954, local and regional elections in 19995 and general local and regional elections in 20036. Furthermore, the Congress, which continues to follow the situation of Gagauzia very closely, observed the local elections held there on 22 August 19997, the regional elections held on 6 and 22 October 20028 (election of the Bashkan and referendum) and on 16 and 30 November 2003 (election of the People's Assembly)9.

The monitoring report now in preparation mainly concerns the financial and administrative autonomy of the local authorities, and the allegations of pressures on local opposition figures. The Rapporteur on local democracy in Moldova (Pascal Mangin, France) also examines the case of the dismissal of the Mayor of Comrat (Gagauzia) and the suspension of the Mayor of Durlesti, Mr Barbaneagra.

The preparation of this fourth monitoring report also partly answers the conclusions of the report prepared by the Congress on the last local elections, which inter alia revealed violations of the most elementary rights of the opposition candidates during the election campaign, considered by the Congress and other international observers as a step backwards for democracy in Moldova.

The Bureau also instructed the Rapporteur to consider the special situation of Chisinau, following numerous appeals and declarations by its former General Mayor, Mr Serafim Urechean, concerning the legal action taken against him and various municipal officers in a very tense political climate.

As a matter of fact, the early election of a new General Mayor of Chisinau was made necessary by Mr Urechean's resignation in April 2005. Mr Urechean, Leader of the Electoral Bloc “Democratic Moldova”, was elected to the Moldovan Parliament in the parliamentary elections on 6 March 2005, and under the country's Constitution Members of Parliament are not allowed to engage in any other gainful activity.

In the light of the above questions, addressed in the latest monitoring report, it was indubitably very important that the Congress take part in the observation of the election of Chisinau's new Mayor.

Background to the elections
In the most recent parliamentary elections, on 6 March 2005, the Communist Party of Moldova won 45.98 % of the votes, the Electoral Bloc “Democratic Moldova” 28.56 % and the People's Democratic Party of Moldova 9.07 %. These elections were held at the normal term of the mandate of the Parliament elected in 2001, where the Communist Party of Moldova, with 71 seats, held a majority.
These parliamentary elections in Moldova, which were observed inter alia by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, generally met most of the Council of Europe and OSCE standards for democratic elections. The Parliamentary Assembly, however, found that they did not fully comply with all the standards essential to a genuinely democratic election process. This applied in particular to the conditions of a free and fair election campaign, free and fair access to the media and the publication and broadcasting of impartial information on all the political parties and groups taking part in the elections. In the opinion of the Parliamentary Assembly, the negative factors previously observed in the local elections of 2003 were unfortunately confirmed10.

The Central Electoral Commission decided on 4 May last, in keeping with Article 122 of the electoral Code, to hold early by-elections to elect the mayors of 13 localities11 and of Chisinau. The mayors were to be elected for a two-year period – until the next general local elections.

These elections are governed by the electoral Code adopted by Moldova in 1997 and subsequently amended several times. It should be noted that in June 2004 the Council of Europe's European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and the OSCE/ODIHR adopted a joint opinion on this electoral Code. Thus far the Moldovan authorities have not implemented any of the recommendations made.

2. THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN OF 10 JULY 2005

In Chisinau 10 candidates stood for the office of General Mayor, 7 representing various political parties or groups and 3 on independent tickets.

2.1 Positive aspects

No incidents were reported concerning the nomination and registration of candidates.

The delegation was informed that the election campaign had generally taken place in a relatively calm atmosphere compared with the 2003 local elections.

As regards media coverage of the campaign, print media offered diverse political views and information on the candidates’ electoral platforms, while national and local broadcast media not only offered paid and free-of-charge electoral advertisements but also aired debates and covered campaign events in their news programmes.

2.2 Shortcomings

The Congress delegation received a number of complaints and reports of alleged violations of election campaign standards and, in particular, the standards contained in the Venice Commission's Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters12.

Use of public resources during the election campaign and State intervention in the campaign

The delegation received information that the Communist Party candidate, Minister of Finance Zinaida Grecianii, was allowed to use government administrative resources for her campaign.

The question of the abuse of public resources for the benefit of candidates from the governing majority has been raised several times in previous local and regional election observation reports.

This practice mainly concerns the public broadcasting corporation, but also the use of other public bodies (ministries, police, state-run firms) and their staff in operations to support the candidate of the party in power. The Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Parliament and other high representatives of the Government and Parliament all stepped into the election campaign, speaking out in favour of the candidate of the party in power when visiting various establishments (hospitals, factories). The delegation also heard that other candidates were denied similar opportunities to meet the voters.

One specific case of unfair campaigning in favour of the Communist Party candidate, where the cost was covered by an NGO, was reported to the delegation.

Bias in media coverage of the campaign

In spite of noticeable improvements compared with the local elections of 2003, the delegation got the impression that the free coverage of this campaign for the election of the General Mayor of Chisinau, particularly by the state-controlled media, was often biased in favour of the candidate of the party in power.

The Congress reiterates the importance of observing impartiality in media coverage of election campaigns.

Major restrictions on the use of privately-owned poster display space were reported to the delegation. The municipal council defines the authorised spaces for displaying campaign posters, but the law does not specify whether these spaces are free of charge or for hire. The law was interpreted and applied in such a way that the campaign posters of independent candidate Dumitru Braghis were considered illegal.

To avoid divergences of interpretation in the future, improvements need to be made to the allocation of spaces for the display of campaign posters, if necessary by amending the law.

Other problems

The delegation was informed that the electoral administration had failed to register certain local observers in time.

The ceiling for spending on election campaigns being fixed by the CEC, the candidates are required to present financial reports on their campaigns two days before election day. According to information received by the Congress observation mission, only four of the ten candidates to the office of Mayor of Chisinau submitted reports within the required deadline.

The delegation was also informed that complaints had been made to the Central Electoral Commission concerning the telling machines. The firm selected by the Ministry of Information and Technology to supply the software (Molddata), without a real call for tenders, was financed by the state. As by law it is the responsibility of the local authorities to provide the requisite equipment and the Chisinau municipal council was never consulted on the matter, using the services of a firm selected by the state could conceivably distort the results.

2.3 General conclusions on the election campaign

The delegation considers that, although the election campaign in Chisinau showed progress compared with the local elections in May and June 2003, it was not fully in conformity with European standards in every respect. Progress has yet to be made on the organisation of the election campaign, particularly with regard to the principle of equality of opportunity for all candidates (as defined in the Venice Commission's Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters).

3. ELECTION DAY OF 10 JULY 2005

Polling began at 7 am and ended at 9 pm. There were 284 polling stations.

The two Congress teams visited 27 polling stations all over the municipality of Chisinau, including an emergency hospital, General Commissariat and Chisinau Central Prison, to observe the voting conditions of persons who have not been given final sentence and detainees who have not been deprived of their civic rights.

The Congress delegation co-ordinated its work with that of an OSCE observation mission, using the document of the Venice Commission's Council for Democratic Elections entitled Election Evaluation Guide and a questionnaire specially prepared for this election by the OSCE/ODIHR experts.

The main conclusions of the Congress concerning the polling process are presented below.

3.1 Positive aspects

The Congress delegation noted substantial progress in the organisation of the elections and in the polling proper compared with the local elections of 2003. These elections may be considered to meet international standards in terms of transparency and supervision.

The voting was marked by the calm atmosphere in the polling stations and the professionalism of the local election committee members, who did their job well. The Congress observers noted that the polling stations were well organised, the election committees were present in full and their members were generally well informed of their duties and the procedure to follow.

Inside the polling stations the delegation noted the presence of numerous observers representing different parties, candidates or NGOs. The Congress found no obvious flaws in the voting process, or signs of pressure on the voters.

3.2 Problems encountered

The main problems encountered were the following:

A lack of information for voters on procedure in the polling stations

In most of the polling stations visited the Congress delegation noted a total or partial lack of information for voters concerning the voting procedure. This lack of information often meant that local election committee members had to explain the procedure to the voters orally, which slowed down the voting. The lack of information on the election was blatant in the prison and the remand prison.

The Congress delegation considers that improvements must be made in this respect before the next elections.

Too many voters registered in certain polling stations

In the 2003 local elections the Congress delegation observed that the number of voters in each polling station varied considerably and was often very high.13

This trend was confirmed in the 10 July 2005 elections, as a number of polling stations had 2,000 voters or more, which may be considered excessive. The low turnout helped to ease the pressure, but the spread of voters over the different polling stations should be reviewed so that no polling station has more than 1,500 voters.

Secrecy of the ballot 

The voting procedure provided for in the electoral code includes the "validation" of the ballot paper by a rubber stamp after the voter has chosen his or her candidate. This potentially gives the election committee members or observers present an opportunity to see which candidate the voter has voted for.

Congress observers criticised this procedure in the local and regional elections of 2003, considering that it jeopardised the secrecy of the ballot and therefore violated one of the most fundamental principles of democratic voting.

The Congress delegation brought the matter up with the President of the Central Electoral Commission on the eve of the 10 July 2005 elections. The CEC President confirmed that the procedure had not changed but that a better quality of ballot paper was now used, making it impossible for the election committee members or observers to see the vote.

On election day, in fact, the Congress teams observed no blatant violation of the secret ballot principle. The electoral authorities are to be congratulated on the improved quality of the ballot papers compared with those used in the 2003 local elections.

The Congress observers nevertheless emphasised the need for a revision of the provision of the electoral Code that defined this procedure,14 along the lines proposed in the Congress's previous reports15 - ie by stamping the ballot paper before the voter has voted (preferred solution) or by using envelopes which are sealed and stamped.

Police presence

A significant improvement over the local elections of 2003 was observed as regards the presence of police officers inside, outside and in the immediate vicinity of polling stations.

Although present in some (very few) of the polling stations visited, the police did not have a hand in the electoral process. In other cases, uniformed security guards responsible for the security of the buildings in which the polling stations were located were present.

Supplementary electoral registers

Non-registered voters can register their names on a "supplementary" register established by the polling station committee, on presentation of papers attesting to their place of residence. This procedure generally benefits voters as it allows them to exercise their right to vote even if their name has inadvertently been left off the electoral register.

The Congress noted that in comparison with the 2003 local elections, the percentage of voters registered on supplementary lists was very small. One fairly long supplementary list was observed, however, in the remand prison, because of the special nature of the establishment.

Other remarks

It is also worth noting that some voters refused to have a "Votat" ("voted") stamp affixed to their identity papers (passports), without which the vote is not considered valid, as they considered it humiliating and especially that these stamps would allow easy checking if they have or have not voted.

3.3 Counting of votes and announcement of results

On the whole, the counting of votes transpired without incident and the results were properly announced in the polling stations.

The Central Electoral Commission published the results in due time.

As the turnout in Chisinau (27.05 % of registered voters) did not attain the 1/3 required by the electoral Code, the elections held on 10 July 2005 were declared invalid and "repeat" elections were scheduled for 24 July 200516.

According to the Central Electoral Commission, in the 10 July elections Zinaida Grecianii (Communist Party)17 and Dumitru Braghis (independent) respectively won 50.15 % and 20.65 % of the votes cast. Dorin Chirtoaca (Liberal Party) won 7.13 % and Gheorghe Susarenco (Christian-Democratic People’s Party) 7.02 %. Other candidates scored less than 5 %.

4. THE “REPEAT” ELECTIONS OF 24 JULY 2005

4.1 The election campaign

On 15 July the Central Electoral Committee (CEC) set the date for “repeat” elections for 24 July, as the elections of 10 July were not validated owing to the low voter turnout. Under the Election Code, at least one third of the total number of voters included in the electoral list must attend the elections in order to validate the results.

The CEC also decided on increased electioneering, distribution of materials, and television and radio spots in view of getting people to the polls. In addition, the CEC called on the Chisinau District Electoral Council to eliminate the shortcomings pointed out by the observers. It also encouraged them to explain to the voters that the vote stamp applied to their identity cards was intended to eliminate multiple votes.

However, on 18 July, eight out of ten candidates for the position of Mayor of Chisinau withdrew from the electoral race. The Democratic Party candidate, Vladimir Guritenco, and independent bidder Mihai Severovan, withdrew first. Dorin Chirtoaca, representative of the Liberal Party, independent candidate Dumitru Braghis, Gheorghe Susarenco, of the Christian Democratic People’s Party, Gheroghe Sima, of the Labour Union Patria-Rodina, Vladimir Garaba, of the Green Alliance party, and independent candidate Iuliana Gorea-Costin withdrew from the electoral race on Monday 18 July, the deadline for withdrawal of candidates for the position of Mayor of Chisinau.

This meant that two candidates still attended the electoral race for the post of mayor-general of the Chisinau municipality: Valerii Klimenko, representative of the electoral bloc Patria-Rodina-Ravnopravye, and Zinaida Grecianii, representative of the Communist Party.

The election campaign was characterized by an unprecedented calm and order.

Media

The day before the Election Day the Congress delegation met some media representatives, given the importance of the media’s influence in the Moldovan municipalities. The print media in Moldova, which present a variety of opinions and political orientations, covered the election campaign extensively. Several political parties published their own publications and newspapers, as the Congress observers discovered on the spot.

Art. 47 of the Election Code states that: (1) Citizens of the Republic of Moldova, parties and other socio-political organizations, electoral blocs, candidates and trustees of candidates have the right to put forward for free discussion all aspects of candidates' electoral programs, and the political, professional and personal qualities of the candidates; and to campaign for or against candidates in elections at meetings, reunions, meetings with the electorate, using means of mass media and other forms of communication except for those that disturb public order or are unethical. Electioneering for an electoral contestant is allowed only after his/her registration with an electoral body.
(…)

The ambiguous language of Art 47 of the Election Code, advising TV and radio news programs to cover campaign activities of electoral contestants appeared to generate confusion as to what news bulletins could cover.

According to the legal framework, private broadcasters may decide not to cover the election campaign. In contrast, all public broadcasters were obliged to offer free time for the electoral campaign and debates. The Congress delegation was informed that some printed media filed several oral complaints to the CEC against competitors for not having marked their electoral materials which were published in newspapers as electoral advertisements. This behaviour is unfair and not permissible in a clear and transparent electoral campaign.

In addition, according to some independent media, the visit of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to Moldova, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Moldova’s accession to the Council of Europe, was used by the ruling party as propaganda. Thus the participation of some candidates in the Secretary General’s visit rather than in electoral rallies could have been construed as a tacit endorsement of the ruling party.

NGOs

Civil Society organizations are very active in monitoring the electoral process.
In these “repeat” elections, the Central Electoral Committee examined six separate applications for registration of election observers from the following organizations: L.A.D.O.M; Social organization for human rights “Human Dignity”; the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights; the International Association for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; the Centre for Development of Democracy, and Adjuta Civis. The Commission approved 112 replacements on the LADOM list and 145 (out of 157 proposed) observers from the Helsinki committee, while denying accreditation to some 637 proposed observers. The motivation for denial of accreditation was, according to the CEC, mainly the lack of certified professionalism, in some instance combined with the direct political affiliation of proposed observers.
This being so, the main domestic non-partisan organisations to observe the Chisinau elections were the League for Defence of Human Rights of Moldova (L.A.D.O.M)18, created at the General Assembly of founders on 26 December 1996, and registered by the Ministry of Justice on 19 March 199719 and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.
The Congress delegation was pleasantly surprised both by the greater understanding of the role of civil society in elections and, in particular, by the fact that in all polling stations visited by the delegation there was at least one representative from the Civil Society organizations. However, the Congress deeply regrets that the Central Electoral Committee denied access to other observers who wished to participate in the electoral process just because there was a “lack of certified professionalism”, without specifying (i.e. without definition of) this term. For the Congress, this idea corresponds to an implicit way of denying the participation of civil society in open electoral processes. The participation of civil society is a need in democratic elections.

Other problems

It is also worth noting that some officials in particular from the Ministry of the Interior led one to believe that they would carry out the verifications on Monday, the days after elections, to establish whether the civil servants had voted.

4.2 Polling Day

As far as Polling day is concerned, voting began at 7 am and closed at 8pm.
The two Congress teams of observers visited 40 polling stations throughout the city of Chisinau. One team also visited a hospital (the National Heart Hospital), General Commissariat and a prison (Chisinau Prison) to observe the conditions in which prisoners not deprived of their civil rights were able to vote.

The observers, following the decision of the Congress Bureau20, used for the first time the Council of Europe and OSCE/ODIHR election observation questionnaires adopted by the Venice Commission at the suggestion of the Council for Democratic Elections. It is the first time that the OSCE and the Congress have used this common questionnaire21, which incorporates the general principles of the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters, by enabling the observer delegations to gain a better overview of the elections.

On the whole, the mission’s main conclusions with respect to the positive aspects of the polling day are broadly similar to those settled on the elections of 10 July.

However, as far as the negative aspects are concerned, the Congress delegation took note of the difficulty of accessibility (unimpeded access) to some Polling Stations by people with reduced mobility, such as elderly people and people with disabilities. This is a point that the Congress delegation recommends be improved for future electoral processes.

After the election day, the Congress held a Press Conference22, where the head of the Congress delegation expressed the shortcomings pointed out by the members of the delegation during the “repeat” elections. Although the Central Electoral Committee announced preliminary results the day after the elections23, the final results were given without delay. At these “repeat” elections again, as on 10 July, the minimum threshold of voters included in the electoral list (one third) was not reached24 and therefore, results were not validated. The elections were declared invalid.

During the meeting of the Congress delegation with the president of the CEC (Petru Railean), held after election day, some issues such as other possibilities for “overcoming the crisis” were tackled. The President of the CEC explained to the Congress the existing possibilities:
the CEC suggest that the Parliament exclude the minimum limit of one third of voters, which is currently necessary for the validation of “repeat” elections.
The modification of the Constitution with the purpose of entitling the Parliament or the Presidency to name the mayor of the capital by a decision or a decree.
To re-run the elections without any legal modification.

The Central Electoral Commission must set a date for the new election of the General Mayor of Chisinau, which should be held in autumn 2005. The law stipulates that candidates should have 60 days for the election campaign.

5. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The delegation compared its findings with those of the observers deployed by the OSCE/ODIHR. Their findings were similar. A joint press release with the OSCE mission was issued the day after the 10 July elections (Appendix III).

In the view of the Congress observers, the election of the Mayor of Chisinau went fairly well on the whole, generally meeting international standards, particularly in the actual process of voting, counting the votes and announcing the results. The delegation observed substantial improvements compared with the 2003 elections.

Concerns were nevertheless voiced that the government's choice of election dates was perhaps not conducive to a good democratic turnout, hence the high level of abstention: less than 28 % of the electorate voted on 10 July and only 19.82 % on 24 July.

A political analysis is needed to determine the reasons for this poor turnout (other than the fact that the date of the elections fell in the height of the summer holiday season) and what lessons can be learnt from this "wasted" election. The absence, during the university holiday period, of most of the students who live in Chisinau during term time (making up at least 10 % of the city's population) and have the right to vote there no doubt contributed to the poor turnout. It is worth noting, however, that the students did not actively protest against the proposed election date.

The Congress observation mission also feels that progress needs to be made in the election campaign, particularly in respect of the principle of equality of opportunity for all the candidates.

The main misgivings of the Congress delegation concern the persistence of certain problems linked, for example, to the secrecy of the vote, the use of public resources in the election campaign and state interference in the campaign.

These problems have been recurrent in recent elections. The Congress delegation accordingly draws the attention of the Moldovan authorities to the need to revise certain provisions of the election laws (see conclusions in the respective sections of this report). It is also essential that, in future elections, the government and all the players involved respect the need for neutrality and impartiality during election campaigns in keeping with European democratic standards (particularly the Venice Commission's Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters).

Recommendations

Based on these observations, the delegation makes the following recommendations:

to the Bureau of the Congress:

to continue the monitoring of the situation of local and regional democracy in Moldova;

to send a delegation from the Congress to observe the new elections for the General Mayor of Chisinau, the date of which should shortly be fixed by the Central Electoral Commission;

to have this report circulated to the various Council of Europe authorities, including the Venice Commission's Council for Democratic Elections, and to the Moldovan press agencies and media, in order to continue to encourage the Moldovan authorities to make efforts to improve the situation.

to the central authorities in Moldova:

to make sure that there are no modifications to any electoral provision related to local elections, nor any legislative provision or regulation affecting the status of Chisinau, before the ongoing electoral process is completed;

to review certain provisions of the electoral Code, for example concerning the 60-day wait between the setting of a date for the elections and the actual elections, the practice of validating ballot papers by stamping them after the vote, and the marking of voters' passports with the stamp "Votat" ("Voted");

to pay particular attention to the choice of election dates and give political parties and candidates enough time for a meaningful election campaign and a flawless election;

concerning the proposal by certain central authorities in Moldova to change or even do away with the minimum turnout requirement, not to proceed with this revision of the law before the new elections of the General Mayor of Chisinau, which should take place in autumn 2005, in order to guarantee continuity and allow the new candidates to stand in the same conditions as in July. The possibility which was raised of modifying the Constitution with the purpose of entitling the Parliament or the Presidency to name the mayor of the capital by a decision or a decree should also be turned down as contrary to the concept and fundamentals of local self-government as enshrined by the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

APPENDIX I

LOCAL ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO THE
REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA
9 - 10 July 2005

PROGRAMME

CoE Congress Delegation:

Mr. Pascal MANGIN, Head of the Delegation, member of the Chamber of Local authorities, Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg (France, EPP/CD)

Ms. Ludmila SFIRLOAGA, member of the Chamber of Regions of the Congress, Councilor, Prahova County Council (Romania, SOC)

Mr. David LLOYD-WILLIAMS, member of the Chamber of Regions of the Congress, Councilor, North – Yorkshire County Council (UK, ILDG)

Congress Secretariat:

Mr. Jean-Philippe BOZOULS, Secretary of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress
Mrs. Irina BLONINA

Thursday, 7th July 2005

16:30 – Arrival of David Lloyd WILLIAMS at the International Airport Chisinau and accommodation at the Hotel “Jolly Alon”

18:20 – Arrival of Irina BLONINA at the International Airport Chisinau and accommodation at the Hotel “Jolly Alon”

Friday, 8th July 2005

Preparatory work and meetings

21:00 – Arrival of Ludmila SFIRLOAGA at the International Airport Chisinau and accommodation at the Hotel “Jolly Alon”

23:00 – Arrival of Pascal MANGIN and Jean-Philippe BOZOULS at the International Airport Chisinau and accommodation at the Hotel “Jolly Alon”

Saturday, 9th July 2005 
   
09:00 – 09:50 – Meeting with Petru RAILEAN, Chairman of Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Moldova
Place – CEC, working place

10:00– 11:10 – Coordinating Meeting with the OSCE observation team
Place – OSCE Mission Headquarters

11:20 – 12:00 – Meeting with Oleg ROTARU, Deputy Head of the Government Apparatus and Sergiu TATAROV, Councilor of the Prime Minister for Public Administration Reform issues.
Place – Government Building, room No

12:00 – 13:50 – Lunch

14:00 – 16:30 – Joint meeting with candidates to the position of Mayor General of Chisinau municipality:

Dorin CHIRTOACA, candidate from the Liberal Party,
Iuliana GORE-COSTIN, independent candidate
Dumitru BRAGHIS, independent candidate
Mihail SEVEROVAN, independent candidate

Place: Meeting Room at the SRSG headquarters, ASITO QBE building, 4th floor

16:45 – 17:30 – Meeting with Ambassador Vladimir PHILIPOV, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to Moldova
Place – SRSG Office

18:00 – 18:50 – Meeting with Igor MUNTEANU, Chairman of the NGO “IDIS Viitorul” (Mr MANGIN and Congress Secretariat)

Sunday 10th July 2005

Early morning: deployment of teams of observers.

Visits to polling stations and observation of the count.

Delegation meeting: polling observations

APPENDIX II

LOCAL ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO THE
REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA

23 - 25 July 2005

PROGRAMME

CoE Congress Delegation:

Mr. Pascal MANGIN, Head of the Delegation, member of the Chamber of Local authorities, Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg (France, EPP/CD)

Ms. Ludmila SFIRLOAGA, member of the Chamber of Regions of the Congress, Councilor, Prahova County Council (Romania, SOC)

Mr. David LLOYD-WILLIAMS, member of the Chamber of Regions of the Congress, Councilor, North – Yorkshire County Council (UK, ILDG)

Congress Secretariat:

Mr. Jean-Philippe BOZOULS, Secretary of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress
Mr. Oscar ALARCON

Friday, 22 July 2005

16:20 - Arrival of David LLOYD-WILLIAMS at the International Airport Chisinau and accommodation at the Hotel “Dedeman”

17:30 – Arrival of Pascal MANGIN, Jean-Philippe BOZOULS and Oscar ALARCON at the International Airport Chisinau and accommodation at the Hotel “Dedeman”

21:00 – Arrival of Ludmila SFIRLOAGA at the International Airport Chisinau and accommodation at the Hotel “Dedeman”

Saturday, 23 July 2005 
   

9:00 – 10:00 – Meeting with Paul STRUTZESCU, the Chairman of LADOM (NGO), street Alexandri 13, 2nd floor

10:15– 11:15 –Meeting with Petru RAILEAN, Chairman of Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Moldova
Place – CEC, working place

11:30 – 12:30 –Meeting with Zinaida GRECIANNII, candidate to the position of Mayor General of Chisinau, Communist Party and Alexandr PETCOV
Place: Mitropolitul Dosoftei 118. 2nd floor

13:00 – 14:30 – Lunch

14:45 – 16:30 –Meeting with media representatives:

Sergiu BATOG- Teleradio – Moldova Company –
Valentina URSU- Europa Libera
Sorina STEFIRTA- TIMPUL
Igor VOLNITSCHII - Infotag news agency

Place – SRSG Office

17:00 – 18:00 - Joint meeting with the ex-candidates to the position of Mayor General of Chisinau municipality, which refused participation to the second tour of elections

Gheorghe SIMA, candidate from “Patria-Rodina Labor Union”
Dorin CHIRTOACA, candidate from the Liberal Party,
Iuliana GORE-COSTIN, independent candidate
Dumitru BRAGHIS, independent candidate

Sunday 24th July 2005

- Early morning: deployment of teams of observers.

- Visits to polling stations and observation of the count.

- Delegation meeting: pooling observations

14:00 – 15:00 Coordinating Meeting with the OSCE observation team (Claus Neukirch, Political Officer at the OSCE Mission to RM)
Place – OSCE Mission Headquarters

22:00 – 23:30 Ad hoc meeting Congress delegation

Monday 25th July 2005

10:45 – 11:15 Ad hoc meeting with Vladimir PHILIPOV, Special Representative of the
Secretary General of the Council of Europe in Moldova.
Place – SRSG Office

11:30 – 12:30 Press conference
Place – SRSG Office

17:00– 18:00 Meeting with Petru RAILEAN, Chairman of Central Electoral Commission of
the Republic of Moldova
Place – CEC, working place

Tuesday 26th July 2005

5:00 – Departure to the International Airport Chisinau of David LLOYD-WILLIAMS and Ludmila SFIRLOAGA

Wednesday 27th July 2005

7:45 - Departure to the International Airport Chisinau of Pascal MANGIN, Jean-Philippe BOZOULS and Oscar ALARCON

APPENDIX III

Press Release
Local elections in Moldova’s capital calm, but not without shortcomings, OSCE and Council of Europe missions say
CHISINAU, 11 July 2005 – The first round of elections to the post of Mayor of Moldova’s capital Chisinau generally complied with most OSCE commitments and Council of Europe election standards, the OSCE Mission to Moldova and a delegation of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe said today.

However, yesterday’s elections fell short of some key commitments, particularly regarding campaign conditions and registration of election observers. Improvements with regard to information for voters in polling stations would also be desirable.

The OSCE Mission, supported by three election experts from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), carried out a political assessment of the elections. It followed the election campaign, regularly meeting election officials as well as candidates and civil society representatives.

On Election Day, six teams consisting of Mission Members and OSCE/ODIHR experts assessed the voting process in 97 out of the 283 polling stations.

The Congress delegation, composed of Pascal Mangin (France), Ludmila Sfirloaga (Romania) and David Lloyd-Williams (UK), followed voting procedures in several polling stations in Chisinau, including the central prison and the emergency hospital together with the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council, Ambassador Vladimir Philipov.

”While we were pleased to note that the elections were conducted in a calm atmosphere and in an orderly and professional manner on Election Day, we regret that the turnout requirement to make the elections valid has not been met,” said Ambassador William Hill, the Head of the OSCE Mission and Pascal Mangin, the Head of the Congress delegation.

Repeat elections are expected to take place in Chisinau on 24 July.

The OSCE Mission noted that voters had a genuine choice between ten candidates who represented different political forces and points of view. Print media offered diverse political views and information on the candidates’ electoral platforms. Broadcast media offered not only paid and free-of-charge electoral advertisements but also debates and covered campaign events in their news programmes.

“We are pleased to note that the regulations for covering the electoral campaign in the broadcast media were substantially improved after this year’s parliamentary elections,” they added. ”We hope that the remaining shortcomings with regard to campaign regulations will be addressed without delay.”

In this regard, the OSCE Mission made particular reference to the recent OSCE/ODIHR recommendation to provide candidates with sufficient space for campaign posters. It noted that the use of privately-owned advertisement space had been even more restricted than during the 2005 Parliamentary Elections.

Other shortcomings included instances of abuse of public resources and illegal campaigning by state employees, as well as the failure of the electoral administration to provide for timely registration of some local observers.

The OSCE Mission and the Congress delegation also called on the public broadcaster Teleradio Moldova to provide more balanced reporting in its newscasts, especially during election campaigns.

A more detailed assessment of the 2005 Mayor Elections in Chisinau will be prepared by the OSCE Mission after the completion of these elections.

For further information please contact

Claus Neukirch
Press and Public Affairs Officer
OSCE Mission to Moldova
108 str. Mitropolit Dosoftei
MD-2012 Chisinau
Tel: +373 22 223495, ext. 113
Mobile: +373 6911 70 24
Fax: +373 22 22 34 95
E-mail: claus.neukirch@osce.org

or

Council of Europe Press Division
Tel.: +33 3 88 41 25 60 
Fax: +33 3 88 41 39 11
E-mail: PressUnit@coe.int

APPENDIX IV
Note to Editors

Local elections in Moldova : Council of Europe Congress delegation calls for more suitable electoral timetable

Chisinau, 25.07.2005 - A Council of Europe Congress delegation has called for a more suitable election timetable. According to news from the Moldpress agency the local elections are to be declared invalid because of low turnout (19.7%).

Speaking at a press conference, delegation leader Pascal Mangin (EPP/CD, France) declared: “It seems that the electoral timetable was not the best from the point of view of mobilising the electorate. Evidently, the high level of absenteeism requires a political analysis. Lessons should be learned from this invalidated election. In future, sufficient time should be given to political parties and candidates in order to allow for the efficient functioning of an election beyond reproach”.
The delegation was made up of Mr Mangin, Ludmila Sfirloaga (SOC, Romania) and David Lloyd-Williams (ILDG, United Kingdom).

APPENDIX V

Strasbourg/Warsaw, 14 June 2005
CDL-AD(2005)013
Opinion No. 301 / 2004

ELECTION OBSERVATION FORM by the Venice Commission
And OSCE/ODIHR

Adopted by the Council for Democratic Elections
at its 13th meeting
(Venice, 9 June 2005)
and the Venice Commission
at its 63rd plenary session
(Venice, 10-11 June 2005)

cf : webcplre@coe.int

1 Letter from Petru Railean, President of the Central Electoral Commission, to Giovanni di Stasi dated 27 May 2005.

2 The turnout of registered voters in Chisinau having failed to reach the 1/3 mark stipulated in the electoral Code, the 10 July election was declared invalid.

3 CG/BUR (2) 35, CG (4) 20 Part II, CPR (7) 4 Part II, CG (9) 6 Part II, CG/BUR (8) 95,
CG/ BUR (9) 29, CG/BUR (10) 103 http://www.coe.int/T/E/Clrae/_5._Texts/3._Reports_country_by_country/#P516_7134

4 Report CG/CP (1)48 (1995)

5 Report CG/BUR (6) 8 rev (1999)

6 Report CG/Bur (10)19

7 Report CG/BUR (6) 58

8 Report CG/BUR (9) 59 (2002)

9 Report CG/Bur (10) 89

10 Parliamentary Assembly, Doc. 10480, 29 March 2005, http://assembly.coe.int/Mainf.asp?link=http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc05/FDOC10480.htm

11 Ghidighici in Chisinau municipality; Chetrosu in Anenii Noi rayon; Balasinesti and Slobozia-Sirauti in Briceni rayon; Alexandru Ioan Cuza in Cahul rayon; Piatra and Teleseu in Orhei rayon; Zaicani in Riscani rayon; Vadul-Rascov in Soldanesti rayon; Purcari and Talmaza in Stefan Voda rayon.

12 Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters, adopted by the Venice Commission, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (Resolution 148 - 2003).

13 According to the electoral Code, the minimum number of voters who could legally be registered at a polling station was 30 and the maximum 3,000

14 Article 54 - 5

15 CG/Bur (10)19, CG/Bur (10) 89

16 Articles 136 and 138 of the electoral Code

17 Now Minister of Finance of the Republic of Moldova

18 L.A.D.O.M is member-correspondent of the International Federation for Human Rights since December 1997 till present.

19 position no 776

20 Congress Bureau Meeting (CG/Bur (12) DEC.1 prov ), Paris on 12/07/2005

21 A summary of the observation form appears in Appendix V

22 Monday 25 July. See Appendix IV “Note to Editors”

23 Press Conference by Petru Railean, President of the CEC, on 25 July

24 Only 19,82% of voters took part in the 24 July poll



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