Transparency International – Moldova expresses its deep concern about the spread of political corruption in the Republic of Moldova and the superficiality with which some institutions have monitored the parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019, not taking into account the context of the elections and coming out with hasty conclusions about their results.
We note that these elections took place in conditions of state capture, when most of the relevant public institutions demonstrated political fidelity to the ruling party, often neglecting legal rigor.
The specific aggravating context of these elections includes:
- Laundering around $ 22 billion through the corrupt judicial system and committing the $ 1 billion fraud from the banking system, both of which resulting in accumulation of enormous amounts of money in private pockets – money that could be easily turned into electoral campaigns to ensure impunity and maintain power of the involved people;
- Multiple legislative initiatives to legalize money with fraudulent provenience, exempt the persons involved in this fraud from criminal liability, institutionalize an international money laundering mechanism by granting citizenship for money – all of which talk about intentions other than establishing a state of democracy, law with a free economy;
- Modifying the electoral system, despite the recommendations of the Venice Commission, by holding elections in a single round without a minimum threshold; by reducing the duration of the election campaign to one month, hindering genuine monitoring by society; by applying techniques of gerrymandering and malapportionment in the delimitation of electoral constituencies – all for the benefit of the ruling party;
- The state authorities neglecting the provenience and legality of the enormous amounts of money paid for electoral purposes by the foundations belonging to party leaders; ignoring the abusive use of administrative resources, forfeiting the lists of political parties’ donors, the lists of parties’ supporters, and not applying sanctions to violators;
- Issuing integrity certificates to compromised candidates, which totally disparaged the idea of a system of integrity in public sector;
- Massive persecution of political opponents, local leaders, civic activists through law enforcement institutions and controlled media; suppression of civil society initiatives to return, by referendum, to the proportional electoral system;
- Misleading both, the development partners and the electorate about keeping the European path, but making tacit agreements with anti-European parties, including one led by the main figurant in the Kroll reports;
- Launching populist projects involving enormous spending, unsupported by budgetary means, which could generate state payment incapacity – all for the sake of ensuring impunity and maintaining power.
On the election day, multiple violations were identified, particularly voters’ corruption, mass transportation of voters from Transnistria and their compulsion to vote for a specific candidate for payment, impeding the Diaspora vote based on expired passports or contest this limitation of the right to vote, applying carousel schemes, signing the minutes concluding the electoral results prior to the closure of polling stations, presence in lists of voters of deceased persons.
By ignoring the specific aggravating context of these elections, the underestimation of the violations and frauds identified on the day of parliamentary elections is extremely dangerous and could undermine the democratic future of the Republic of Moldova, turning it into a polygon of harmful experiments that could be exported, affecting the democracy and security in the region.