Charter of Free and Fair Elections

In recognition of the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the OSCE of June 29, 1990, and the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission);

In appreciation of the fundamental principles of free and fair elections, as well as the role of an open competition between electoral contestants, along with citizens’ conscious election choices;

In emphasis of the relevance of securing the legal and lawful nature of political power and, implicitly, the right to govern under the people’s will, expressed through periodic and veritable elections;

Focusing on the opportunity to develop a democratic representative government system in the Republic of Moldova;

Highlighting the responsibility shared among authorities, citizens, and political forces in the building and strengthening of democratic institutions;

Understanding the mission and responsibilities borne by the civil society in improving a country’s degree of democracy and in protecting the rights and interests of those governed;

Taking into account the experience accumulated from previous election cycles, starting with the 2005 Parliamentary elections;

We, the signatories of this Charter for Free and Fair Elections, acknowledge, accept, and endorse the following electoral standards:

 Legal Framework

  1. The legal framework guarantees and ensures the fundamental rights and liberties of all electoral subjects;
  2. The legal and affiliate frameworks are revised and improved following international best practices;
  3. The legal framework ensures equal conditions for all electoral contestants (political parties vs. independent candidates, electoral contestants from within the country, including the transnistrian region vs. electoral contestants from the diaspora);
  4. The electoral legal framework contains precise and clear provisions that are applied promptly and adequately;
  5. The electoral legal framework ensures the right of all voter categories to effective and complete participation in the election process.

 Institutional Framework

  1. Electoral bodies are considered to be independent and impartial if, upon organizing and conducting elections, they exercise the entirety of their attributions fairly and without bias;
  2. Electoral bodies of all tiers ensure election process transparency by publishing on their websites and/or by offering unlimited access for observers and mass media to all electoral materials and electoral contestant files, including permission to copy said data;
  3. Electoral bodies ensure efficient and correct designs for voting ballots, equip voting stations appropriately, ensure security and transportation measures for electoral materials;
  4. Electoral bodies, on Election Day, ensure vote secrecy; assist voters; apply adequate vote counting procedures; correctly monitor annulled and unused ballots; accurately fill final voting result minutes;
  5. Electoral bodies, in cooperation with other competent institutions, exercise maximum diligence in preventing or combating electoral fraud cases;
  6. Electoral bodies ensure fair distribution of voting stations inside the country and abroad;
  7. Electoral bodies of all tiers are well trained and follow electoral procedures adequately;
  8. Electoral bodies of all tiers abstain from using their attributions in any form that would advantage or disadvantage any of the electoral contestants;
  9. Electoral bodies, in cooperation with other competent institutions, manage voter lists efficiently and inclusively, guaranteeing the quality of the former and of the State Register of Voters;
  10. Electoral bodies react promptly and apply lawful sanctions to electoral contestants who demean human dignity, instigate to hatred and social division based on political beliefs, ethnicity, linguistic identity, affinity, etc;
  11. Electoral bodies secure the resolution of electoral disputes/litigations in a time-efficient and unbiased manner;
  12. Electoral bodies compute vote results correctly and transparently, and release them officially in a timely manner;

Election Campaigns

  1. Election campaigns are conducted in accordance with electoral and other relevant legislation;
  2. Election campaigns are conducted with the guarantee and assurance of the right to be elected, both for national-level precinct contestants, as well as for electoral contestants from uninominal precincts;
  3. Electoral subjects exercise their right to plead for or against someone, concurrently abstaining from methods that are inadequate to civilized electoral competition, including fabrication and promotion of information that is humanly degrading, instigating to hatred, and social division, based on political beliefs, ethnicity, linguistic identity, affinity, etc;
  4. Representatives of national and local public administration do not use administrative resources to the advantage or disadvantage of any electoral contestant;
  5. Upon necessity, competent entities intervene promptly to fight cases of use of administrative resources for electoral purposes.

 Electoral Contestants

  1. Electoral contestants plead for a conscious choice, made by citizens, based on free and open competition in electoral programs/platforms;
  2. Electoral contestants conduct their electoral agitation activity without any impediments, with emphasis on debating electoral programs/platforms, and do not use instruments aimed at voter manipulation and misinformation;
  3. Electoral contestants do not involve the Church and clerics in their electoral agitation actions;
  4. Electoral contestants do not employ bribery, coercion and/or intimidation of voters;
  5. Electoral contestants are treated without bias by electoral authorities, central and local public authorities, law enforcement (police, prosecution, etc.), and courts of law.

 Election Campaign Funding

  1. Election campaign funding is conducted transparently and from legal sources;
  2. Funding for the election campaigns of electoral contestants can be provided by anyone with a desire to do so, individuals or legal entities within the country who aren’t subject to any legal interdictions, within the funding ceilings provided by active legislation;
  3. Information regarding electoral contestants’ campaign funding is openly accessible;
  4. Each electoral contestant presents periodic public reports on their campaign funding and use of pecuniary resources;
  5. Competent bodies intervene promptly and efficiently in stopping any deviation from legal norms regarding election campaign funding.

  Mass media

  1. Mass media institutions reflect election campaigns without any interference from authorities, electoral entities, or electoral contestants;
  2. Mass media institutions reflect election campaigns correctly, without bias, and in a balanced way, following legal provisions and professional norms;
  3. Mass media representatives have unrestricted access to events organized by electoral contestants and electoral bodies;
  4. Mass media institutions (unless party-owned) do not engage in electoral agitation;
  5. Mass media institutions all electoral contestants equally and without discrimination, seeking to provide citizens with adequate information on contestants’ electoral programs/platforms;
  6. Mass media institutions’ activity throughout election campaigns is monitored by competent entities (electoral bodies, broadcasting regulation authority) that intervene promptly and efficiently in cases of infringements on legal norms;
  7. Mass media institutions’ activity throughout election campaigns is monitored by civil society organizations that publish their monitoring results and notify competent bodies in cases of infringements on legal norms.

Electoral Rights for Specific Voter Categories

  1. Students’ right to vote at their place of study is guaranteed;
  2. Military voting rights are fully provided for and exercised;
  3. The voting rights of persons in residential institutions are provided in accordance with the international standards assumed by the Republic of Moldova;
  4. The right to be elected is equally guaranteed for men and women, through any methods, including on candidate lists, and within any types of elections;
  5. The right to be elected is guaranteed to youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, at least in proportion to their category shares within the pool of voters;
  6. The rights of persons with motor, mental, or sensory disabilities — to have full access to both electoral information and events pertaining to the election process — are guaranteed;
  7. The right to plenary participation in the election process by voters from the diaspora is guaranteed;
  8. The rights of Moldova diaspora citizens to elect and be elected is guaranteed.

 Final Provisions

  1. The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections monitors and evaluates each electoral cycle, relative to the standards listed in this Charter for Free and Fair Elections;
  2. The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections publicly presents midterm and final monitoring and evaluation reports for each electoral cycle;
  3. The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections shall, if need be, addend, amend, and revise the provisions of this Charter for Free and Fair Elections.

Adopted in Chișinău on May 2, 2018.