Partially fair and partially free elections in a generally better environment of the electoral campaign

Relying on the grounding principles[1] of free and fair elections, particularly:

–     ensuring a violence free electoral environment;

–     lack of attempts to intimidate or impede candidates to present their political programs;

–     equality of chances for all electoral candidates, which requires, among other, that state authorities maintain a neutral position with regard to the  the electoral campaign;

–     ensuring the right to vote for every citizen;

–     non-discriminatory access of electoral candidates to mass-media and a neutral reflection of elections by the mass-media, especially the public media;

–     freedom of mass-media;

–     freedom of voters to form an opinion;

–     accuracy of the voters’ lists;

–     clear distinction between party and state which would not allow, among others, the use by the government of public resources for party’s interest in the course of electoral campaigns, except for the cases provided for by the law;

The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections has noted a significant improvement of the general climate for conducting the electoral campaign for the republican constitutional referendum of 5 September 2010 as compared to the parliamentary elections in 2009;

Appreciates the conduct of the electoral campaign for the referendum of 5 September 2010 in a violence free environment, without severe attempts to intimidate or impede the voters to present their promoted options;

Appreciates the assurance by the state authorities, including electoral authorities, of better conditions for the citizens of Republic of Moldova residing abroad to be able to exercise their right to vote;

Appreciates that the government did not allow the public resources to be spent for promoting party interests during the electoral campaign for the referendum;

Appreciates the role of the media which reflected the entire electoral process mostly in an unbiased manner and offered many dialogue opportunities to all electoral actors participating at the constitutional referendum;


The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections considers that the voting for the republican constitutional referendum of 5 September 2010 – was NOT totally fair and taking into account the situation of the voters in Transnistria, as well as the intimidation campaign forcing voters not to vote – NOT totally free.

The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections established that in the course of the voting for the constitutional referendum of 5 September 2010, not all international election standards have been observed, a range of irregularities and deviations from the principles of free and fair elections having been noted:

The voting for the constitutional referendum of 5 September 2010 has been marked by a number of breaches of the electoral legislation, both during the campaign as well as on the election day: abusive influence and voters’ intimidation (at least 15 cases), unauthorized electoral billboards and agitation (at least 44 cases), electoral gifts (at least 3 cases), statements and urges on behalf of some local public authorities to boycott the referendum, contrary to the tasks they are entrusted with;

For the Moldovan voters from the Transnistrian region (about 10% of the total number of Moldova’s citizens with the right to vote) the authorities did not fully ensure their right to vote, there were no electoral campaign activities such as  debates, meetings with voters, electoral billboards. The voters in the region have not been informed by the authorities of the Republic of Moldova about which polling stations they have been ascribed to. Another particularly serious concern refers to the limited number of polling stations open for voters from the Transnistrian region compared with the much higher number of voters, as well as the incidents/impediments faced by the citizens from the region when they wish to exercise their right to vote;

A special concern during this voting too is the process of compiling voters’ lists and their quality. Thus, the Coalition has noted that the authorities in charge with compilingthe voters’ lists failed to prepare and submit them in accordance with the Central Election Committee schedule . Also, CEC did not post on its web page the voters’ lists, as required in the Electoral Code. At the same time, the Coalition is deeply concerned with the fact that the total number of voters on the voters’ lists and the manner in which voters’ turnout at the referendum have been calculated by the CEC has not been announced on the referendum day. This concern is determined especially by the technical problems faced by the CEC on the election day and which, the Coalition believes, can nourish suspicions on the authorities’ capacity to adjust the voters’ lists;

The behaviour of some audio-visual media institutions and the line regulatory authorities (the Coordinating Council of the Audiovisual) is another argument for stating that this voting has been only partially free and fair. Particularly, the Coalition noted the fact that the CCA did not exercise its duties in full compliance with the legal provisions (the CCA did not make public the list of the national radio-broadcasters within the time frame provided for by the electoral legislation; did not assure that the radio-broadcasters observed art. 64 (‘) para.2 of the Election Code; did not present to the CEC the reports on monitoring the manner in which the electoral campaign is reflected by the radio-broadcasters, etc.) and proved a formal and negligent attitude towards its duties;

The Coalition continues to believe that the CEC admitted deviations from the electoral legislation in force when registering political entities with an unstated political option or which intended to boycott the referendum. This is a reason why the messages addressed to the voters by means of the mass-media have been diffuse, contradictory, aimed at disorienting the voters. Thus, political entities, having at their disposal the widest possibilities to publicize their messages have ended up failing to inform the citizens in an appropriate manner. Besides, separate media institutions have amplified, by means of their editorial policy, the calls to boycott the referendum, rather playing the role of messengers of certain political forces than having the natural mission as that of  democratic journalism. The intention of the CCA expressed at the public meeting of 3 September 2010 to appropriately react to the infringements admitted by certain radio-broadcasters, revealed by its own monitoring service has failed, proving once again that the CCA does not fulfill its duty of a guarantor of the public interest.

The Coalition regrets that the wide possibilities provided by the mass-media to the referendum participants have not been used in a manner which would contribute to ample and complex information of the citizens regarding the importance of the constitutional referendum, to voters’ consolidation, to appropriate civic activism and in an end, to overcoming the political crisis with the participation of the citizens;

The Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections draws the attention of the public authorities, the politicians, the mass-media and the civil society on the need to continue the efforts to further ensure free and fair elections, in order to be able to speak of significant improvements of the electoral processes in the Republic of Moldova during the next electoral campaign for anticipated parliamentary elections that will take place this fall.

For additional information, please contact: Nicolae Panfil, Secretary of the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections, tel. 27-42-00, mob. 079381842, e-mail: The list of periodic reports, as well as the press releases that have been developed/transmitted by the members of the Coalition and the Secretariat during the electoral campaign for the referendum of 5 September 2010 can be accessed at

The Board of the Civic Coalition for Free and Fair Elections:

Ion Manole, Chairman, Promo-LEX Association

Ion Bunduchi, Director, Association of Electronic Press (APEL)

Daniela Terzi-Barbăroșie, Executive Director, Centre “Partnership for Development” (CPD)

Petru Macovei, Executive Director, Association of Independent Press (API)

Nadine Gogu, Director, Centre for Independent Journalism (CJI)

Serghei Neicovcen, Director, CONTACT Centre

Sandu Coica, Chairman, National Youth Council of Moldova (CNTM)

Olga Straton, Director, Association for the Promotion of Law Clinics (APJCM)

[1] The Code of electoral good practices of the Venice Commission for democracy through law of the Council of Europe, adopted in 2002 and the Document of the Copenhagen meeting of the Conference for human dimension of the OSCE of 29 June 1990, which the Republic of Moldova joined at 10 December 1991