Report #7: Promo-LEX Election Observation Mission found a number of worrying incidents

Use of administrative resources, involving religious cults in the election campaign of a candidate, use of
undeclared financial and in-kind resources, as well as violation of the restrictions imposed by the
National Extraordinary Public Health Commission. These are the main findings of Promo-LEX
Observation Mission, reflected in its Report No 7 on the observation of the presidential election in the
Republic of Moldova.

Besides the findings related to the campaign activities carried out by the two candidates that reached
the second round of election, Promo-LEX OM underlines repeatedly the lack of explicit and exhaustive
legal provisions in the Electoral Code to regulate the conduct of the second round of elections.

Electoral incidents impacting the campaign

Promo-LEX Observation Mission draws the attention on a case that could be interpreted as use of undeclared financial and in-kind resources by candidate Igor Dodon. It is about the alleged printing of a larger number of the campaign newspapers than stated in the printing data, as well as at another
printing house than stated in the publication.

It is also suspicious that though both the newspaper and the invoice for printing services are dated
9 November 2020, the publication contains at least one picture that seems to be taken at the press
conference of 10 November 2020 of district presidents and deputy presidents in support of candidate
Igor Dodon. In addition, at least two copies of newspapers printed before the first round of elections
were found in the Universul printing house. However, according to the information reported to CEC,
candidate Igor Dodon did not print newspapers or other promotional products at Universul printing
house during the electoral campaign for the elections of 1 November 2020.

We also warn about the violation of the restrictions established by the National Extraordinary Public
Health Commission, as two types of events involving a big number of participants were carried out
in support of Igor Dodon. One of them was a people’s march in Balti Municipality in which more than
200 people participated, and the other one was about at least 20 car marches across the country,
involving more than 450 cars. Another people’s march is scheduled to take place in Chisinau on 13
November 2020 in support of the same candidate.

The observers also reported two cases of involving religious cults in the election campaign of
candidate Igor Dodon.

The contenders continue to use administrative resources
Promo-LEX observers reported at least 142 electoral activities carried out by the two runner-up
candidates for the second round of the presidential election. Of them, Igor Dodon (IC) carried out
51% of activities (72), while Maia Sandu (PAS) carried out 49% (70). PSRM continues its active
participation in the campaign of independent candidate Igor Dodon.
Also, at least 12 cases that can be regarded as use of administrative resources were found. Out of
them, 11 cases featured Igor Dodon (IC), and one case – Maia Sandu (PAS).

At least MDL 500,853 were not reported by the two election contenders. According to the reports submitted to CEC, the revenues reported by election contenders for 4-6 November totalled MDL 956,816, including donations in commodities, objects, works and services.
Of these, MDL 556,367 (58%) were reported by Maia Sandu (PAS), and Igor Dodon (IC) reported
MDL 400,450 (42%). The OM estimated that at least MDL 500,853 were not reported by the two election contenders for the first week of election campaign for the second round of the presidential election. Of that amount,
Igor Dodon (IC) did not report MDL 394,422 (79%), while MDL 106,431 (21%) were not reported by
Maia Sandu (PAS).
Also note that the election contenders continue not to report expenses associated with electioneerers
and not to submit declarations on their volunteer work.

An increase in the number of people wanting to vote at the place of stay, that is at home

The Promo-LEX Observation Mission sounds the alarm bells about the increase in the number of people willing to cast their vote at home, compared to the first round. In this context, we also draw the attention to at least four cases when requests to vote at the place of stay were collected by unauthorised people: three cases involved people reported as electioneerers of candidate Igor Dodon and one case involved employees of the post office.

Electoral bodies’ failure to comply with protection requirements.

Although slight improvements were noticed in terms of the extent to which DECs comply with the epidemiological requirements, the fact that not all DECs observe the pandemic-related requirements is worrying: 5 (14%) councils do not have a register for monitoring the temperature of electoral officials; at least 8 (22%) DECs do not measure the visitors’ temperature; 2 DECs (6%) do not display any information about the health protection rules during pandemic. Unfortunately, precinct electoral bureaus (PEBs) were also found not to comply with the protection requirements in the context of pandemic.

The second round affected by hate speech and incitement to discrimination
Hate speech and incitement to discrimination influenced the election campaign of the second round.
Thus, of a total of 51 reported cases, the independent candidate Igor Dodon used this type of speech
in 7 cases. At the same time, there were reported at least 34 cases of using hate messages and/or incitement to
violence against the PAS candidate Maia Sandu (26 cases) and the independent candidate Igor Dodon
(8 cases) by politicians, journalists, opinion leaders or candidates’ supporters.
In other 10 cases, this type of speech targeted members of political parties and/or supporters of candidates, as well as public officials, politicians and voters in general. The Promo-LEX Association emphasises that the use of hate speech and incitement to discrimination in the public space and in the mass-media by candidates and their supporters harms not only the dignity of counter-candidates, by also that of people from particular social groups, including when prejudice and stereotypes are used or when people are incited to discrimination and violence.

RAPORT nr. 7_MO Promo-LEX_APr_2020
Filename : raport-nr-7_mo-promo-lex_apr_2020.pdf (2 MB)
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