Saturday, August 23, 2014

French Observer Finds 'Dead Souls'

French National Assembly member Henri Plagnol told RFE/RL correspondent Ahto Lobjakas that he personally uncovered serious problems on a voter list in Orhei Vechi, a town outside the Moldovan capital known for its monasteries, during his monitoring on election day.

Concerns have been high over the number of "dead souls" on voter lists, since their presence makes election fraud easier.

Plagnol said polling-station officials in Orhei Vechi initially dismissed his queries after he noticed pencil markings next to names on the voter list.

Eventually, the embarrassed officials gave up the ghost themselves: "I was told these people were dead," Plagnol said.

-- Andy Heil

Exit Poll Says Communists Fall Short

Exit polling by the Institute of Public Politics suggests President Voronin's Communist Party got 41.7 of the vote, well short of a majority that would allow them to control either the legislature or the presidential vote single-handed.

The rest of the field looks like this, according to the exit poll: Liberal Democrats at 17.4 percent; Liberal Party at 16 percent; Democratic Party at 12.5 percent; and Our Moldova at 8 percent. No other parties looked likely to get into parliament.

-- Andy Heil

UPDATE: Home Reared

More on President Vladimir Voronin's Transdniestrian birthplace of Corjova, where separatist authorities prevented voters from getting to the polls.

RFE/RL correspondent Ahto Lobjakas, who spent part of the day traveling in the breakaway region of Transdniester, says French National Assembly member Henri Plagnol told him tonight that the ballot box from President Vladimir Voronin's birthplace of Corjova has gone missing. Just like that.

That's just what happened last time, the locals told Lobjakas.

Plagnol is part of an international observer mission. More on him soon, because he made a fascinating discovery in a place outside Chisinau called Orhei Vechi.

-- Andy Heil

Follow Chisinau Through RFERL Tweets

Don't forget our tweets from Moldova. We've been doing a mix so far -- some from editors on key stories, others from correspondent Greg Feifer in Chisinau. Most of what you see from here on out will be coming from Greg, as time permits.

Home Reared

In the last national elections on April 5, a group of Transdniestrians blocked the entrance to the polling station in Corjova, too.

One of the gems from RFE/RL's Moldovan Service that emerged during the voting today came from President Vladimir Voronin's birthplace of Corjova.

Corjova lies just on the "Transdniestrian side" of the Dniester River and is nominally under Moldovan jurisdiction but is in fact controlled by separatist militias.

Voronin has had to negotiate with separatists whenever he wanted to visit his hometown, including to attend his mother's funeral.

The Central Electoral Commission announced "blocked access" to the voting booths in Corjova today, so voters were told to use polling stations in two neighboring towns.

-- Mircea Ticudean

Czechs Give Moldovan Voters A Break

The Moldovan Embassy in Prague

Several voters at the Moldovan Embassy in Prague told RFE/RL on election day that their Czech employers had given them part or the whole day off (paid) so they could go vote.

One employer at a construction site outside the Czech capital had even driven two Moldovan laborers to the embassy to cast their ballots.

Some others said they'd traded for weekend shifts.

There are 11,000 registered Moldovans working in the Czech Republic, many of them in the construction sector.

-- Mircea Ticudean/Alexandru Eftode

What The Communists Fear Most

Mistake-prone? Communist President Vladimir Voronin

Russian political analyst Vitaly Portnikov has published a commentary on Moldova on that looks at some of the mistakes the ruling Communists have made during the standoff of the last few months.

Portnikov says the Communists and President Vladimir Voronin -- and the majority of outside observers -- miscalculated when they felt confident they'd be able to squeeze at least one opposition deputy to vote for the party's candidate to succeed Voronin as president. They adopted a very uncompromising position, which had the result of solidifying the fractured opposition and, more importantly, emboldening it to seek not just a compromise candidate for president but new elections.

He emphasizes that the opposition scored a major victory when a "new political situation" was created by the defection of former parliament speaker Marian Lupu from the ranks of the ruling party. Lupu was the "human face" of Moldova's Communist leadership. "He was the one who was always on display to the West and to Moldovans to show that the Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova is not quite communist -- it is just a name to attract the traditional electorate," Portnikov writes. And, true enough, the party is not made up of devoted ideologues -- Voronin's son is one of the richest people in Moldova.

"But in terms of its methods of governing, it is thoroughly communist," Portnikov argues. And Lupu's departure has raised widespread doubts that it can ever be reformed.

As a result, Portnikov says "the main result of the new elections may be the creation of the objective necessity to share power" -- something the Communists have resolutely opposed for at least the last four years. Looking back to April, he notes that the Communists originally had 61 seats in parliament according to preliminary results – enough to elect a president. But the postelection rioting prompted the authorities to agree to a recount that gave them just 60 seats and gave the opposition the chance to create a standoff.

Now, the question is whether the Communists are more afraid of sharing power or of risking another eruption of violence. The answer to that question, Portnikov concludes, will determine the extent to which the authorities resort to falsification.

-- Robert Coalson
About This Blog
Our #moldovavotes blog followed the July 29, 2009 elections through the eyes of RFE/RL correspondents and editors, guest bloggers, and other contributors. The vote was called after the announcement of a lopsided victory by the ruling Communists sparked street protests in April in the capital, Chisinau, that came to be dubbed a "Twitter revolution" in some Western media. Thus the #.

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