The United States has urged Moldovan officials to ensure a free and fair election process for the country's upcoming parliamentary elections.
The U.S. State Department said in a statement on January 16 that authorities in Moldova should "take all necessary measures" in the run-up to the February 24 elections and guarantee transparent results that reflect "the will of Moldovan voters."
"Local and national authorities should ensure that candidates are able to register to participate in the elections and carry out their campaigns without fear of harassment or physical harm," it added.
It also encouraged Moldova to implement recommendations for improved elections that were made by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) but not yet instituted.
The ODIHR said on January 16 that its observers had begun to monitor the election process in Moldova.
Matyas Eorsi, the ODIHR Moldova mission head, said at a press conference in the capital, Chisinau, that his main concern was "not the result but a proper election process" that complies with democratic standards.
The State Department also urged the media to provide equal access "to all candidates" and for outlets to be "fair, balanced, and impartial."
The 101 parliament seats will be filled in a mixed election system in which 50 will be won by lawmakers on party lists and the other 51 will go to the victors in individual constituencies.
There are currently six parties represented in Moldova's parliament, with the largest number of seats held by the opposition Socialist Party.