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Chisinau Mayor Referendum Expected To Be Ruled Invalid After Low Turnout


A turnout of at least one third of Chisinau's voters was needed for the referendum to be considered valid.

A local referendum held in Moldova's capital, Chisinau, on whether to dismiss the city's mayor is expected to be declared invalid after a low turnout.

The November 19 referendum needed a turnout of at least one third of the city's 647,000 eligible voters to be declared valid.

But official results put turnout just below 18 percent, with 88 percent voting to dismiss the mayor while 12 percent voted against.

The Constitutional Court is expected to rule the referendum invalid on November 20.

Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca, who is facing accusations that include corruption, will remain suspended awaiting the judicial decision.

Several political parties and factions, including Chirtoaca's opposition Liberal Party, had called on voters to boycott the referendum.

Chisinau's municipal council voted in September to organize the referendum after suspending the mayor from office.

The move came after Chirtoaca and several other city officials, including Chisinau's two deputy mayors, were charged in a case involving a tender for the capital's paid parking lots.

Chisinau Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca (file photo)
Chisinau Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca (file photo)

Chirtoaca, deputy chairman of the pro-European Liberal Party, denies the passive-corruption and influence-peddling charges that have been filed against him.

Moldovan authorities detained Chirtoaca in May, and later placed him under house arrest pending a trial.

Chirtoaca, 38, is being investigated for alleged abuse of power in another criminal case regarding the allocation of municipal housing in the capital.

He has been mayor of Chisinau since 2007 and supports reunifying the country with neighboring Romania.

This year, the Liberal Party kicked off a campaign to collect signatures for a referendum to suspend the country's pro-Russian president, Socialist Igor Dodon, for actions incompatible with his office.

Dodon's Socialists have, in turn, started a campaign to suspend Chirtoaca.