Municipal Elections in the Republic of Moldova: Effective Organisation Amidst Challenging Conditions
Sofía Medina Sánchez
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities from the Council of Europe were invited by the Republic of Moldova authorities to conduct an observation mission for the local elections held on November 5, 2023. Led by Gunn Marit Helgesen (Norway, EPP/CCE), the mission comprised 19 members, including 13 Congress representatives, one expert, and five Secretariat members.
Before the on-the-ground deployment on election day, preparatory meetings were held on November 3 and 4 in Chisinau. These meetings involved discussions with the Minister of Justice, the President of the Constitutional Court, and the Chair of the Central Election Commission (CEC). The Congress delegation also engaged with media representatives, domestic and international observers, including candidates and representatives from various political parties. Additionally, the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Core Team in collaboration with the European Parliament delegation, organised a briefing.
On the day of the election, nine teams from the Congress were dispatched to various districts throughout the country. Gunn Marit Helgesen commented, "We witnessed a calm, orderly, and transparent election day from the opening to the counting, with only some minor procedural issues. We appreciate the revision of the Electoral Code, which closed some previously identified legal loopholes and addressed our recommendations, particularly on campaign finance, independent candidates, and gender quotas.”
Vladimir Prebilic (Slovenia, SOC/G/PD), Deputy Head of the delegation, during the joint press conference with OSCE/ODIHR and the European Parliament on November 6, 2023 stated: “We appreciate the proactive measures taken by the authorities to combat electoral corruption. However, if the state of emergency is extended, a new approach is necessary, focusing specifically on the timing and implementation of restrictions. We anticipate continued political dialogue with Moldovan authorities to implement these recommendations.”
Fair and uncorrupt legal elections are a cornerstone of our democracies. These observation missions confirm their legality and aid in raising the confidence of the citizens, not only within the local population, but across Europe.
Sources and further Reading:
Council of Europe, Newsroom, Local elections in the Republic of Moldova: A well-organised election process, despite challenging circumstances, 7 November 2023: https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/local-elections-in-the-republic-of-moldova-a-well-organised-election-process-despite-challenging-circumstances
Council of Europe, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, News 2023, Congress to observe local elections in the Republic of Moldova, 31 October 2023: https://www.coe.int/en/web/congress/-/congress-to-observe-local-elections-in-the-republic-of-moldova