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Parliamentary elections to take place in Moldova

November 30, 2014, 7:34 UTC+3 CHISINAU

Struggle between supporters and opponents of European integration was central to the recent election campaign

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CHISINAU, November 30 /TASS/. Parliamentary elections will take place in Moldova on Sunday. The newly-elected deputies will form the bodies of power in Moldova in the next four years.

Struggle between supporters and opponents of European integration was central to the recent election campaign. For that reason, the elections were called a foreign policy referendum. In summer, Moldova signed an association agreement with the European Union, which cancelled visas for Moldovan citizens. Opinion polls, however, show that the majority of the population in Moldova wanted integration with the Customs Union. More than 90 % of people in the unrecognized Dniester Republic and the Gagauz Autonomy also voted for the integration with the Customs Union at their referendums. This distribution of political forces has put the authorities in a difficult situation, which, as experts say, has become the sharpest and the dirtiest in Moldovan history.

Sociologists believe that only five parties have a chance to surpass a 6% threshold. They will have to agree with each other to form a parliamentary majority. The Liberal Democratic Party and Democratic Party are planning to recreate a pro-European coalition. Liberals favoring Moldova’s unification with neighboring Romania and accession to NATO are also ready to join them. These parties have been running Moldova for the fifth year. However, they have failed to eradicate poverty and curb corruption. The country’s economic situation leaves much to be desired. Power ratings have fallen following corruption scandals among coalition leaders. According to opinion polls, they are losing to opposition candidates from the Communist Party of Moldova headed by former President Vladimir Voronin and the Party of Socialists led by Igor Dodon. A decision to remove the third opposition party - Rodina - from the race two days ahead of the vote tipped the scale in favor of the opposition. Its leader, Renato Usatyi, had criticized the Moldovan authorities for corruption and suggested putting the agreement with the European Union to a referendum. According to Moldova’s Central Electoral Commission, the party had been illegally sponsored from abroad. Police carried out raids on the party members homes while Usatyi had to leave the country to avoid arrest. The Russian Foreign Ministry and the ambassadors of the United States and the European Union to Moldova also expressed concern over the incident.

The Moldovan parliament consisting of 101 deputies is elected according to a proportionate system for four years. The deputies form all bodies of power in the country.

This year, 3.2 million eligible voters, including almost 200,000 citizens of the Dniester Republic who have received Moldovan passports were included in the voters’ lists. One third of them is still undecided for whom they are going to vote.

A total of 2,073 polling stations will be open for them, including 95 in foreign countries: 25 - in Italy; 15 - in Romania; 6 - in the United States. Only five polling stations with a total of 15,000 ballot papers will work in Russia where most Moldovan labor migrants work. The Moldovan opposition harshly criticized the authorities of intention to deprive almost one fifth of voters, who traditionally vote for leftist parties, of their right to vote.

Konstantin Romodanovsky, the head of the Russian Federal Migration Service, who met Igor Dodon, the head of the Moldovan Party of Socialists, early in November said that FMS would allow Moldovans who had violated the migration rules to go home and take part in the vote. He also promised they would face no barriers and obstacles upon their return to Russia and would be given assistance in getting work permits.

Polling stations will be open until 21:00 Moscow time /22:00 Moscow time/. The Central Electoral Commission has the right to extend their work for 2 hours at most. An unbelievable number of monitors - 816 - are going to monitor the elections. They include representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe /OSCE/; the Commonwealth of Independent States /CIS/ and the European Union.

An electronic voter registration system has been introduced at this year’s novelty, which, however, does not rule out the traditional method.

The elections will be recognized to be valid only if one third from the general number of voters will show up at polling stations. The first vote results will be known two hours after the polling stations have been closed. Preliminary results will be known by Monday morning. Monitors from political parties will be engaged in a parallel vote count.

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