Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Courting Disaster

The Constitutional Court ("CC") has pronounced the election result valid. The basis for this decision was Article 62 of the constitution, which requires the CC to validate the election on the basis of the Central Election Commission's (CEC) proposal, unless there have been breaches of electoral law.

Unfortunately that means we now have to take a look at the electoral code in all of it's 248-page glory. Buckle up, here we go!

We run into our first problem fairly early on, at Art 2 (1): "The citizen of the republic of Moldova participates in the elections through a universal, equal, direct, secret and freely-expressed vote." The elections were actually too universal, with the right to vote being extended to the dead and the unborn. They were not equal - citizens with multiple 'fise de insotire' were allowed to vote multiple times, for example. They were not freely-expressed, due to the intimidation of voters by local functionaries. They were not direct - citizens of a certain mental health institution had votes entered for them.

Art 3 says that citizens can be elected without distinction by, among other things, nationality. This would appear to conflict with the law recently introduced by the government outlawing the retention of dual citizenship by elected officials.

The next problem is in Art 22(g) - this requires the CEC to work with the Ministry of Information Development to ensure the accuracy of the electoral rolls. This did not happen - even as of election day the two bodies had very different views on the number of eligible voters.

Art 46(1) This requires all candidates and parties to have equal access to the media. Study after study however showed that the state media and several other channels were heavily favouring the ruling party and its allies.

Art 92 is interesting - this requires the CC to declare the elections null if there have been breaches of the election code sufficient in scope to affect the distribution of mandates. Note that the 20,000 false votes dug up by the liberals after reviewing 25% of electoral lists in 10 regions would see two mandates changing hands. Note also that thousands of private citizens have recorded falsified votes.

Art 93 requires repeated elections in the case of a null vote, with the guilty party being excluded.

It seems to me that there was a more than sufficient case to declare the elections null, find the PCRM guilty of fraud and run repeated elections without their participation.

Unfortunately the Constitutional Court decided to abrogate its duty to defend Moldovan democracy and instead chose the easy course of rubber-stamping the Communist's election win and participating in Moldova's downward slide towards dictatorship. It could have been their finest hour. Shame.

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