Friday, May 22, 2009

A shot at redemption

The western response to communist electoral abuses has been fairly pathetic so far. The US and the EU seem to believe that playing down the PCRM's blatant vote-rigging and control over the media can somehow bring 'stability' to the Union's eastern border. Even if it were the truth (which it isn't), this view actually means that those two entities are putting their own interests (stability) ahead of those of the Moldovan people (a legitimate government).

First of all, there will never be stability without legitimacy. In every democracy there is an implicit contract under which the minority cedes to the majority the right to rule. in return the majority upholds the constitutional rights of the minority. Where the majority is failing to honour its side of the contract, the minority will refuse to cede power. Stability will only come therefore when constitutional rights (including the right to a fair and equal vote) are upheld.

Secondly, the US and the EU are not just political entities. They are also ideals - of democracy, liberalism & human rights. Generations of people in countries all around the world look to them for moral leadership, and this moral leadership leverages up their political power, as Barack Obama noted yesterday.

The opposition boycott of the presidential election should make the western powers sit up and take notice. First, it is now clear that Moldova has a strong and united opposition, capable of taking over from the communists. second, the chances now appear good that there will be anticipated elections.

It is in respect of the latter that the west has the opportunity to redeem itself. Legitimate government can only be restored in Moldova on the basis of free and fair elections. Free and fair elections will require two things in particular - a free media and a fair electoral process. The West must make it clear to the communists that it will not accept a new PCRM victory as legitimate unless (a) the state media is immediately freed from political control and (b) trustworthy international election specialists (not the monkeys from the OSCE) work alongside the CEC to clean electoral rolls, extend overseas suffrage and eliminate multiple voting.

In the event that the new election does not meet these standards, the EU & US should declare the communist regime illegitimate and tak action as appropriate.

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