European students cast a critical eye on Moldovan parliamentary elections

On the weekend of the 30th of November AEGEE-Europe deployed 22 young observers to the parliamentary elections in Moldova. In pairs of two the observers visited around 50 polling stations,  that were spread out across different neighborhoods of Chisinau.

During all stages of election day (opening, voting, closing and counting) no major irregularities were observed. In general everything was well organized, all necessary materials were present and stations opened and closed on time. A big number of international and national (partisan) observers were present.

However AEGEE-Europe observers noted some procedural irregularities.  Due to the failure of the national online voter registration system, the registration process slowed down. This resulted in overcrowded polling stations which made it more difficult to guarantee the transparency of the voting process. In addition to this, the execution of the procedures differed between the polling stations due to the interpretation of polling station officials.

Picture by Stefan van Belzen

Furthermore, in several cases partisan observers did not respect their role and interfered. This was noted especially during the counting procedure. At times they touched ballots, their opinion was included in the decision making about validity of votes and their physical presence obstructed the counting process.

Regarding the voters, it was observed that the percentage of men and women voting was more or less equal. In most areas the majority of voters can be considered middle aged or elderly, young voters were observed mostly in the university districts. Among voters, it was not always clear how to cast their vote; they didn’t always know where to fill in the ballot paper, how to fold it and where to put it afterwards. Some cases of group voting were observed.  In both these cases members of the polling station proved to be very helpful or strict if needed.

Taking everything observed into account, AEGEE-Europe observers state that the parliamentary elections of the 30th November in Moldova were well organized, transparent but the procedures weren’t always executed correctly.