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Demagog - Chisinau Report (2021)

FAKE NEWS: Maia Sandu directed the secret services to eliminate candidates running against PAS

Maia
©EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU  |   Moldova's President-elect Maia Sandu (C) attends at a protest in front of parliament building in Chisinau, Moldova, 03 December 2020. The demonstrators protest against the initiative of a law, about transfer of control on SIS (Information and Security Service) back to the parliament, for fear of concealing of existing corruption schemes.

Maia Sandu wants to eliminate electoral competition in favor of the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), which she led before becoming president, according to a false narrative promoted by AUR and the pro-Russian forces in Chisinau. The promoters of the narrative knowingly ignore the political and administrative realities of the Republic of Moldova, in an attempt to undermine the party that stands as favorite in the polls.

NEWS: “The Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) and President Maia Sandu have started an active campaign to exclude the other candidates from the race for the early parliamentary elections of July 11, 2021, just as Vlad Plahotniuc did against Renato Usatii's Patria Party, in the 2014 elections.

Thus, at the command of PAS and Maia Sandu, the president of CEC sent to the Police a notification regarding alleged forged documents belonging to the Democracy at Home Party, led by Vasile Costiuc.

The head of CEC, Dorin Cimil, proposed for the position and supported by PAS, sent to GPI a statement signed by several alleged members of the Political Party “Democracy at Home”, registered last week, expressly requesting an investigation into a case of forged documents, in terms of institutional competence. The document submitted to GPI was not accompanied by evidence to show that the signatories of the complaint are members of the “Democracy at Home” Party.

“As regards the Alliance for the Union of Romanians, led by Vlad Bilețchi, PAS and Maia Sandu asked SIS to draw up a report on the alleged external financing and involvement of foreigners in this party’s election campaign.

The report was presented to CEC early last week. In his reply of June 24, Dorin Cimil informs SIS that some electoral services may be provided by foreigners, but that CEC will intervene and apply sanctions only if these consulting costs are not officially reported”, telegraph.md writes.

NARRATIVES: 1. Maia Sandu involves SIS in the election campaign against certain candidates that run against PAS. 2. The most powerful institutions in the Republic of Moldova work for certain pro-European parties.

LOCAL CONTEXT / ETHOS: A tough election campaign is unfolding in the Republic of Moldova for the election of a new parliament in Chisinau. Ranking first in pre-election polls, the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), led by Maia Sandu before she became president, is the target of attacks launched by both pro-Russian parties and other candidates who claim to be pro-European as well.

The attacks are focusing on Maia Sandu, who has remained the face of PAS. Maia Sandu is still the most popular politician in the Republic of Moldova and enjoys the highest level of trust.

Instead, the left-wing parties, as well as also other political forces representing the kleptocratic class in Chisinau, want to maintain the status quo in the Republic of Moldova and are not at all interested in any political reforms or rendering the state more democratic.

It is in this context that AUR emerged on the Moldovan election stage, with provocative actions, meant to ensure a certain media impact, initially in Gagauzia and on the de facto border with the separatist region of Transnistria. The latest scandal in which AUR has been involved started after the president of AUR Moldova, Vlad Biletchi, stated on a televised debate on Pro TV Chisinau, on June 25, that AUR was helped by advisers from Romania, but that they were doing it pro-bono and there was no need to declare their expertise in CEC’s financial reports. Subsequently, CEC called on SIS to verify the legality of AUR’s funding.

On Wednesday, AUR issued a press release on its Facebook page saying that Biletchi's words had been misinterpreted and that those providing counseling for AUR Moldova were in fact AUR parliamentarians with both Moldovan and Romanian citizenship.

Over the past week, Maia Sandu and PAS have become the main targets of AUR’s campaign in the Republic of Moldova. Theoretically, the party wants the votes of the most radical right-wing voters and supporters of the union of the Republic of Moldova with Romania.

Its strategy, however, also mobilizes the undecided electorate from the pro-Russian left, which stands against the said union.

PURPOSE:  To discredit Maia Sandu, the de facto face of PAS, and to project the image of an abusive leader who commands political police actions.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: When she became president of the country, following the elections held on November 15, 2020, Maia Sandu stopped being the president of the Action and Solidarity Party. According to the Constitution, as stated in Article 81, paragraph 1, the chapter on “immunities and incompatibilities”, while in office, the President of the Republic Moldova can no longer hold other positions, including that of party leader.

“The quality of President of the Republic of Moldova is incompatible with the exercise of any other remunerated position”, the supreme law states.

In fact, PAS is still in opposition, the parliamentary majority and the interim government being in the hands of the coalition of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova, led by Igor Dodon and the Ilan Shor Party, led by the fugitive oligarch of the same name.

In December 2020, even the Socialists tried to take SIS out of presidential control and bring it back under parliamentary control, after they had previously subordinated it to the presidency, during Igor Dodon’s term, after the fall, on June 14, 2019, of the democratic government headed de facto by the now fugitive oligarch, Vlad Plahotniuc.

Moreover, at the Supreme Security Council (CSS) meeting held on May 28th, 2021,  President Maia Sandu called on all competent institutions to provide a fair competitive framework for the running of this election campaign.

“The ways and means by which illegal financing is achieved in politics are multiple and entail great dangers for the state. We are talking money laundering, smuggling, corruption, fictitious donations, influence peddling, organized crime - and this is proven by the information presented today in this meeting of the CSS”, the head of state said.

The request came against the background of the “Bahamas affair”, which proved that Russia financed Igor Dodon through offshores and companies owned by his trusted man, the Socialist deputy and childhood friend, Corneliu Furculiță.

The request was addressed to the General Prosecutor's Office, SIS, the Money Laundering Service, the Ministry of Interior, the National Integrity Agency (ANI) and other relevant institutions to identify the risks and detect and investigate potential illegal financing of candidates.

Also, the president of CEC, Dorin Cimil, was indeed appointed during the PAS-PSRM government, but shortly after the appointment, PAS and then the leader of this party, Maia Sandu, called for his resignation on grounds that he had not observed his mandate and was playing the political game of Igor Dodon and PSRM.

Moreover, in June 2019, the current head of SIS, Alexandr Esaulenco, appointed one of Igor Dodon’s  former presidential advisers, Artur Gumeniuc, as his deputy.

GRAIN OF TRUTH:  At the last meeting of the Supreme Security Council, Maia Sandu requested a careful monitoring of the financial flows that are not reported according to the law by the candidates in the elections.

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  • Publication / Media:
    telegraph.md
  • Language / Target audience:
    those that want union with Romania; indirectly it mobilizes the pro-Russians as well
  • Amplification:
    Primul in Moldova, Telegram channels
  • Political affiliation:
    PSRM
  • Key narrative:
    Maia Sandu directed the secret services to eliminate candidates running against PAS
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  • Maia Sandu wants to eliminate electoral competition in favor of the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), which she led before becoming president, according to a false narrative promoted by AUR and the pro-Russian forces in Chisinau. The promoters of the narrative knowingly ignore the political and administrative realities of the Republic of Moldova, in an attempt to undermine the party that stands as favorite in the polls.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. Maia Sandu involves SIS in the election campaign against certain candidates that run against PAS. 2. The most powerful institutions in the Republic of Moldova work for certain pro-European parties.
  • PURPOSE: To discredit Maia Sandu, the de facto face of PAS, and to project the image of an abusive leader who commands political police actions.
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