The West might rig snap elections, Sputnik.md writes, taken over by PSRM affiliated sites. The narrative appears against the background of the Constitutional Court’s opinion on the dissolution of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, which is dominated by the Socialists led by pro-Russian Igor Dodon.
NEWS: “Political analyst Valentin Krylov questions the transparency of the snap parliamentary elections that are likely to be held soon. He claims that such possible rigging might target the votes in the diaspora.
President Maia Sandu and the pro-presidential party PAS have repeatedly made public their position with regard to the political future of the Republic of Moldova: the launch of early parliamentary elections at any cost and by any means.
The Socialists and representatives of other political forces that are part of the parliamentary majority have repeatedly stated that, in the context of the pandemic and the state of emergency declared to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, these elections cannot be held, as they would lead to an increase the number of infections.
[Political analyst Valentin] Krylov says that we cannot rule out the possibility of the electoral process getting rigged, with help from the West, by allocating a large number of votes to PAS. The expert says that the members of the Central Election Commission must be vigilant and not allow such large-scale fraud if early parliamentary elections were to take place anyway. "
NARRATIVE: Maia Sandu will rig elections in the diaspora, for her benefit, with the help of the West.
PURPOSE: The narrative is part of the campaign to denigrate President Maia Sandu, which intensified before the dissolution of Parliament. At the same time, the publication tries again to accuse the West of interference in the internal affairs of the Republic of Moldova.
CONTEXT: On Thursday, April 15, the Constitutional Court found that the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova could be dissolved, given that the deputies had twice failed to vote for a Government, within three months since the resignation of the Chicu Cabinet, on December 23, 2020.
The Party of Socialists initially stood for snap elections, and former Prime Minister Ion Chicu, a close collaborator of Igor Dodon’s, even announced his resignation to that end. Later though, the PSRM said it no longer wanted early elections. The Socialists, who currently hold most seats in Parliament, have been declining sharply in the polls and if snap elections were held, they would risk winning a maximum of 20 seats, compared to 37 they have now. Other parties represented in the current legislature are going down too - some might not even reach the electoral threshold - while Maia Sandu's party, PAS, is growing in terms of voter preferences.
Igor Dodon's Socialists and their allies in the party of fugitive oligarch Ilan Shor formed a majority in Parliament in an attempt to promote their own government. However, Maia Sandu rejected the candidacies proposed by PSRM-Shor.
Under these circumstances, the parliamentary coalition declared a state of emergency in the Republic of Moldova, until May 31, but without presenting clear measures to combat the pandemic. According to the Constitution, Parliament cannot be dissolved during a state of emergency.
The PSRM has intensified its campaign to denigrate Maia Sandu in the context of the Constitutional Court pronouncing its opinion regarding the dissolution of Parliament. Maia Sandu is accused of various actions - from feeding the war in Transnistria and usurping state power to increasing commodity prices. Also, in the same context, an attempt was made to discredit the Constitutional Court. In fact, the president of the Court, Domnica Manole, warned, after the pronouncement of the decision, that pressure had been put on the court by some politicians and media outlets.
President Maia Sandu won the November 2020 elections benefiting from massive support, including from the Moldovan citizens in the diaspora. They turned out in large numbers, almost 150 thousand people - an unprecedented mobilization of the Moldovan diaspora. The number of voters abroad increased from 10,000 in 2005 to 17,000 in 2009, and to 140,000 in the 2016 presidential election. After the first round of the November 2020 presidential elections, Igor Dodon criticized the diaspora and named the Moldovan citizens who had voted abroad "the parallel electorate".
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: The Republic of Moldova’s elections are organized abroad by the diplomatic missions of the state, and the countries where the polling stations are set up play no part in the running of the election process.
The participation of the diaspora in the elections held by the Republic of Moldova is difficult to estimate. The authorities do not have exact figures, not even approximate ones, about the Moldovan citizens living in European countries, or in the Russian Federation. The number of people going to the polls abroad increased from one ballot to another, but authorities still did not set up enough polling stations for everybody to cast their vote, so people had to queue for hours.