The supporters of mayor-elect Andrei Nastase decided to suspend the protests against the invalidation of the mayoral elections on Friday and Saturday so as to prepare for the large-scale protest scheduled for this Sunday, June 24. In a news conference in front of the Chisinau City Hall on June 22, Andrei Nastase and the leader of the Party “Action and Solidarity” Maia Sandu made a call for unity, IPN reports.
“If we do not stop them now, dictatorship will be established in our country. If we do not stop now those who are in power, no one will stop them from now on. They can do everything – ban us from leaving the country, separate us from relatives, steal our homes and businesses, jail us and even more. Dear people, we should understand that they are able to do many things. They disregarded our vote, which is the only weapon against them. Plahotniuc does not care about democracy and about the prosperity of the people of this country. He does what he wants,” stated Maia Sandu. “On Sunday we should bring this mockery to an end. We will not give up. We will protest to stop the dictatorship.”
The leader of the Party “Platform Dignity and Truth” Andrei Nastase said the struggle against the Plahotniuc-Dodon oligarchic regime that controls Moldova, the capital city and wants to also control the people’s freedom and independence by infringing on the right to freedom will continue on Sunday. “They ignored hundreds of thousands of signatures, rigged and stole our votes, but now did what they never did before – annulled a vote that was freely expressed by the citizens of Chisinau and its suburban settlements, showing to the whole world that they don’t care about democracy, the rule of law, our freedom and independence. We should continue our struggle and should not stop here,” he stated.
The protest will be mounted in front of the Chisinau City Hall starting at 2pm.
After the Court of Chisinau on June 19 decided to not validate the election of Andrei Nastase as mayor, the supporters of the politician protested downtown and in front of the head office of the Democratic Party and of the Chisinau Appeals Court. After the Appeals Court upheld the decision of the ordinary court, the lawyers for Nastase announced they will appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice.
#Moldovans #protest after court voids #mayoral #election result
By Alexander Tanas
CHISINAU (Reuters) – Moldovans are staging daily protests in the capital Chisinau to demand the reversal of a court ruling invalidating the election of a pro-European candidate in the city’s mayoral race.
The June 19 ruling has drawn a sharp rebuke from the United States and the European Union.
It also spells more political turmoil for a country that plunged into crisis following a $1 billion banking fraud in 2015, enduring successive government collapses and frequent conflict between the president and the government.
Graft scandals in the ex-Soviet country have dragged down confidence in Moldova’s pro-Western political forces and lifted support for politicians backed by Moscow. Having elected a pro-Russian president in 2016, Moldovans go to the polls for parliamentary elections in November.
On Tuesday, a court ruled that Andrei Nastase’s electoral win in the June 3 vote was illegitimate, citing unspecified violations. Hundreds of citizens have since taken to the streets to protest.
Nastase, who has led a movement demanding greater transparency since the banking fraud in 2015, said the court decision was made at the behest of the head of Moldova’s ruling party, businessman Vlad Plahotniuc.
“His candidate suffered a crushing defeat. Now he wants to steal our votes and annul the election by means of an obedient court,” Nastase said at a protest on Wednesday evening.
A court will consider his appeal against the ruling later on Thursday. Nastase, a former prosecutor, won 52.5 percent of the votes, defeating pro-Russian candidate Ion Ceban, and supporters vow to protest every evening until his victory is recognised.
The press office of the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) did not respond to a request for comment from its president Plahotniuc.
Many in Moldova say Plahotniuc’s influence over the government, police and media makes him the most powerful man in the country of 3.5 million people. Plahotniuc has previously said negative perceptions about him were down to lies spread by his opponents after he entered politics.
On Wednesday evening, protesters gathered outside the mayor’s office, chanting: “We will not surrender” and “Honest elections above all.”
The U.S. embassy in Chisinau expressed its surprise and concern over the court’s decision.
The “unexpected and nontransparent invalidation of the popular election for Chisinau mayor, which yielded a clear victor, is a troubling development that is even now eroding Moldovan citizen’s confidence in the democratic process,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Protests are expected in Chisinau on Sunday, June 24, after a Moldovan Appeals Court upheld a ruling to invalidate the June 3 mayoral election. The court made its decision late (local time) on Thursday, June 21, stating that both candidates violated campaign laws during the runoff. Both the US and the EU have voiced concerns about the ruling, claiming that the decision will erode Moldavan citizens’ confidence in the democratic process. A large demonstration to protest the court ruling is scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 24, starting at 14:00. Residents are expected to rally at Great National Assembly Square in downtown Chisinau. Heightened security measures and traffic disruptions are anticipated around the protest site.
Previously on June 19, a lower court ruled to void the results after finding that the two candidates addressed voters on social media on election day. Under Moldovan law, political campaigns are required to remain silent on the day of the vote. Thousands of people have been holding daily demonstrations in Chisinau since the June 19 ruling.
Andrei Nastase, a pro-EU candidate who campaigned on anti-corruption, was originally declared the winner after securing 52.2 percent of the vote in the runoff. His supporters claim that the election was invalidated by allies of pro-Russian candidate Ion Ceban. Nastase and other political leaders also argued that the two candidates were only calling for Chisinau residents to go out to vote and not campaigning their platforms.
Individuals in Chisinau are advised to avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, allow additional time to travel around protest sites, and avoid discussing sensitive political issues in public.