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Moldovan Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration is on official visit to the United States

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Today, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Nicu Popescu, announced that he is officially visiting the US, one of the first plans since the government of Maia Sandu.

“There are a few very busy days, with many official meetings in Washington,” said Nicu Popescu.

Moreover, the official declared a special moment of his visit would be meeting with the US diaspora.

On the 13th of June, Nicu Popescu presented the situation in the Republic of Moldova to 50 G7 diplomats (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America).

The presentation took place at the Foreign Ministry of France, the country holding the G7 chairmanship.

Important

All you need to know about the local elections held in Moldova on October 20th

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898 mayors, 10 472 local councillors, as well as 1108 district and municipal councillors run in the local elections held in all administrative-territorial units (municipalities, district, cities and villages), except for the localities on the left bank of the Dniester and the municipality of Bender on October 20th.

According to the data provided by the electoral authorities (Central Electoral Commission), there are 3 285 894 people in the State Register of Voters, out of whom 2 818 228 are voting citizens. The voter turnout was 41.68% at the national level, therefore the local elections were validated.

Local elections’ results

In the first round, 518 mayors were elected in Moldovan localities: 191 mayors from the Democratic Party, 124 represent the Socialist Party, while the political bloc ACUM has 82 mayors. The Liberal Democrat Party has 26 mayors, the “Șor” Political Party -13, while “Our Party” is represented by 10 mayors. 4 elected mayors are from the Communist Party, 2 represent the Party of National Unity, whereas the Romanian Popular Party and the Liberal Party are represented by one mayor each. At the same time, 64 elected mayors were running as independent candidates.

Such big cities as Bălți (Renato Usatîi, the candidate of “Our Party”), Cahul (the independent candidate Nicolae Dandiș) and Orhei (the candidate of “Șor” Political Party Pavel Verejan) already elected their mayors.

As mayors shall be elected with 50% plus one vote, some of the candidates didn’t manage to cross the threshold. Therefore, the second round of elections will be organised in 380 localities (including in Chișinău) on November 3rd.

The candidate of the Socialist Party Ion Ceban, who has accumulated 40.19% of the votes, and the candidate of ACUM Andrei Năstase, who was elected by 31.08% of voters will be running in the second round.

It is interesting to note that the elections results in Chișinău follow the same pattern as in June last year, when the same two candidates run for mayor of the capital city, obtaining almost the same results in the first round.

More about the local elections’ results here.

Snap parliamentary elections’ results

In parallel with local elections, snap parliamentary elections were held for 4 single-seat constituencies, after Andrei Năstase, Maia Sandu, Viorel Melnic and Vladimir Plahotniuc gave up their parliamentary mandates.

After processing all minutes, it was established that the mandates were distributed as follows: one to the Democratic Party, one to the Socialist Party, and two to the political bloc ACUM, according to the preliminary data presented by the Central Election Commission (CEC).

Observation Missions

The Promo-LEX Observation Mission for the general local and new parliamentary elections found 743 incidents reported by its observers, including cases of observers’ intimidation, cases of presence of advertising materials, posters, electoral displays within the precinct (100 meters from the polling station), cases of electoral/ negative campaigning to influence the choice of voters, cases of rumours, attempts or even cases of material or monetary rewards offered to voters to influence their choice, cases of organised transportation of voters, cases of unjustified presence of unauthorised persons in the polling stations or within 100m of it, cases of acts of violence or intimidation of voters, cases of unjustified group voting, as well as cases of photographing of the ballot papers or other violations of the secret of voting, etc.

As compared to the parliamentary elections of February 2019, when the members of the Promo-LEX Observation Mission reported 1020 incidents, the current number of reported incidents was lower.

At the invitation of the Moldovan authorities, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe delegated 11 teams of 24 observers to observe the local elections around 180 polling stations across the country.

“Generally, the elections were organised by well-prepared committees, the voting was conducted in an orderly manner and the counting was done in a professional manner,” declared Vladimir Prebilic, the Head of the Congress delegation, at a press conference, reported the official Council of Europe page.

The budget

The Central Election Commission has planned a budget of 84 million lei for the first round of local elections. The second round could cost almost 27 million lei, according to the CEC Decision no. 1874 of November 14th, 2018 regarding the approval of the budget of the Central Election Commission for 2019.

More about the elections’ process and candidates here.

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The report of the Bank Fraud Investigation Commission: “The looting process was coordinated with politicians and state officials.”

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On October 17th, the report on elucidating all circumstances of the banking system looting and investigation of the banking fraud was presented by the Bank Fraud Investigation Commission in the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova.

Alexandru Slusari, the head of Commission declared, during the presentation of the report, that the amount looted from the banking system that appears in the Kroll report is between 900 million and 1 billion dollars. “However, taking into account the information provided by the National Bank of Moldova and the Prosecutor’s Office, there are suspicions that the amount of damage was much larger,” said Slusari.

The head of Commission stated also that, according to the conclusions of the report, the final beneficiaries of the bank robbery were Vladimir Plahotniuc (former chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova), Ilan Șor (businessman and former Mayor of Orhei) and Vladimir Filat (former Prime Minister of Moldova), as well as some of their trusted people. Also, the National Commission for Financial Markets and the National Bank were involved in the plan regarding the attack against the Savings Bank of Moldova, leaded by Vladimir Plahotniuc and Veaceslav Platon.

As Slusari stated, the General Prosecutor’s Office sabotaged the investigation of the banking system looting between 2015-2019. “In many cases the investigation was deliberately delayed or used selectively for political purposes,” said Alexandru Slusari.

As consequences of the bank fraud, the national currency depreciated by 42.2%, thus triggering a currency crisis between November 2014 and February 2015, while the annual inflation in 2015 constituted 10.2%, double as compared to 2014. Moreover, the report shows that bank fraud led to the degradation of democratic standards and aggravated corruption in the Republic of Moldova.

The commission, therefore, recommended to the Parliament to establish the circumstances that would allow the current deputy governors of the National Bank of Moldova (NBM), Ion Sturzu and Aurel Cincilei, to be dismissed. Also, it advised the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office to criminally investigate some of the former state officials – Iurie Leancă (former Prime Minister), Dorin Drăguțanu (former Head of the NBM), Andrian Candu (former President of the Parliament), Anatol Arapu (former Minister of Finance) and Emma Tăbârță (former deputy governor of the NBM).

“These persons allowed granting of state guarantees to the involved banks without the immediate introduction of special state administration regime, which had serious consequences for the banking system, as huge amounts of money were withdrawn between November 7-27, 2014.”

At the same time, the Government and the NBM were addressed to examine the publication of all materials related to the looting of the banking system and to initiate agreements with all offshore areas on the exchange of tax information.

The Prosecutor General’s Office was advised to investigate the reasons for the stagnation of the investigation initiated by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office on the banking system looting, as well as to cooperate with international special services to recover the stolen funds. Additionally, an audit on the legality of the allocation of financial resources granted as emergency loans should be conducted by the Ministry of Finance.

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A warrant of preventive arrest was issued for Vladimir Plahotniuc

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The magistrates of the Chișinău Court issued a 30-day preventive arrest warrant for the former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) – Vladimir Plahotniuc. According to the court decision, the term of 30 days of preventive arrest will be calculated from the moment of his arrest.

Vladimir Plahotniuc is investigated in two criminal cases for money laundering in very large amounts. He was invited to hearings at the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office earlier this week but did not attend them. The lawyers of the former president of the DPM asked for postponing the hearings for about three weeks.

The head of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, Viorel Morari, explained in a press conference that the prosecutors had to take this measure as Plahotniuc did not respond to the summons to appear at the criminal prosecution body.

According to Viorel Morari, two criminal cases were initiated. In the first case, Plahotniuc is accused that, in the period of 2013-2015, he organised a money laundering scheme through companies he controlled. “Money from three devalued banks – Banca Sociala, Banca de Economii and Unibank were transferred to offshore companies. A total of 18 million dollars and 3.5 million euros were withdrawn this way,” declared Morari.

The second criminal case refers to the payments made to the Plahotniuc’s companies, declared as loans, in a total value of 7.5 million dollars and the transfers made to the account of Plahotniuc’s wife of 1.5 million euro and 1.1 million dollars between 2013 and 2014.

The head of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office added that the information received from the Swiss authorities also served as the basis for starting the criminal prosecution.

At the same time, Viorel Morari gave assurances that no political or social intervention in the investigation will be admitted.

The former DPM leader fled the country in June 2019, shortly after the regime changed in Chișinău. At the moment, there is no exact information regarding his location.

Photo: Facebook/Vlad Plahotniuc

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