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The pre-electoral environment in Moldova is monitored by an NDI mission in Washington

The NDI Pre-election Assessment Mission in Washington is in Moldova from 12-15 December and is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The National Democratic Institute is a non-party, non-governmental, non-profit organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability of the government towards citizens.

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A pre-election evaluation mission of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Washington calls for democratic consolidation in the run-up to the parliamentary elections to be held in Moldova on 24 February 2019 by restoring public confidence in electoral processes.

Mission representatives say that Moldova can and must be a successful history of democracy in the region and maintain a competitive and pluralistic political environment, including demonstrating the ability to hold genuine elections with motivated voters.

In a press conference at IPN, Laura Jewett, NDI regional director for Eurasia, said the mission assesses the context and the pre-electoral environment in the Republic of Moldova as well as the factors that could affect the integrity of the electoral process. During this week, the NDI delegation had meetings with party representatives across the political spectrum, as well as representatives of national and international election monitoring groups and organizations. NDU has also attended meetings with media representatives, government leaders, electoral officials, deputies in Parliament, as well as representatives of local public authorities, civil society, and the diplomatic community. Based on these discussions, the mission issues a statement of findings and a series of recommendations.

Michael Carpenter, senior director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Involvement, said the purpose of this mission was not to verify the integrity of the electoral process, but rather to identify some areas with potential vulnerability. Among the main observations are the intimidation of candidates and potential candidates in the pre-electoral and electoral process, including threats of criminal prosecution. Another aspect mentioned by the majority of delegates is the need to ensure the independence of the judiciary, especially in light of the events of June 2018 when the local elections in Chisinau were not validated. Some of the interlocutors complained about the use of administrative resources, which could tilt the electoral process in a certain direction. As for the informational environment, even if it could be characterized as a pluralist one, it does not offer equal opportunities to all actors. In this context, concerns have been raised about misinformation in online space. Difficulties have been mentioned in the process of registering candidates and assuring the right to vote, especially for voters who are abroad.

Michael Carpenter argues that there are positive findings, namely that a large number of Moldovan parties have stipulated in internal documents the promotion of women in politics. At the same time, a high level of technical training was found during the discussions with the representatives of the Central Electoral Commission. On the part of recommendations, Michael Carpenter said that intimidation has no place in a genuine electoral process. This applies to both candidates, parties, journalists, representatives of civil society, etc..

“We urge the authorities, the Government, to make it clear that the abuse of administrative resources will be ascertained and those responsible will be held accountable according to the legal provisions. We urge the media to give equal access to all parties and candidates and to fairly reflect the whole process. We also urge the international community to strive to monitor electoral processes, but also to engage in talks with authorities,” declared Michael Carpenter.

Zlatko Vujovic, chairman of the management board of the Monitoring and Research Center and secretary general of the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations, said that this mission is part of a larger effort to monitor the electoral processes by the international community.

Important

What we need to know about the recent ECHR decision on behalf of Turkish teachers’ expulsion

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Not many might remember, but quite a while ago, on the morning of September 6, 2018, seven Turkish citizens were expelled from Moldova. SIS previously stated that the seven Turkish citizens might have had links to an Islamist group, a group about which there are indications that they are carrying out illegal actions in several countries.

However, this doesn’t only concern President Dodon, who – although not capable of suitably commenting on the outrageous events – seemed to have had very close ties with the Turkish President. Additionally, in September, the ECHR was notified in connection with the expulsion of the seven Turkish citizens from Moldova by Vitalie Nagacevschi, the president of the “Lawyers for Human Rights” Association. Shortly after the application was filed, the ECHR told that it had notified the case and asked the Moldovan Government (then led by Pavel Filip) for explanations regarding the expulsion of Turkish teachers. Back when the Plahotniuc–Dodon (DPM-SPM) cooperation was still running, a reasonable explanation on behalf of a Democratic Party member like PM Filip would have been impossible.

In the explanations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the case of Turkish citizens, the Moldovan Government stated that it did not violate the procedure for declaring them undesirable and escorting from the country.

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Yesterday, ECHR issued a decision communicating that Moldova violated the rights of foreign nationals expelled from the territory of the Republic of Moldova in September 2018. The ECHR detected a violation of Articles 5.1 and 8 of the Convention on Human Rights, and this is what it has decided:

The Moldovan Government will have to pay € 25,000 for five of the seven Turkish citizens whose rights have been violated and who filed complaints before the Court.

In front of the Court, the applicants said they were illegally detained on the morning of September 6 and that they were being illegally handed over to the Turkish authorities. The Moldovan Government has admitted that Turkish citizens have been detained but has told the Court that this was justified and the plaintiffs did not oppose the expulsion to their country of origin.

Although the Government of Chisinau insists on not being aware of the applicants’ fears of being expelled to Turkey, the Court notes that in the asylum applications the plaintiffs clearly expressed their fear of being persecuted. At the same time, in its decision of 4 September 2018, the Bureau of Migration and Asylum considered that the applicants’ fear of being politically persecuted in Turkey was well founded in connection with these asylum applications.

More so, since the applicants have integrated into the Moldovan society and have genuine family relationships, the Court considered that their expulsion from Moldova radically disturbed their private and family relationships. Therefore, Lawyers for Human Rights noted that there has been an interference with their rights in this respect.

Today however, Nicolae Frumosu – the lawyer of the Turkish citizens, declared undesirable and remote from the territory of the Republic of Moldova, claims that the government agent did not submit any evidence that teachers constituted or constituted a danger to security and the order of the Republic of Moldova to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Image result for nicolae frumosu

“The ‘Orizont’ Moldovan-Turkish Lyceum file is not yet complete,” said Frumosu.

According to him, the most important aspect is that “neither before has the European Court of Human Rights, the government official, the Moldovan state submitted any evidence that the applicants constituted or constituted a danger to the security and public order of R Moldova”. The lawyer says he does not have any current information about the status and situation of Turkish teachers.

What’s next?

“There are national disputes regarding Turkish citizens. Here I am referring to challenging decisions on refusal to grant refugee status as well as challenging the decisions of the Migration and Asylum Bureau regarding the declaration as an undesirable person of those persons with their removal under escort. Many of these cases were discontinued on the part of the proceedings because of the lack of empowerment, whether they were taken out of service, or that they had been surrendered or refused to be received. But there are a few files still pending at national courts,” concluded the lawyer.

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Culture

Cultural events calendar: the authentic experience Moldova has to offer this summer

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During the last few years, more and more festivals, marathons, concerts, fairs and thematic events have been organised in the Republic of Moldova. The summer calendar of this year is full of opportunities to discover things about Moldova which are beyond touristic brochures and established tours. Such events represent a priceless chance to connect with local people, traditions, food, art and advertisement.

The calendar of this summer events in Moldova is presented as follows:

Moldovan Design week

June 3rd to June 9th, Chișinău

Photo: mdw.md

A series of events such as exhibitions, installations, inspirational talks, workshops and performances will be held in June for those who are interested in such creative industries as product and industrial design, plastic arts, furniture, graphics, fashion, architecture and interior design.

The multidisciplinary festival attempts to draw more attention to art, design and other creative areas, as well as to develop and promote a supportive policy towards design specialists.

National Rosé Wine Day at Castel Mimi

June 8th, Bulboaca village, Anenii Noi

Photo: moldova.travel

The summer commences with an elegant event at Castel Mimi, one of the most important architectural monuments and wine masterpieces in Moldova, where the rosé wine will be the king of the party and the pink colour an indispensable element of the dress code. Besides the concert, food court, wall projections and a musical fountain, the guests will taste the famous Cabernet Sauvignon, awarded with silver medal at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.

Open-air Classical Music Festival “DescOperă”

June 14th to June 16th, Butuceni village, Orhei

Photo: moldova.travel

The open-air classical music festival is a unique event in Moldova. It is organised in the middle of Orheiul Vechi Reservation limestone cliffs, which create a natural amphitheatre and provide ideal sound and distinguished atmosphere. The festival braids classical music and nature together and exhibits well-known classical masterpieces performed by featuring artists from the Moldovan National Opera, led by Austrian conductor Friedrich Pfeiffer.

Festival “IA Mania”

July 6th, Holercani Village, Dubăsari

Photo: alinamemet.com

“IA Mania” is a festival which promotes traditional hand-embroidered blouses and supports the craftsmen who try to preserve this tradition. It gathers artisans with hand-made objects, chefs with traditional recipes, music and dancing, workshops and other advertisement activities. The slogan of the event is “Celebrate the beautiful traditions of our ancestors! Dress like Moldovans! Dance like Moldovans! Craft like Moldovans! Eat Like Moldovans! Party like Moldovans!”

International Pottery Fair “La Vatra Olarului”

August 11th, Hoginești village, Călărași

Photo: calatorie.md

Hoginești is the home of one of Moldova’s most valued potters – Vasilii Gonceari who inherited the craft from his ancestors and established the “Vatra Olarului” International Pottery Fair. Visitors will be able to buy pots, souvenirs and household objects directly from the craftsmen gathered at the fair. Additionally, hands-on workshops, traditional gastronomy food court, folklore concerts and dancing will be available during the fair.

Purcari Wine Run

August 24th, Purcari, Ștefan-Vodă

Photo: purcari.winerun.md

The trail race of 10 km will pass through the vineyards of Chateau Purcari. The participants will be invited to discover beautiful landscapes with multiple elevations, unpredictable paths and a lot of grape vines.

Runners will be able to spend a few moments at a pit stop, disposed every 2 km and named after some of the most famous wine varieties: Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Rose. There, they will have the possibility to eat some fruit, have some water and even taste some wine before resuming the race. According to the organizers, the competition is held to promote trail running, healthy lifestyle, as well as to reveal the strongest sportsmen among professionals and amateurs.

More events here.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Featured photo: moldova.travel

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Society

A Polish motorcyclist who came to Moldova had two false permits, one of which he bought in a souvenir shop

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A citizen of Poland is currently under investigation by Moldovan border guards after presenting two fake driving licenses to the border control. One of them he claims to have been released by the UK law authorities.

After the counterfeits were discovered, the man admitted that the other one of the documents had been purchased from a Polish souvenir shop, while the other one he manufactured alone by using a color printer.

The driver also presented another old driving license, which was probably issued by the Polish authority. However, with the help of the equipment, it was proven to be impossible.

Eventually, the driver of the motorcycle was removed from the motorcycle handlebar. He continued his journey as a passenger, the motorcycle being taken over by a friend of his from the group of motorcyclists who possess the authentic act necessary to attest to the right to drive this type of vehicle.

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