The Moldovan Parliamentary Elections: February 27, 1994
In August of 1993, IFES fielded a three-member team with expertise in constitutional law, public administration and international technical assistance to assess the evolving electoral and political process in Moldova. The team travelled to Chisinau at the invitation of the Vice President of the Parliament of Moldova, Victor Puscas.
The purpose of the initial IFES visit was threefold: (l) to examine opinions with regard to the Soviet-style election system still in force at the time of the team's visit; (2) to assess efforts to reform the Moldovan electoral system in anticipation of new Parliamentary elections; and (3) to propose opportunities for collaboration with Moldovan electoral officials and nonpartisan civic organizations.
This first IFES project team consisted of the following members: James L Huffman, Acting Dean of the Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, whose expertise includes international law and constitutional issues; Ray S. James, Principal Director of Elections, Kansas City Board of Elections and formerly the Director of the Division of Elections in the Office of the Secretary of State of Missouri and Christopher S. Siddall, IFES Senior Program Officer for East-Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.
In January of 1994, Mr. Dorin Tudoran opened a permanent IFES office in Chisinau. He was assisted by Jonathan Soros, then on staff at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, under contract with IFES. In February 1994, Ray James, Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Scon Lansell, Program Officer for Central and Eastern Europe & NIS, arrived in Chisinau to assist in the final preparations for the international observations of the parliamentary elections held on February 21.
This second team of election consultants, under the leadership of Mr. Tudoran, initiated daily contact with the Central Election Commission's (CEC) leadership, the U.S. Embassy, and NGO groups on the impending election. IFES also loaned on a short-term basis election-related equipment to the CEC, including computer hardware and software for use during the election period. This equipment allowed the CEC to execute its responsibilities of vote counting and seat distribution according to the Electoral Law of Moldova. It also made possible comprehensive vote tabulation by party, which proves to be very valuable when analyzing election data, available from each polling site. A sample of this kind of data is included in this report; IFES will also be publishing separately the entire set of results for the February elections.
On election day polling regions were allocated to each team member, for observation and reporting. They visited several polling stations, and observed activities ranging from ballot access to counting procedures. After election results were released, the IFES Director initiated the process of evaluating future needs of Moldova's NGO and media community. With assistance from USAID for at least the next two years, the work of IFES in Moldova will involve: a) Promoting civic education by stimulating or facilitating the emergence of one or more local groups that would serve as human rights monitoring organizations b) Assisting the civic society and nurturing the NGO sector through careful surveying of the field of existing NGOs and identifying any non-partisan groups with a social or political focus that might benefit from modest levels of external contact or support, and c) Promoting decentralization by helping the government obtain information about types and patterns of local government reform where IFES could help foster the growth of local citizens groups that could play a partnership role in the process of reform.
In June 1994, IFES is organizing its first Conference in Moldova on "New Democracies and the Young Electorate." This event will include Terry Holcomb, a leadership training specialist, as well as the Honorable Mary Pendelton, US Ambassador to Moldova, Petru Lucinschi, the President of Parliament, and Nicolae Timofte, Vice President of the Supreme Court. A second event scheduled for July 1994 is to focus on local administration and related issues.
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