Mr. President, with the coming parliamentary elections scheduled for April 5, Moldova is once again at a crucial juncture in its domestic political development.
In recent years, Moldova’s cooperation with the United States has deepened, with steady progress through the initial stages of the Millennium Challenge Threshold Program, which promises to bring significant material assistance to Moldova in the near future. Additionally, Moldova has advanced in its quest for greater European integration. To continue to build upon and consolidate these positive developments, it is crucial that the current campaign and voting on April 5 be conducted in a manner consistent with Moldova’s commitment to meeting OSCE election standards.
Since achieving independence in 1991, Moldova has had a generally positive record in conducting and respecting the results of free elections. However, there have been shortcomings and it is essential that Moldova avoid repeating practices that have drawn criticism in previous contests.
Specifically, national and local authorities must make every effort to ensure a level and transparent playing field for all candidates during the campaign and avoid the use of administrative resources to hamper political rivals. It is also important that the authorities make efforts to ensure access to the media for all candidates and representatives of political parties. Finally, law enforcement bodies must safeguard the public’s basic right to freely and publicly assemble to express their views in a peaceable manner.
As Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, I would underscore the importance that all involved in Moldova’s upcoming parliamentary elections ensure compliance with international norms. This is crucial, not only for the future of democratic reform in Moldova, but also for the country’s further economic development and progress along its chosen path of European integration.