George Tsereteli and Igor Dodon   MD 220119George Tsereteli and Igor Dodon in Chisinau, 22 January 2019CHISINAU, 23 January 2019 – In meetings this week with senior officials in Moldova, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President George Tsereteli (MP, Georgia) stressed the importance of holding transparent and fair elections, noting that the conduct of the 24 February parliamentary elections would be watched closely by the OSCE PA and other international observers.

President Tsereteli met in Chisinau with President Igor Dodon, President of the Parliament Andrian Candu, Prime Minister Pavel Filip, and Foreign Minister Tudor Ulianovschi and Moldova’s delegation to the OSCE PA, headed by Serghei Sirbu. He also met Vlad Plahotniuc, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova, and leading members from extra-parliamentary parties, as well as representatives of civil society and the international community.

“This election is a decisive moment in the life of the country. Last year’s court decision invalidating the Chisinau mayoral race clearly had a negative impact on people’s trust in institutions and raised concerns internationally, making the conduct of this election doubly important,” said Tsereteli. “Public trust in the rule of law and democratic institutions is once again at stake in this election, and I call on all forces to contribute to ensure that these elections meet democratic standards.”

This was President Tsereteli’s second official visit to Moldova in the past year, following his travel to both sides of the Dniester/Nistru River in June 2018. At that time, he expressed his concern regarding the nullification of the Chisinau mayoral race.

George Tsereteli and Andrian Candu   MD 220119George Tsereteli and Andrian Candu in Chisinau, 22 January 2019President Tsereteli called on the authorities and all relevant actors to commit to ensuring equal treatment of all electoral contestants. He also urged all players to ensure that any concerns raised will be fact-based and substantiated.

“I appreciated hearing assurances from government authorities that efforts are being made to minimize shortcomings and to make these the most democratic elections in Moldova’s history. A strong team of OSCE PA observers will be on the ground to observe and, together with our international partners, carefully assess whether the elections meet OSCE commitments,” continued Tsereteli.

Elections that meet the high standards expected by Moldovan citizens can both enhance public trust in institutions and lay the groundwork for further developments including in the economic sphere, he said.

Tsereteli expressed his hope that following the election, efforts on the Transdniestrian settlement process can continue without delay. He urged both Chisinau and Tiraspol to sustain momentum in the process.

The President reiterated the importance being paid to developments in Moldova by the OSCE, noting that his trip comes just days after a visit by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak. President Tsereteli also expressed his appreciation for the excellent work being done by the OSCE Mission to Moldova.

While in Chisinau, the President also met with Matyas Eorsi, Head of the OSCE/ODIHR Election observation mission. OSCE PA observers of the parliamentary elections will work closely with the observer mission deployed by the ODIHR on 15 January.

The President said that he and other Members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly would be closely following developments in the country in the coming weeks, and expressed appreciation for the open approach displayed toward international election observers.

The President will report on his visit to Moldova at the OSCE PA’s Winter Meeting next month. The OSCE PA has observed elections in Moldova nine times: in 1994, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2009 (April and July), 2010, 2014 and 2016.

Photos from the visit to Moldova are available on Flickr.