Andrey Volentir, secretary of Moldova’s Central Election Commission (Image: Infotag.md)
Andrey Volentir, secretary of Moldova’s Central Election Commission, says that the Gagauz vote on Sunday that appeared to have brought a pro-Moscow politician to power may not have been legitimate, a declaration that creates the kind of uncertainty that the Russian Federation may seek to exploit.
Volentir said he did not want to say that the elections were illegitimate – that is a task for the courts – but he pointed to a statistical sleight of hand that suggests that too few people actually voted to make the election legal under the terms of the Moldovan law on the special status of Gagauzia.
“Comrat’s appeals chamber,” which has the authority to decide on the legality of elections in Gagauzia, “must consider a number of factors, including the composition of lists of voters.” That is because the lists compiled according to its methodology and those compiled according to Moldovan law are different.
If the Gagauz method is used, the total number of voters is 105,000, while if the Moldovan rules are followed, the total is 130,000. That in turn means the number of actual voters would have been 58 percent of the first but only 46 percent of the latter — not only “a serious difference” but one that means too few people took part to declare the outcome valid.
According to Volentir, “this is a problem for the politicians who have not been able to resolve it.” But now, he says, it is clear that this failure can have “unforeseen consequences.” And consequently, before making any final declarations about the vote, “this situation must be studied in detail in order not to give any side the possibility of speculating on this account.”
Roman Mihaesh, a Moldovan political analyst, says that he agrees it is too soon to make any declaration about the election of Irina Vlah. According to him, it is not only this numbers problem that casts doubt on the outcome but the fact that there have been at least 30 recorded violations of the election law.
“There are thus weighty arguments” to declare that the March 22 vote was not legitimate and the results, in which Vlah received 51.01 percent of the vote, are not to be recognized. Two of the candidates who trailed Vlah, Nikolay Dudoglo and Sergey Chernyev, both from the Democratic Party of Moldova have also called for a new vote.
In what could be the first indication that Moscow may get involved and seek to exploit these divisions, Russia’s Regnum news agency today pointed out in its report about Volentir’s statement that the head of Moldova’s Central Election Commission had been appointed by the same party as Dudoglo and Chernyev.
The color revolutions in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan all were triggered by disputes over elections. It is thus entirely plausible that Moscow may use the same strategy that pro-Western parties used in those three cases to push Gagauzia and via it Moldova in the opposite direction. At the very least, Volentir’s statement raises that possibility.