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Moldovan Elections Provide Hopeful Sign, but Challenges Remain
Freedom House welcomes the fact that Wednesday's parliamentary elections in Moldova were generally well administered and provided for real competition.
"The progress we saw in Moldova stands in contrast to the long run of non-competitive, patently unfair elections we have witnessed over the last several years across the former Soviet Union," said Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor.
Although observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe did note problems, including subtle intimidation and biased media coverage, Wednesday's elections represent a step forward compared to the April 5 vote. A Communist Party victory in April led to violent protests in Chisinau and a stalemate in parliament. Opposition parties claimed the election was rigged.
Preliminary results from Wednesday's vote indicate that five parties will enter the new parliament, four opposition parties and the Communist Party. No single party won a majority of seats, let alone the 60 percent plus one needed to elect a new president.
"Moldova’s political elite now face the challenge of finding an arrangement that will move the country beyond the deadlock that has existed since the April elections," said Vladimir Shkolnikov, Freedom House Europe director. "This is essential to jump start the democratic reform process, to restore public confidence and to address the acute governance and corruption problems that plague the country."
Moldova is ranked Partly Free in the 2009 edition of Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in the 2009 version of Freedom of the Press.
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Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has been monitoring political rights and civil liberties in Moldova since 1991.
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