On May 22nd, the Appellate Chamber of Comrat has recognized the results of the elections of the second round of the head of the Gagauz autonomy. Thus, Evgenia Hutsul becomes a Bashkan. She represents the party of Ilan Shor, who was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison in the case of “theft of a billion” and is hiding from Moldovan justice in Israel.

At the end of last week, masked representatives of the National Anti-Corruption Center broke into the building of the Central Electoral Commission of Gagauzia and demanded the removal of the voter list. This heated up the situation in the autonomy.

The arguments of the indignant residents of Gagauzia are understandable and fair:

1) Chisinau must respect the choice of the Gagauz during a free and democratic expression of will.

2) Why did the National Anti-Corruption Center prefer a mask show instead of formally turning to the electoral body of the autonomy with a request to give them a xerox of the voter lists? After all, such an approach of this state body is nothing but a provocation and can be qualified as an encroachment on independent electoral bodies.

3) If Chisinau believes that the elections were rigged, then undeniable evidence of violations and bribery that affected the result must be presented. That is, it is necessary to prove that more than two and a half thousand votes were falsified, because this number is the difference between the two candidates in the second round. You can talk for as long as you like about massive voter buying, but now, no significant evidence has been presented.

4) None of the 8 Bashkan candidates filed a single complaint about violations! Moreover, the candidate who advanced to the second round admitted his defeat and does not plan to contest the results. Who is to blame for the fact that the ruling PAS party did not nominate its candidate for the Bashkans, at least for the purpose of having its representatives and observers in the elections and filing corresponding complaints on behalf of the candidate?

There are two reasons for such election results in Gagauzia:

The first reason is the poverty of the Moldovan population.

The second reason is the inability of the Moldovan law enforcement agencies to identify, trace, prove and stop the channels for transferring illegal money to the territory of the Republic of Moldova, including for the purpose of bribing voters.

If the Moldovan society and authorities do not draw the right conclusions from the results of the elections in Gagauzia, then these results, as well as the experience of the Orhei region, Taraclia and the second round canceled in December 2021 in Balti, will spread exponentially in the upcoming local elections this fall.

Inna Supac, Expert, Institute for Strategic Initiatives