It's for the
first time in 27 years of independence of the Republic of Moldova that the
winner of the race for mayor of capital Chisinau is not allowed to take over
office. On Monday night, the Supreme Court of Justice confirmed the rulings
issued previously by another two lower courts and therefore invalidated the
outcome of the June 3rd round of elections for the office of mayor
of Chisinau, won by the leader of the pro-European platform 'Dignity and Truth'
Both Nastase and
his opponent, the pro-Russia socialist Ion Ceban, were accused of addressing
voters on social media on election day, after the legal end of campaigning.
According to the Court, this has invalidated the entire ballot and therefore
annulled the 125,000 votes won by Nastase. The ruling is final and cannot be
appealed. The mayor elect has vehemently accused the Democratic Party, the main
player in a self-declared pro-European government, and its leader, the
controversial oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc of benefiting from this ruling.
Andrei Nastase: "This has never happened anywhere in the
world. Never has a court invalidated elections without anybody asking for that.
This is quite unique! It's a spit in the face of our people, but also in the
face of the entire world, a civilized world, which has promptly reacted to
what's been happening here. From now on, the Republic of Moldova will be known
in the world not only as the country where somebody has stolen one billion and
where the Russian mafia has laundered 30 billion, but also as the country where
elections have been invalidated by mere theft."
political scandal, the Court's ruling has also created an institutional
deadlock. According to the Electoral Code, in case of invalidation, a new
ballot should be organized within two weeks, by excluding the candidates that
broke the law. Another article of the same Code, however, reads that elections cannot
be held within less than a year before the normal round, scheduled in this case
for June 2019.
office remained vacant after the mayor elected in 2015, the pro-European
Liberal Dorin Chirtoaca resigned, as he was indicted in a case which he
described as politically commissioned. According to the US Embassy in Chisinau,
the Supreme Court's ruling "has reinforced the public's perception of political
interference in the judiciary of the Republic of Moldova."
In turn, the EU
Ambassador to Moldova, Peter Michalko, has stated he was extremely disappointed
by the decision of the Supreme Court, saying that "the will of the people,
expressed in free and fair elections," has not been respected.
the Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu has warned that political
tension might affect the stability of the Republic of Moldova, the right-wing
opposition has voiced support for Nastase, and the media has bluntly dubbed the
invalidation of the mayoral elections in Chisinau as mere 'garbage'.