Steven D. Roper

Moldovan Local Elections
25 May and 8 June 2003

I was locally recruited by the U.S. Embassy in Moldova to participate as an election observer for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the local elections in Moldova. For the first round, I observed in the raion of Ialoveni and for the second, I observed in the the raion of Orhei. I had observed local elections in Moldova in 1995 and 1999, so this was an opportunity for me to compare the conduct of Moldovan elections over the past eight years.

These were the first national elections following the victory of the Communist Party of Moldova in parliamentary elections in 2000. These elections were a test not only of the strength of the Party but also the commitment of the ruling party to democratic procedures. Just months before the election, the parliament changed the territorial basis of local government and reverted back to the old Soviet raion system. This dramatically increased the number of city councils and mayors. These elections were for city and raion councils and mayors.

The conduct of the election was generally regarded as following international standards; however, OSCE was concerned about the run-up to the election and specifically the use of the media by the ruling party as well as acts of intimidation.

  • Here is the OSCE's "Statement and Preliminary Findings and Conclusions" regarding the 2003 local elections.

  • Here is a photo that I took outside of one of the polling stations in Ialoveni and a final photo taken the day after the election with my interpreter and driver, Natalie and Vadim (click on the photos for a larger version).

    As I stated above for the second round, I was deployed to Orhei. This was one of the raions with the highest number of mayoral run-offs. Here are a couple of photos showing the ballot box and the voting booths in one of the village polling stations. In addition, here is a photo showing a beautiful mosaic outside the polling station (this was in the village of Malaesti and the polling station was located in the village cultural house).

    Finally, here is a photo of Natalie and my partner for the second round, Laurie Hezler and a photo of Natalie, Vadim and myself standing out in Orhei Vechi which is the site of an old 13th century monastery.