Moldova: Oligarch’s electoral changes spark mass protest

Mass protest held in Chisinau against plans by Dodon-Plahotniuc to change the electoral system

Chisinau, Moldova: Thousands of people came out on Sunday, May 14, in the square in front of Parliament to say no to the plan of the parties of [oligarch Vlad] Plahotniuc and [social-democratic President Igor] Dodon to change the electoral system* in Moldova.

Chisinau, Moldova, May 14, 2017.
Photo: Katya Volkova
Despite the obstacles created by the ruling regime, and despite the rainy weather, people came to Chisinau from different parts of the country.

The protest was attended by representatives of civil society, journalists, artists, opposition politicians, actors and other public personalities, and ordinary citizens. The protesters chanted “Shame!”, “Down with the Mafia!”, “Citizens, unite!”, “Kandu — criminal!”, “Don’t take away our future!”, “A billion rather than single-member system!”, etc.

Citizens demanded the withdrawal of the bill to amend the electoral system, otherwise new protests are threatened.
“We will continue our protests this week. We call on Parliament to revoke these laws, otherwise we’ll take to the streets in new protests,” said the executive director of the Institute of Public Policies Arkadie Barberoshie at the demonstration.

Protesters announced that if the Democratic Party (PDM) and Socialist Party (MDBGS) do not withdraw their bill to amend the electoral system from Parliament this week, then on Sunday, May 28, a new mass protest will be organized.

Translator’s note: According to the opposition, the proposed changes to parliamentary elections, from party lists to single-mandate voting, would make it easier for dominant parties allied with the Moldovan oligarchy to control Parliament and shut out opposition parties from gaining representation.


Petrenko: Plahotniuc fears unity of opposition forces

May 15: The hysteria perpetrated by media controlled by oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, which claims that the united protest of civil society and opposition parties failed, suggests otherwise.

This was written on social media by former parliamentary deputy and chair of the party Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc) Grigory Petrenko.

“Plahotniuc’s bloggers, trolls and others dishing out media disinformation for the regime received their orders. Judging by the way they try to hysterically convince everyone that the protest by civil society and the opposition failed, just the opposite is true,” wrote Petrenko.

Red Bloc youth activists at protest outside Parliament.
Photo: Katya Volkova
According to the ex-deputy, “The protest took place despite the bad weather, despite intimidation, horror stories about ‘Petrenko’s extremists,’ despite cancellation of rail services, despite fines and inspections of vehicles. Plahotniuc failed! There were even more protesters than expected.”

“Finally, supporters of the anti- and pro-EU forces came out to the first joint protest organized by civil society in the last 15 months. And this very fact is already a victory! The oligarch is sitting in his hole despised by all the people on Ardekur. Afraid of real united efforts among all these, and not paper opposition. The protest was a success! A good start! Congratulations everyone. Today marked another step in the country’s liberation from the clutches of dictatorship,” said the former deputy.

Grigory Petrenko (center) announces support for protest at May 12 press conference.
In conclusion, he stressed the “interesting observation: the more Plahotniuc spends his money on media sources, the worse the final outcome for him. Today I want to say a special thank you to Balakchi, Gureu, Lukyanyuk and Miheash [pro-regime bloggers and media hacks]. Due to your primitive efforts to discredit the opposition campaign, you created even more angry people, further motivating them to attend the protest today.”

On May 14 in Chisinau many thousands protested against oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc and President Igor Dodon’s initiative to change the electoral system.

The protest was organized by civil society and supported by a number of opposition political parties, among Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc), Our Party, Dignity and Truth Platform, Action and Solidarity Party, and Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova.


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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