The fast and furious journey towards democracy building: 4.5 years of breakthroughs from the UNDP Democracy Programme

Apr 18, 2017

Valentina Chernenchi discuses her pension with Mihail Timofti, head of the Leova constituency office. Photo: Dinu Bubulici/UNDP Moldova

Since July 2012, the UNDP Democracy Programme has successfully provided the Republic of Moldova with parliamentary assistance and electoral support, pursuant to UNDP’s democratic governance assistance worldwide.

Being defined by the core mandate to build and strengthen the capacities of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova and the Central Electoral Commission, the Programme’s interventions focused on improving key functions and embedding gender and human rights considerations in the formal political and electoral process. The achievements of the Programme were presented on 18 April during the Closing Board Meeting, while the long-term benefits of the Democracy Programme activities will not cease to materialize throughout time.

The Programme managed to improve the institutional structure of the Parliament and build the capacities of the Members of Parliament to discharge their law-making, oversight and representation mandate. Four Parliamentary Territorial and Information Offices (PTIOs) were established in Edinet, Orhei, Leova and Comrat. They increased the interaction between MP and citizens. More than 2,000 requests from citizens were received by PTIOs’ staff, and many issues raised have been resolved, including through amendments to the legislation.

With the Programme’s support, the Parliament has enhanced its capacity to meet the European standards of gender and human rights, became an institution with a stronger role in preventing and curbing corruption. It successfully supported the creation of a Women’s Caucus and a Moldovan Chapter of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption.

The Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Liliana Palihovici noted “The Democracy Programme was an important support for the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova. Numerous achievements have been reached for the EU integration chapter, legislative oversight and unification of process and instructions for the internal activity of the Secretariat. With the Programme support, the quality of the law-making process has been fostered and MPs capacities have been consolidated. The Parliament has become a much more visible and open institution for the Moldovan citizens”

Building the institutional memory of Parliament, through continued focus on developing standard operating tools and guidelines for parliamentary oversight, has helped to lay foundation for sustainable results. Moreover, with the Programme’s support, the Parliament of Moldova is prioritizing its own development agenda, implementing Action Plans on Gender and Anti-Corruption and a Strategic Development Plan.

The Programme also played an important role in assisting the electoral management bodies to ensure inclusive, modern and transparent electoral processes. The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) and the Center for Continuous Electoral Training (CCET) advanced to modern institutions with strong capacities able to deliver professional and inclusive elections by international standards, being able to set best practice examples in a shortened time frame.

The Chairperson of the CEC, Alina Russu, highlighted: “In the last years, the CEC brought best practices in the region in gender mainstreaming and human rights, in applying international standards for electoral processes and bringing innovative IT solutions for timely delivering and professionally managing elections. Our joint efforts contributed to the increasing of the level of transparency, accuracy and credibility of electoral processes in Moldova, as it was visible in the past elections. Nevertheless, there are still open challenges that require a detailed attention of the CEC in the coming years to further consolidate the positive results achieved.”

Supported by the Democracy Programme, in 2016, the CEC and CCET took an innovative approach not yet applied anywhere to present sex-disaggregated data on candidates, elected officials, electoral management bodies, political party proxies and other stakeholders.

To further enhance the role of Women in Elections, the CEC and CCET, the Democracy Programme assisted the founding of the International Association of Women in Electoral Management Bodies (WEM International). This coalition aims to promote an equal number of women and men in the election administration structures, particularly in senior leadership levels.

With the Programme advocacy and capacity building efforts, the CEC made first important steps to equip all polling stations with special voting sleeves for ballot papers which enables a secret and accessible voting process for people with visual impairments as well as developed a set of Voter’s Guide in Braille language.

During 2016, the CEC ensured translation into sign language in a number of polling stations where voters with hearing impairments were registered, up to 136 voters benefiting from translation. Likewise, al CEC meetings and video spots during elections were accompanied with sign language translation, an experience recognized as a best practice in the region. During the Programme implementation, the CEC/CCET staff enhanced their capacities in the area of rights of voters with disabilities.

The partnership between CCET and UNDP led both organisations to a new stage by providing a creative and innovative approach to civic education campaigns and electoral training techniques.

The Director of the CCET, Mrs. Natalia Iuras mentioned: “The Programme provided an invaluable and timely support toward creating and developing a knowledge based society. Thus, the CICDE advanced the civic education and electoral training on a new qualitative and innovative dimension, created a unique e-Learning Platform accessible to any interested person, strengthen the capacities of 45,000 electoral officials to efficiently manage the electoral process, and offered awareness campaigns for more than 28,000 participants. “

From 2015, the CEC was also enabled to start tight collaboration with national public institutions responsible for the population registration data, critical for the quality of the State Register of Voters administered by the CEC, such as the Civil Status Service, E-Governance Centre and State Enterprise “Cadastru”. The partnership with E-Governance Centre fruitfully produced the first ever for Moldova legal and regulatory framework on data exchange and interoperability.

In premiere, during the 2014 Parliamentary Elections the CEC began to use advanced methods of election administration using the State Automated Information System-Elections (SAISE) supported by the Programme. While before 2014, preliminary results were collected by phone and available within 24 hours, currently, the timing for the announcement of the preliminary results is reduced to max 3 hours after the official closing of the polling stations.

Moreover, the CEC undertook the first steps to pilot the internet voting as a remote voting tool by developing a Feasibility Study on Internet Voting and providing a set of draft legal amendments to the electoral legislation for further discussions, in order to ensure a more inclusive approach towards the diaspora.

The UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Stefan Liller noted that as a result of 4.5 years of implementation, the Programme achieved significant results. He stated: “From UNDP’s perspective, this programme was critical for Moldova, given the Parliament and CEC empower ordinary people to participate in policies and processes that shape their life. With the Programme’s support the Parliament has enhanced its capacities to review and adopt legislation related to EU integration agenda, while also striving to become more transparent, open and responsive to people’s needs. The strengthened in house capacities and improved IT systems and legal frameworks enabled the Central Electoral Commission to deliver elections in line with the international standards”

The “Moldova Democracy Programme was funded by the Government of Sweden, Norway and Denmark and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Moldova. Both institutions will continue working with the UNDP in the coming years through new projects, further consolidating their achievements.

Contact information

Sergiu Galitchi, Programme Manager, tel. 022-268 278,

Laura Bohantova, UNDP Communications Analyst, tel. 022-269 112, mob. 068511883,

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