Just spent 8 days interesting days in Moldova observing with the OSCE ODIHR election mission for the Moldovan Parliamentary election. The Republic of Moldova is a small landlocked country between Ukraine and Romania which declared its sovereignty from USSR in 1990. I was there to observe and report on the election of 101 new deputies into parliament. I knew very little about Moldova before my assignment on this mission and I too wondered where it was on the map. Here is a locator:

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Moldova has a good reputation for its wine and is mainly undiscovered as a tourist destination. A few of us arrived in Chisinau, the capital, a day before the observer training so we used the time well touring Chisinau and one of the celebrated wine cellars. Milestii Mici houses about 2 million bottles of wine in limestone caves 85 metres below ground. The limestone was originally mined and shipped to Chisinau for building then in the 1970’s barrels and “cavas” were built to store the wine. Very interesting place.

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Chisinau had many delights on a cold winter day. Not the least of which was a downtown skating rink – ringed with political signage days before the election.

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I was assigned to observe the elections in the north-eastern Soroca region. The Soroca castle built by Stephen the Great in the 1400’s is the centrepiece of the city and the surrounding countryside is rolling hills, small scale farming and local towns and villages. Election observation was interspersed with rugged driving to local villages.

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OSCE ODIHR released it’s preliminary report on December 1st, the day after the elections finding that the campaign was peaceful and freedoms of expression, association and assembly were generally respected. The campaign environment was affected by the deregistration of the Patria Party (PP) shortly before election day. In a largely substantive campaign, there was particular focus on geopolitical issues such as engagement with the European Union and the Eurasian Customs Union, as well as the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine, and issues of employment, pensions and anticorruption.

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