Police officers with the National Anticorruption Centre (CNA) raided the offices of the Central Electoral Commission in the autonomous region of Gagauzia on Tuesday evening.
As part of the raid, authorities collected lists of voters for the election of a new governor in the region.
The CNA said it had found names of several citizens living outside the country, and names of people who had passed away.
Representatives of the Central Electoral Commission attended hearings in Cahul, the largest city in the south of Moldova.
Meanwhile, there was a scuffle outside the local court in the autonomous region’s main city of Comrat, where several members and supporters of the Ilan Shor Party gathered to protest fraud allegations. The candidate for the Ilan Shor Party won the election for governor.
In the aftermath of the raid, deputies of the local parliament, the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia, held an extraordinary session and approved the election victory of Evghenia Gutul, the Ilan Shor Party candidate.
The deputies voted in support for the decision of the Central Electoral Commission in Comrat after it declared Gatul the election winner for the position of “bashkan.” The assembly also sent a complaint to foreign diplomats in Chisinau in relation to the raid.
According to the Electoral Commission from Comrat, police seized the electoral lists from the second round of voting as part of a criminal investigation that commenced in 2022.
The convicted oligarch, Ilan Shor, accused the pro-EU government of interference.
“Chisinau believes that special forces must decide who will be the next bashkan,” Shor wrote on Facebook.
“Masked people stormed the Gagauzia CEC meeting. At gunpoint, they asked the institution’s employees to give them documents. Chisinau gives all Gagauzians the understanding that their choice is worth nothing,” he continued.
The Gagauz are a Turkic ethnic minority. During the period of the Soviet Union, the region underwent a process of Russification. Only a remaining minority speaks the mother tongue, Gagauz, and most of the population can only speak Russian. As a result, residents get their information from Russian-language media sources.
In the election held earlier this month, all eight candidates demonstrated pro-Russian positions, and expressed criticism of Moldova’s central government in the capital of Chisinau.
The outgoing governor, Irina Vlah, won her first mandate with the slogan “Russia is with us.” Now, she has advocated for the integration of Moldova, including the autonomous region of Gagauzia, into the EU.
Image via Wikimedia