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European Country Moldova likely to stick to European Union path regardless of the Election Outcome

The vote is the first since 1997 where the president will be elected by national balloting instead of by parliament

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A girl walks by campaign posters for socialist presidential candidate Igor Dodon, in Chisinau, Moldova, Nov. 12, 2016. VOA

November 12, 2016: Moldovans are facing a critical choice for the presidency, as the country votes in a run-off election that will determine whether it moves closer to Moscow or the European Union.

Igor Dodon, a Socialist former trade minister, had a sizable lead in the first round of voting last month, but failed to gain an outright majority and avoid facing second-place finisher Maia Sandu in the November 13 run-off.

Sandu, a former World Bank economist and education minister, has called for closer ties with the European Union, and warned about the danger of closer economic relationship with Russia, which is Moldova’s leading energy supplier.

FILE - Leader of the Socialists Party, Igor Dodon, shown with his son Nikolai and wife Galina, casts his ballot, during the presidential elections in Chisinau, Moldova, Oct. 30, 2016. Dodon and second-place finisher Maia Sandu will face off in a November. VOA
FILE – Leader of the Socialists Party, Igor Dodon, shown with his son Nikolai and wife Galina, casts his ballot, during the presidential elections in Chisinau, Moldova, Oct. 30, 2016. Dodon and second-place finisher Maia Sandu will face off in a November. VOA

Dodon wants to reverse the country’s move toward European integration, which included a historic association agreement signed in 2014 despite bitter opposition from Russia.

The vote is the first since 1997 where the president will be elected by national balloting instead of by parliament.

The tiny country of 3.5 million is one of Europe’s poorest, a situation only worsened by the turmoil that erupted in late 2014 when nearly $1 billion — around 10 percent of the country’s GDP — disappeared from three banks.

FILE - Leader of the Action and Solidarity Party, Maia Sandu, casts her vote during the presidential elections in Chisinau, Moldova, Oct. 30, 2016. Sandu and Igor Dodon, a Socialist former trade minister, will face off in a November 13 run-off. VOA
FILE – Leader of the Action and Solidarity Party, Maia Sandu, casts her vote during the presidential elections in Chisinau, Moldova, Oct. 30, 2016. Sandu and Igor Dodon, a Socialist former trade minister, will face off in a November 13 run-off. VOA

Moscow fears Moldova moving closer to the European Union, similar to what happened in Ukraine in 2014.

Russia also has thousands of troops stationed in the disputed military presence in the mainly Russian-speaking territory of Transdniester, which broke away following a short war that killed some 1,000 people.

Russia still keeps a contingent of troops ostensibly as peacekeepers in the territory.

Polls show the banking crisis sapped many Moldovans’ enthusiasm for European integration. It also prompted the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to suspend financial aid.

Map, VOA
Map of Ukraine, VOA

Earlier this week, however, the IMF approved nearly $180 million of loans for Moldova ahead of a presidential runoff election that could see the former Soviet republic move closer to Europe or tilt toward Russia.

The Washington-based fund cited what it said was Moldova’s improving economy and government reform to strengthen the banking sector. (VOA)

Next Story

Facebook Creating ‘Inequalities’ Through Political Advertisements

"We need to recognise these limitations to think about whether and how existing reporting requirements need to change," Power added.

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Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said health authorities needed to "up our game," adding that she was working with Twitter, Facebook, Google and other tech companies. Pixabay

As more and more political parties advertise on Facebook to reach out to maximum number of voters, the practice is creating new types of inequalities for campaigners and, in turn, posing new set of challenges for the regulators, warn researchers.

Traditional campaigning regulations are based on the theory that spending by each political party leads to a similar result.

For example, if political parties spent the same amount on leaflets, the literature would reach a similar number of people.

However, this cannot apply to Facebook advertising where the impact is dependent on the audience the advertiser wants to reach, argues Katharine Dommett from the University of Sheffield and Sam Power from the University of Exeter.

Facebook
The findings showed that regulation must also take into account how Facebook algorithms mean the same advertising spend has different results.
VOA

“This means different spend will have different results. Adverts in a marginal constituency will be more expensive, as will adverts that are directed at an audience that is in high demand from advertisers,” the researchers said in a paper published in the journal Political Quarterly.

For example, in India, even before elections were announced, in February itself, Facebook had run over 51,000 political ads in India worth more than Rs 10 crore and Google declared 800 ads bought for Rs 3.6 crore.

“As digital political campaigning grows, it is now increasingly difficult for existing regulators to capture the true extent of what is happening online, let alone whether these practices violate democratic norms,” suggested Dommett.

The unreliability of existing data on the use of Facebook needs to be acknowledged by regulators if campaigning spending is to be effectively interpreted and understood.

The findings showed that regulation must also take into account how Facebook algorithms mean the same advertising spend has different results.

facebook

However, this cannot apply to Facebook advertising where the impact is dependent on the audience the advertiser wants to reach, argues Katharine Dommett from the University of Sheffield and Sam Power from the University of Exeter. Pixabay

“Although Facebook has introduced some new transparency measures, nobody can fully monitor both how it is being used by political parties and the inequalities of access they can face,” said Power.

It is also not Facebook’s role to regulate elections.

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“We need to recognise these limitations to think about whether and how existing reporting requirements need to change,” Power added.

Regulators around the world need to think about how to monitor and respond to spending principles that are creating inequalities in the electoral market place. (IANS)