From Facebook to flash mobs, Moldovans wage political campaigns on the web in recent elections

Jun 15, 2011
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Moldova is currently in the thick of two rounds of local elections and is inundated with all the complex political dynamics and exchange associated with the period. The first round of municipal elections occurred 5 June, and the second round will take place this Sunday, 19 June.

The Internet is playing an important role in the civic and political environment of Moldova, especially during this electoral period. Nearly every candidate has a Facebook profile and blog, though it is not always clear if the pages are administered by the politicians themselves, by members of their staff, or by unknown fans. Dorin Chirtoacă, the incumbent mayor of Chisinau and candidate for the Liberal party, has said that his Facebook page is administered by “a colleague.”

The "+1” image, which some Moldovans have made their profile picture on Facebook, indicates an effort to increase voter participation for the second round of elections.

In addition to a Facebook profile (where a picture depicts the Communist Party candidate enjoying a bouquet of yellow wildflowers), Igor Dodon posts regularly to a blog. No longer in the running, Mihai Godea also reached out to his followers through both platforms.

Facebook has featured a diverse range of involvement, serving as a platform for the electorate, as well as politicians. The National Youth Council has launched a campaign and released a number of video clips, such as the one below, intended to motivate young people to participate in elections.

Even now a viral campaign is unfolding, as participants change their Facebook profile pictures to an image of “+1.” These images are meant to stimulate youth participation in the second round of elections, and those behind them have also posted a Facebook event organizing a flash mob in the National Square in Chisinau on June 16. At the time of posting, 284 people had confirmed their attendance.

Even a prominent U.S. politician touring Moldova got into the act. When American Senator John McCain visited Moldova on 12 June, he was quick to upload a picture of himself with young Moldovan leaders to his Facebook profile. After he met the senator, young blogger Alex Lebedev discussed how impressed he was with his use of social media on – you guessed it – his blog.

About the Author

Cristian Ziliberberg

Cristian Ziliberberg has been involved in Moldova’s civil society movement since 1998. He has worked for the Resource Center for Human Rights, the Center for Organizational Training and Consultancy, the Leadership Institute, and as TOL’s project manager for Moldova for the past year.
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