06/03/2005 - Results
The Communist Party (PCRM) won the general elections that took place on 6th March. President of the Republic, Vladimir Voronin's party won 42% of the vote and took 57 seats. They have however lost ground, 7.9 points and 14 seats less than during the last election on 25th February 2001.
The Electoral Bloc of Democratic Moldova (BMD) chaired by the mayor of the capital Chisinau, Serafim Urecheanu, took second place with 28% of the vote and 34 seats. This centre-left coalition - supported by Russia and the Transnistrian authorities, who are both trying to weaken the Communist Party - comprises three parties: the Democratic Party, chaired by Dumitru Diacov, former President of Parliament, the Alliance "Our Moldova", co-chaired by former Prime Minister, Dumitru Braghis, Veaceslas Untila and Serafim Urechean, and Oleg Serebrian's Social Liberal Party.
The Popular Christian Democrat Party (PPCD), a centre right party led by Jurie Rosca, won 14% of the vote and ten seats.
No other party won the obligatory 6% (9% for two party coalitions or 12% in the case of three) to be represented in Parliament. The two parties that side with Russia, created several months before the elections -Ravnopraviye (RSPMR), a centre left party led by Valerii Climenco, and the Electoral Bloc Patria-Rodina (EBPR), led by Boris Muravschili that includes Victory Morev's Socialist Party and the Party of the Socialists of the Republic of Moldova led by Veronica Abramciuc and Eduard Smirnov- did not manage to make an electoral break through. The participation rate dropped in comparison with the last general elections on 25th February 2001 (-11.4 points) rising to 58.86%. The highest participation rate was recorded in the region of Basarabeasca (74.64%), and the lowest in the capital of Chisinau (48.72%). Eight thousand of the three hundred thousand Moldavians living in Transnistria went to ballot. 7, 637 people voted abroad. We should note that the first exit poll undertaken in the country for two independent TV channels using data collated from 252 polling stations provided almost the exact results of the general election.
"The elections were democratic, open and took place with the participation of a great number of both international and local observers. They met international standards," declared Jurie Ciocan, a member of the Central Electoral Commission. "We cannot see any real reason to challenge the results and we have not received any complaints of major transgressions that might have had an influence," he added. Seven hundred and forty seven international observers and 2,500 Moldavians monitored the election. Moldova refused the attendance of observers form the Community of Independent States (CIS). A few days before the election the President of the Republic, Vladimir Voronin insisted on the democratic importance of this election. "The most important thing at the moment is the organisation of proper elections. This duty is greater than the victory of the Moldavian Communist Party," he declared, adding, "the country's future is linked to the victory of democratic standards."
"Any party would have wished for more but we are pleased that no one can elect the President without us," declared Communist Party spokesperson Alexander Petkov when the results were released. Since the reform of the constitution in 2000 the President of Moldova is elected by Parliament that has 45 days to undertake this election. If it does not succeed in doing so a new round of general elections is organised. With 57 seats the Communist Party does not have a parliamentary majority (three fifths) necessary to elect the President and will therefore have to be certain of the support of some MP's (at least four). "The Communist Party will of course find the six or seven seats it needs to win the presidential majority since the Centrist Bloc is very weak and was only created for the elections," maintained political analyst Nicolae Chirtoaca, director of an independent research centre.
The President, leader of the ruling Communist Party, made a total political U-turn just before the elections turning his back on Russia, denouncing Moscow's interference in the country's domestic affairs, thereafter looking towards to the European Union. This new pro-European orientation was adopted unanimously during the PCRM's Congress in December 2004. The rift between the two countries dates back to November 2003 when Vladimir Voronin refused to sign the Kozak plan written in order to resolve the conflict opposing Moldova and Transnistria, saying that this had been established "without consulting the European Union that Moldova had the intention of joining." In February this year Vladimir Voronin signed an action plan with the European Commission within the framework of the Union's Neighbourhood Policy and asked Europe to help settle the conflict that opposed his country with the Transnistrian separatists. The President also signed agreements with its neighbour Romania a county with which it had a difficult relationship until now. The new Romanian President, Traian Basescu, made an official trip to Chisinau in January this year. Just before the general elections Vladimir Voronin also met Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and received Georgian President, Mikhaïl Saakachvili, who had come to Chisinau to support him on the eve of the vote. "The President is going to Moldova to express his solidarity with the people in its fight for independence and its hope to join Europe," declared a release issued by the Georgian Presidency. All of this leaves Vladimir Putin with the fear of the creation of an anti-Russian axis amongst Moscow's former satellites. Finally over the last few weeks the Moldavian authorities threw out hundreds of Russians accused of campaigning illegally for the opposition parties. "The Communists saw that the Kremlin wanted to created chronic instability and weaken Moldova in order to maintain its influence. Vladimir Voronin's policy is a threat for Moscow," stressed Nicolae Chirtoaca.
The Moldavian President's political change of mind deprived the opposition parties of the vital part of their political programme. The Electoral Bloc "Democratic Moldova" is in favour of drawing closer to the West but also wants to maintain relations with Russia. As for the Popular Christian Democrat Party it raised its bid by saying that it was in favour of Moldova joining NATO. During the electoral campaign, typified in the final stages by extremely aggressive declarations, the political parties also accused each other of plagiarism.
In the wake of the success of his party in the general elections, Vladimir Voronin should be re-elected President of Moldova in the near future. The next four years will be a challenge for him to strengthen democracy in Moldova, where nearly half of the inhabitants live below the poverty line and one third of whose working population has emigrated since independence in 1991, and also to succeed in settling the conflict with Transnistria.