30/07/2009 - Results
The four opposition parties won in the early general elections in Moldova on 29th July. The Liberal-Democratic Party (PLDM), led by Vlad Filat won 16.40% of the vote (17 seats), the Liberal Party (PL) led by Mihai Ghimpu won 14.40% of the vote (15 seats) and the Our Moldova Alliance (AMN) led by Serafim Urechean won 7.40% of the vote (8 seats). The Democratic Party led by former Economy Minister and former president of the Moldovan Parliament, former Communist Party member (PCRM) and forecast to become the country's next Prime Minister just a few weeks ago, Marian Lupu, won 12.60% of the vote and 13 seats. Together these four parties won 50.70% of the vote and 53 seats in Parliament.
The Communist Party is still the country's leading political party winning 45.10% of the vote and 48 seats. The results show a Moldova that is split in two with rural voters on the one side who are often very poor and support the Communist Party and on the other urban Moldovans, who are often young and who voted for the opposition forces.
Turn out rose to 58.80% i.e. above the rate registered in the last general elections on 5th April last (+ 4.8 points).
Neither of the two sides won the 3/5th majority of the parliament (61) vital to elect the President of the Republic, who is due to succeed Vladimir Voronin and who cannot run again after having accomplished two successive terms in office. The fact that there was no majority forced the latter to dissolve Parliament on 15th June last and to convene early general elections. During the 1st and 2nd rounds of the election on 20th May and 3rd June last the Communist Party candidate, Zinaïda Greceanii, required one vote only to be elected to the supreme office.
"Democracy and truth have finally vanquished. We have been fighting for that for a long time with great difficulty,
" declared the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vlad Filat adding "there will be a coalition, an extended coalition in the interest of the population. We shall find the necessary compromise and an agreement so that Moldova will finally be governed democratically.
" "The conclusion is that the Communist Party lost the elections after a campaign of harassment in which enormous pressure was exercised not only on political parties but also on ordinary people,
" indicated Vice-President of the Liberal Democratic Party, Alexandru Tanase.
The opposition forces have excluded any alliance with the Communist Party, likewise Marian Lupu, who indicated that his party was against any cooperation with the Communists. "I know the Communist mentality well. It is impossible to form a coalition with them,
" he said. An alliance of the four opposition parties therefore seems the most likely hypothesis. "The Communist Party will have less than 50 seats in Parliament. This means that the other parties have to form a coalition. We have already started negotiations with this in mind,
" maintained Vlad Filat. However even if they stand together the four opposition parties only have 53 seats, i.e. -8 than the majority of 61 required to elect the President of the Republic.
Integration into Europe was one of the main issues in this election. The ruling Communist Party is rather more oriented towards neighbouring Russia whilst the opposition forces want Moldova to draw closer to the EU and NATO. The country is part of the Partnership for Peace and the Atlantic Alliance but it is not a full member. The Communists would prefer to establish a strategic partnership whilst the opposition parties who support a rapprochement with Romania privilege membership of the NATO. Outgoing President Vladimir Voronin has said that he wants to leave the GUAM (Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development), an international cooperation organization with a regional vocation which rallies Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova, created in 1997 with the support of the USA amongst others, to secure Western access to the Caspian Sea. In April 2006 Lithuania, Poland and Romania were asked to take part to extend the organisation's role.
Moldova has also signed a partnership agreement with the EU. In 2005 both sides already agreed on an action plan that was due to place Moldova on the road to the EU within three years. "Brussels and Chisinau may sign a new cooperation after the general elections, said Wolfgang Berendt, head of the political and economic department of the delegation of the European Commission on 16th October 2008. The issue of the country's integration into the EU finds consensus amongst the Moldovan political classes. Moldova is also linked to the Eastern Partnership launched by the EU on 7th May.
We must hope that these elections will lead to a rapid settlement of the political crisis that the country has been experiencing for the last few months. Indeed Moldova needs stability to launch the reforms that are vital for its survival. The country experienced high GDP growth in 2008 (7.3%) but is due to suffer the effects of the economic crisis in 2009. 29% of the population lives below the poverty line and Chisinau is heavily dependent on the transfer of funds from its Diaspora for survival. The latter represents more than one third of the GDP. Officially 343,000 Moldovans (out of 3.4 million inhabitants) have left their country to work abroad to ensure the survival of their families but in reality this figure is said to be closer to 500,000 people. The country in which the average income is 100$ per month lost one million inhabitants between 1991 the year of its independence and 2004 the year of the last census. An extremely agricultural country (30% of the population), Moldova is greatly dependent on Russia for its energy and notably for gas, likewise for its agricultural exports.
The Constitution makes it obligatory for MPs to elect the President of the Republic in the three months following the dissolution of the previous parliament. The new Head of State will therefore have to be appointed before 15th September.