The Communists stay in power in Moldova

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Corinne Deloy,  

Fondation Robert Schuman,  

Helen Levy

-

6 April 2009
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Deloy Corinne

Corinne Deloy

Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).

Robert Schuman Fondation

Fondation Robert Schuman

Levy Helen

Helen Levy

The Communist Party (PRCM) led by President of the Republic Vladimir Voronin won the general elections in Moldova on 5th April. It won 50% of the vote and clinched 62 of the 101 seats in Parliament i.e. the absolute 2/3 majority necessary to elect the new President of the Republic. The head of State is elected in Moldova by the members of Parliament within 45 days of the general election. The presidential election must take place between 8th April and 8th June next.

The Constitution prohibits the present Head of State, Vladimir Voronin, the only Communist President in Europe in addition to Cypriot Demetris Christofias (Progressive Workers' Party AKEL) in power since 2001 to stand for a third four-year term in office.

The Liberal Party of Chisinau Mayor, Dorin Chirtoaca came second with 12.75% of the vote followed by the Liberal Democratic Party with 12.26% and the Our Moldova Alliance (AMN), 9.81%. With the Communist Party these three movements are the only ones to have risen above the vital 6% threshold of votes cast to be able to sit in Parliament.

Turnout rose of 59.52%, i.e. -5.28 points less in comparison with the general elections of 6th March 2005.

These elections were important notably due to Moldova's strategic position. Although all of the political parties want the country to draw closer to the EU the Communist Party and the opposition differ with regard to the relations to hold with Russia and NATO. Moldova is part of NATO's partnership for peace but it is not a full member of the Atlantic Alliance. The Communists prefer to establish a strategic partnership with Russia whilst the opposition parties support a rapprochement with Romania and privilege membership of the Atlantic Alliance. Vladimir Voronin has said he wants to leave the GUAM (Organization for Democracy and Development), an international organization for cooperation with a regional vocation including Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova created in 1997 and supported by the USA to secure amongst other things, Western access to the Caspian Sea. In April 2006 Vladimir Voronin asked Lithuania, Poland and Romania to participate in the organization to extend its role.

"The Communists are extremely pro-European for quite pragmatic reasons; Moldova perceives the importance of the aid the EU can provide for economic development," stresses Arcadié Barbarossié, an analyst at the independent research centre Invisible College.

After the Communist victory the question of who will succeed President Vladimir Voronin, whose mandate ends on 7th June next is due to be the focus of public debate in Moldova. Political analysts wonder about the future of the outgoing Head of State. It is not very likely that he will choose a path similar to Vladimir Putin and become Prime Minister; however he may maintain major powers by working behind the scenes. "One thing is sure, I shall stay head of the Communist Party since I was re-elected in March 2008 for four years (...) sincerely I believe that one of the most probable hypotheses is that I shall become an ordinary MP. But then it is up to the party now to decide on my future...," he said in an interview (to be published) granted to the review Politique Internationale.

Source: Internet site of the Moldovan Electoral Commission (http://www.cec.md/i-ComisiaCentrala/-//i-ComisiaCentrala/UserImages/images/Declaratii//grafic.jpg)

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