Moldova to Choose the Starting Point

By Oleg Gorbunov

A Referendum (Presidential elections – people’s or Parliamentary voting) and pre-term Parliamentary elections are planned for the autumn of 2010 in Moldova. They should either prolong or solve political crisis which began after the Parliamentary elections in April of 2009.


Considering standing cultural confrontation within Moldavian policy between Romanian-phils and statesmen, Moldova will chose its future – independent existence or gradual integration into Romania. Will the ruling alliance “For European Integration” keep its strength in terms of little prospects for some parties to get into the future Parliament? Will communists be able to take a revanche maintaining the old strategy? Which is a possible result of the Referendum and elections this autumn?

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Which are main factors influencing the situation? Moldavian political analysts and politicians answer these questions.
Vitali Andrievski,  the Head of an informational-analytical portal ava.md:

As for the Referendum, here there are two problems. First of all, oppositional party of communists suggested adopting a decision on direct elections of the President by the Parliament, without Referendum. It seems as if there were no reasons to refuse of this initiative of communists, as  it allows to save money, and for poor Moldova this is a significant factor. But with the support of the idea of communists, the Alliance in power “For European Integration” loses initiative which is undesirable for it.Except for that, some Alliance members and first of all Liberal Party, the Leader of which Mihai Ghimpu is the Chairman of the Parliament and acting President, wouldlike to add some questions for the Referendum. And to the issue of direct Presidential elections would add a question on the name of the state language (at the moment in the Constitution it is called Moldavian, and there is a wish to call it Romanian). The attempts of other issues inclusion are also possible. Secondly there are no doubts that most citizens of Moldova will vote for direct Presidential elections. In this case this is proven by a big number of sociologic polls. But there are doubts that the voter turnout will be assured for the Referendum. Especially, in case communists will call to boycott the Referendum, promising that they will solve this issue in Parliament.

It’s also difficult to predict probable results of elections. It’s almost for sure that the Parliament will include 3-4 parties:

The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM), Liberal-democratic party of Moldova (LDPM), Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) and there are also chances for the Liberal Party (LP). PCRM gains about 40-45%, the rest will go to the Party of  the Alliance and some marginal Parties. Theoretically, PCRM has a chance to have the majority (50 +1), but only in case of the set of exceptional circumstances. PCRM has practically chosen its electorate and its extension is  hardly possible.

But yet it’s not known, will the present Alliance remain or it can reformat or new coalitions can occur. Much depends on the line of the Democratic Party of Moldova. This party has chances to become a “political fiancée”, for the arm and heart of which other Parliamentary Parties will fight.

On the factors of influence. This is primarily a social and economic situation, the line of Russia, Romania, the EU, the USA. Much will depend on the creativity of the party. The results of elections for PCRM will mainly depend on whether Party will be able to send a message to the society, for the process of its modernization to start and the leaders to change.
Vladimir Bukarskiy, the Head of Moldova Department for the Association of Orthodox Experts (Chişinău):

According to polls, in Moldova about 80% of population support the idea of the return to direct, all-people’s elections of the President of the country. For the last year people got tired of the chaos and paralysis of the power. That is why the result of the Referendum is predetermined. Moreover that oppositional PCRM publicly supported the all-people’s Presidential elections. I think that during the direct elections, at least in the 2nd round Moldavian statesman will win. Most likely it will be Marian Lupu. However it can also be Vladimir Voronin (if he will be allowed to run for the elections and he wishes to). As a probable candidate of the PCRM there is also the Ambassador of Moldova to Russia Andrey Negutsa. Some people also mention as a candidate a former President Petru Lucinschi – exactly his name was announced in 2009, when the idea of a “neutral President” was suggested. However, one thing is evident: the candidate of Romanian-unionists, and most likely it will be the Prime Minister Vladimir Filat, will lose within direct Presidential elections. His electorate is 30% maximum 40% of those sharing the Romanian vector of the country’s development. Today these people comprise a minority in Moldavian society. That is why for the post of the President independently from the personality people will chose a statesman and the follower of a multi-vector foreign policy.

As for the Parliamentary elections, today the situation won’t change significantly in comparison with the last year. PCRM will remain powerful and influential, but will hardly be able to assure the advantage of 52 mandates, urgent to shape the Government and the Leadership of the Parliament. From the other hand, polls show the growth of the LDPM support at the cost of the Democratic and Liberal Parties. That is why, if PCRM and DPM don’t agree their lines and don’t form a left-centric block, the initiative in the Parliament will be given again to the Liberals. It’s left to hope on the all-people’s election of the President-Statesmen, whose word will be more powerful by the formation of coalition.

The main factor influencing the situation is the economic crisis having already captured the neighboring Romania. Costs and tariffs for public facilities have already increased unprecedently, which was accompanied by the shortening of social preferences, in particular, the abolishment of free travels of the pensioners in the transport of the capital. Starting form the next year Moldova will have more expensive gas, and tariffs will grow for more 50%. If the current Liberal authorities don’t manage to gain the promised credits and to use them within a social sphere, the crisis will be the main agitator for the opposition.
Valerij Klimenko, the Head of the Congress of Russian Communities of Moldova:

In autumn there will be neither the referendum, nor the elections. To be more precise, the Referendum will take place, but due to a low voter turnout it will be recognized as failed.
Therefore, on the background of the kind of result it will be senseless to talk also about pre-term elections.

Why will the Referendum fail? There are several reasons. The first one: Russian speaking social-political movement “Equality” has announced that national minorities will participate in the Referendum only if together with the 78th Article of the Constitution the Referendum will include the issues on the granting to the Russian language the status of a state one and the constitutionalized guaranteed proportional presentation of national minorities within the bodies of state executive authorities at all the levels. It’s evident, that the current power in Moldova won’t accept this demand. Therefore, there is a high probability that most part of the 24% Russian speaking population of the country won’t participate in the Referendum. Considering that Parliamentary elections usually have about 55% of voters, it’s easy to predict a totalfailure of the Referendum without an active support of national minorities.

PCRM most likely will also boycott the Referendum. There are plenty of prerequisites for that. First of all, if as a result of the boycott the Referendum fails, communists by this will show “who is the boss in the country” and who decided on its political fate. Except for that, exactly PCRM will benefit from the prolongation of the pre-term Parliamentary elections, until the responsibility of the party for the communistic past is decided. If in the result of such a responsibility PCRM will have to change its name and mnemonics this means that it’s urgent to reregister the party, which will be practically an impossible procedure within the current conditions. Fighting for the kind of re-registration, PCRM evidently, will have to go through all the steps of Moldavian court hierarchy, up to the European court on human rights. And this will takeplenty of time, which PCRM can gain only by prolonging the decision of the issue on the 78th Article of the Constitution of Moldova. The third factor, affecting thedestiny of the Referendum is the failure of minimum two parties at the pre-term Parliamentary elections, that are the members of the Alliance  “For European Integration” today –  the Democratic Party and “Our Moldova”. For sure they won’t pass into the new Parliament. There is a question, realizing all the danger of the prospect pre-term elections, will they boycott them by all means – public and masked ones?

These all allows us to say that on the way to the pre-term Parliamentary elections in Moldova there are very serious political powers that don’t need these elections and that will do their utmost for them not to take place.
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from  politcom.ru