Moldovan endgame?

Remember the Moldovan election back in early March? The Communist Party won re-election in the parliamentary election, following which the newly elected members of Parliament vote for their President in early April.Brussels Gonzo has the latest news on the political maneuvering in one of the former Soviet Union’s quietest corners.

Those few of you who have been following the story may recall that
the ruling Communist Party won the recent elections with 56 seats out
of 101 in the parliament. However, President Vladimir Voronin will
require 61 votes to get re-elected by the parliament on 4 April. The
leaders of the two opposition factions who between them won the other
45 parliamentary seats pledged that they would boycott the vote, thus
ensuring that no president would be elected and triggering new
parliamentary elections.

Well, it’s not difficult to work out the political mathematics. If you’re an
opposition MP, do you vote for new elections in which you might lose
your seat, or see if you can get a deal from the President?

Former speaker of the parliament Dumitru Diacov has found an answer to the
equation by splitting with the larger coalition as part of which he was
elected, and now leads a faction of 8 MPs. It would be very foolish at
this point to bet against President Voronin’s re-election in ten days’
time, probably by 64 votes to 0. […]

Moldova will almost certainly sink back into torpor, with occasional sabre-rattling across the Dniester. I agree with his analysis of what is about to happen in the upcoming vote, although I don’t think Moldova will sink back into torpor as a result. Sure, Moldova will drop off the news radar again – it is, after all, about as far out of the way as it is possible to get in Europe. But the re-election of Voronin is likely to provide the stability that Moldova needs to push its case for closer integration with the EU.

The Communist Party in Moldova is, despite its name, not committed to the communist ideology. Instead, it is committed to free market reform and is actually doing a pretty good job of driving the Moldovan economy forwards.  There is some corruption, but not at a significantly higher level than, say, Poland or Hungary in the early 1990s. Moldova isn’t ready to actually join the EU yet, but it is ready to begin properly integrating itself into the European economy, rather than the CIS economy.

Neither of the two opposition parties is strong enough to put forward a Presidential candidate of their own, so any President other than Voronin would have to be a compromise candidate.  And, ultimately, if a re-election was called as a result of the Parliament’s inability to choose a President, the only consequence would be months of political turmoil followed by a hung parliament which would, in turn, elect as President…. you guessed it, a compromise candidate. The country would effectively be putting business on hold for months, and there is every chance that it would elect a less effective President as a result.

Voronin, at least, has the support of a small parliamentary majority.  He can push Moldova in the direction it needs to go. And, as there is very little that Russia can offer the Moldovan economy today, that direction is West.

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1 Response

  1. Robert Mayer says:

    Great post, and very persuasive. It really is looking that whoever leans west is best, as countries with “strong ties to Moscow” strangely seem to become less free.