Moldova held another parliamentary election on Sunday, November 28. This was a snap election held a year after Parliament in November and December 2009 failed, twice in a row, to elect a President. An overview of the situation in Moldova since April 2009 is helpful:
In April 2009, the Communists (PCRM) came within one vote of getting the three-fifths majority needed to elect the President; but in part due to disputes around the election’s fairness, the liberal opposition united to block the PCRM’s candidate and since the Constitution says that if the Parliament fails to elect the President twice in a row, a new election was called for July 2009.
In July 2009, the Communists lost 12 seats and gave the liberal opposition a 53-48 majority but not a three-fifths majority. While the liberals became the de-facto interim government, the Communists blocked two attempts – again – to elect a President. Since two early elections in the same year are unconstitutional, new elections were to be held this year.
In September 2010, a referendum to allow for the election of the President by popular vote (as it was before 2000) failed because turnout (30.79%) was below the 33% threshold. The Communists had called for a boycott of the referendum (in which 88% of those who voted backed the amendment).
A government needs 61 votes, or three-fifths of the members, to elect a President. If two successive attempts fail, as happened in spring and fall 2009, a new election must be held but two snap elections cannot be held in the same year.
Here are the results:
PCRM 39.29% (-5.40%) winning 42 seats (-6)
PLDM 29.38% (+12.81%) winning 32 seats (+14)
PDM 12.72% (+0.18%) winning 15 seats (+2)
PL 9.96% (-4.72%) winning 12 seats (-3)
AMN 2.05% (-5.30%) winning 0 seats (-7)
Exit polls had predicted that the current government would be able to form a three-fifths majority government, but the Communists performed slightly better in the real polls than in the exit polls. In the end, despite losing 6 seats and 5% of its July 2009 vote, the Communists held their ground and most importantly held their position to continue the deadlock by securing 42 seats – and thus sufficient seats to block the government in its attempt to elect a President. The four, now three-party governing coalition (Alliance for European Integration) has 59 seats, two short of the 61 needed. The opportunity for them, and arguably the country, is vying away two or more Communist deputies. It certainly isn’t unheard of, given that the government’s likely candidate, Marian Lupu (PDM) is a former Communist who broke with the party following the April 2009 election.
There seems to have been a consolidation of votes behind the PLDM, who probably benefits from a “leader” image by virtue of its leader, Vlad Filat, being the Prime Minister and thus de-facto leader of the government. The PCRM’s decline also perhaps indicates yearning for stability and finally electing a President, and at this rate of decline for the Communists perhaps another final snap election will do the trick.
Deadlock is likely to continue, unless the PCRM give up and budge or if a few of their members can be bought over. At the same time, Moldova’s Constitution will continue to astound the world by its awfulness.