Category Archives: Moldova

Moldova 2010

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.

Moldova referendum 2010

A constitutional referendum was held in Moldova on September 5, 2010. The referendum aims to resolve more than a year of political deadlock in this former Soviet republic caused by Parliament’s inability to elect a President even after a normal election in April 2009 and a snap election in July 2009. Since a 2000 amendment, Moldova’s Constitution states that the President is elected indirectly by Parliament, but with a strict three-fifths threshold mandatory to win. The Communist Vladimir Voronin had a huge majority of 71 out of 101 seats in 2001 and while he lost his three-fifths majority in 2005, he was re-elected without much trouble with support from smaller centre-right parties. While the Communists came one seat next to the 61 seats needed for a three-fifths majority in April 2009 and theoretically needed only one dissident vote from the right to assure the election of Voronin’s hand-picked puppet, questions over the legitimacy of the April 2009 election led the opposition to block two successive attempts to elect a President. In these cases, the constitution requires a snap election, which was held in July 2009. The new election only added to the deadlock because while it gave the four opposition parties (widely known as the “liberal parties”) a majority of five over the Communists, the liberal opposition, which became the de-facto government, fell far short of the 61 votes needed to elect its candidate, Marian Lupu, in presidential ballots in November and December 2009. Because two snap elections in one year are unconstitutional, new elections will wait until fall 2010. However, the interim government, formed by the liberal parties, formed a commission for constitutional reform, of which the most important aspect is a return to the pre-2000 system of directly electing the president. The question was put forward to the people in a referendum, backed by the government though the Communists called for a boycott of the referendum. That being said, the government parties led a disconcerted campaign in which each of the four parties went their own ways instead of campaigning as a bloc. Yet, polling and general impression indicated a strong victory for the YES, with turnout generally assumed to be sufficient. A rather low turnout threshold of 33% was set to guarantee the referendum’s validity.

Would you agree with the constitutional amendment, which would allow the election of the President of the Republic of Moldova by the entire population?
Yes 87.58%
No 12.42%
turnout 30.79%

While those who actually voted backed the referendum by a overwhelming margin, as expected, the main facet of this referendum was the extremely low turnout. The low turnout, which has made this referendum  – which passed –  failed, is a severe blow for the government and a major boost for the obstructionist Communists, who have blocked any attempt to give the country a permanent President. Given the extremely low coverage of Moldova in the Anglosphere’s mass-media and the scarcity (and unreliability) of local polling, it is hard to say how much this vote was influenced by the government’s policies since it took office a year or so ago. It was generally assumed that people would look favourably upon better relations with Romania and the EU as well as a fresh IMF loan, but given that Moldova’s economy is still in wrecks and the country lacks a permanent government, voters seem to long for the tough iron-fist leadership of Voronin between 2001 and 2009.

The government now needs to dissolve Parliament for snap parliamentary elections to be held in November, likely on November 14. While it seems quasi-certain that the Communists will still pull a plurality, the question is if it can win a majority (denying the liberals even their right to continue their de-facto governing) or, more unlikely, a 2001-like super-majority which would allow the Communists to elect one of their own to the presidency. Yet, the likelier outcome seems to be further deadlock, in which the Communists and liberals continue their obstruction to the other’s right to form permanent government when the others hold a plurality of seats. The failure of this referendum, which should be blamed largely on the Communists, means that Moldova’s unfortunate political deadlock will continue in the midst of a grave financial crisis. It is hard to think of a worse system of electing a president than Moldova’s post-2000 system.

Moldova 2009

Moldova held a snap general election on July 29 after a previous election on April 5 led to deadlock in the parliamentary vote during the election of the Moldovan President. The Constitution requires that the President be elected by a three-fifths majority, or 61 of the 101 seats in the country’s unicameral legislature. The Communist Party (PCRM) won only 60 seats and all other (pro-western-Romanian liberal) parties refused to vote for the PCRM’s candidate due to questions over the transparency of the April election. As a result, a new election had to be held.

Considerably fewer parties and candidates ran in the snap election, but the major parties stayed the same: the socialist Communists (PCRM), which are very hard to classify correctly; the Liberal Party (PL) and the Liberal-Democratic Party (PLDM), new pro-western liberals; the liberal Our Moldova Alliance (AMN) and the Democratic Party (PDM) now led by Marian Lupu, a PCRM dissident. The PPCD, which had seats until April 2009, is a Christian democratic centre-right party known for its support of Moldovan unification with Romania.

Results with 99.8% tallied. Turnout was 58.8%, slightly up on April.

PCRM 44.76% (-4.72%) winning 48 seats (-12)
Liberal-Democratic 16.55% (+4.12%) winning 18 seats (+4)
Liberal 14.61% (+1.48%) winning 15 seats (nc)
Democratic Party 12.55% (+9.58%) winning 13 seats (+13)
Our Moldova 7.35% (-2.42%) winning 7 seats (-4)
PPCD 1.91% (-1.13%) winning 0 seats (nc)

The PCRM has lost a dozen seats, though with the support of the PDM, which is, after all, a centre-left party led by a guy who was a member of the PCRM until this year, it can have the 61 votes. However, if Marian Lupu holds a grudge against his Communist friends, then he, with the liberal opposition, prevents the election of the PCRM’s candidate. However, this coalition can’t impose a candidate since it only has 53 votes, a majority but not a three-fifths majority. The outcomes of this election are either yet another snap election (unlikely), a PCRM-PDM coalition or even a Grand Coalition (as proposed by the Communist leader, Vladimir Voronin).

Hopefully, though, this won’t lead to more protests like last time or political instability.

Moldova 2009: Update

Since my last post, a series of unfortunate events have taken place. Young students, apparently organized via twitter (lolz) have staged massive protests saying these elections were rigged, demanding democracy and so forth. As to that question, international observers concluded on election night that voting was free and fair and neither the EU lesson-givers or the United States have said anything contradicting the observer’s observations. However, some have said that the OSCE team was mostly Russians. The people who said the Turkmen elections were “democratic”. So, yeah. In addition to street protests, you have the usual scum coming out in full force to loot and destroy everything (including the Parliament chambers). The main opposition, the PL and PLDM have not denounced these demonstrations, quite to the contrary. Meanwhile, the Communists have decided to blame Romania for all this (I’d wager their reason for this is the fact that the students held mostly Romanian flags. CONSPIRACY!111), and they recalled the Moldovan ambassador in Bucarest. President Voronin has also said that he might throw in the army to prevent further looting and destruction.

The flag is upside down, numbnuts.

The flag is upside down, numbnuts.

On the statistical front, things have gotten difficult. The Communists have dropped to 60 seats, sheding one seat to the PLDM since my last post. Remember, 60 seat is one less than the required 61 votes to elect a President. And the opposition has already said they’ll vote against the Communist candidate in any vote and judging by the statements made by the PL and PLDM during the protests, this isn’t likely to change. If no President is elected after three ballots, a new election must be held.

I’m debating whether to post this under “fake elections” too.

Moldova 2009

Europe’s only democratically elected Communist-led government has won a re-election with an increased majority. The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) led by President Vladimir Voronin has won just under 50% of the votes and – as of now – a three-fifths majority on its own. The PCRM, considered as pro-Russian until 2005, has become more western, favouring closer ties with the EU but opposing NATO membership. Under Voronin, Moldova’s poor economic state has improved, and the PCRM’s economic acheivements were boasted by the party this time around. However, Voronin and the PCRM failed in solving the Transnistrian problem. Transnistria is a nasty little Russophone breakaway republic since the early ’90’s squished in between the Dniester River and Ukraine. Transnistria is recognized by no UN member state.

The opposition to the PCRM is now formed by two new parties, also pro-European and pro-NATO, and both with similar names (Liberal and Liberal-Democratic). The electoral alliance “Our Moldova” is classified as liberal, but I’m not sure if it’s pro-Russian or pro-Europe. I think the Democratic Party is pro-Russian, though. Until this year, the Christian Democrats (PPCD) were represented. The PPCD openly favours union with Romania: 75% of Moldovans are often classified as “Romanians” and they speak Romanian. Moldova uses d’Hondt proportional representation, with a relatively high threshold (6%) for parties and a 3% threshold for independent candidates. The EU criticized, very hypocritically, this threshold. Why doesn’t the EU get Greece to fix its vandalized version of “proportional representation” first before giving lessons on electoral systems?

T/O 59.50%. 98.13% reporting
PCRM 49.95% (+3.97%) winning 61 seats (+5)
Liberal 12.79% (new) winning 15 seats (+15)
Liberal-Democratic 12.26% (new) winning 14 seats (+14)
Our Moldova 9.81% (-18.72%) winning 11 seats (-12)*
Social Democratic Party 3.72 (+0.8%) winning 0 seats
PPCD 3.03% (-6.04%) winning 0 seats (-11)
Democratic Party 2.96% (see Our Moldova) winning 0 seats (-11)

* Note: Our Moldova is compared to the 2005 “Democratic Moldova” electoral bloc, which included the Democratic Party. Out of that list’s 34 MPs, 23 were from Our Moldova and 11 were from the Democratic Party.

The President, which holds much of the real power in Moldova, is elected by Parliament. President Vladimir Voronin. In office since 2001, he can’t run for a third time. He has, however, declared that he will stay on as PCRM leader and will continue to overshadown Moldovan politics- possibly in a Putin-like fashion as Speaker of Parliament.

Moldovan law requires 61 votes (three-fifths majority) for a President to be elected. As of now, it seems as if the PCRM has 61 votes on its own, and Voronin’s successor will probably have no hard time being elected. However, if the PCRM does drop to 60 seats, there could be some trouble. The three opposition parties, all anti-communist (especially the PLDM and PL), have announced that they will not support the PCRM candidate. So, if the PCRM has 60 votes and can’t move to 61 after three ballots, the constitution requires a new election. Now, this shouldn’t happen as long as the PCRM stays at 61 seats or a opposition rebel votes the PCRM.