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What about Moldova?

Posted by Fredsvenn den januar 4, 2010

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Se HER

These days student demonstration in Chisinau are on  almost everyone’s lips.  Moreover, the question of the day is : How could the Communists win the elections being so unpopular between students? Students seeking an answer to this question have gathered in front of the parliament to ” peacefully ” demonstrate.  What they do not realize is that they are fighting a lost battle. Their voice is only of a small percent of total Moldova population.  Students are always the progressive elements of a society, and thus bring about change for the good and development. Even so, the Moldovan student community is split between Russian speakers and Romanian speakers. It very obvious why Romanian speaker students aren’t so pleased with the result of the elections. The Communist party is a traditional supporter of the interest of the Russian speaking community, more precisely maintaining good relations and ties with Moscow. On the hand, the right wing students that gathered the last days in Chisinau are infused with the attraction of the West. It is the benefits of the EU membership that they  seek:  free travel, open markets, etc. I strongly belief that if the Communist party, with of authoritarian actions, would follow a clear Western path it will gain the support of the Romanian Speaking population.

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Western NGO’s and institutions, on their part, have acknowledged that the elections in Moldova were conducted in satisfactory manner, and the deficiencies encountered in the process didn’t have a significant influence on the outcome.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, urged the sides to refrain from violence, adding the elections had met international standards, which was echoed by the secretary general of the Council of Europe.

“Some people may not be happy with the outcome, but accepting defeat is a part of the democratic process. As to any specific allegations of electoral irregularities, these should be dealt with in the court not in the street,” Terry Davis said.

The Communist Party’s electoral performance rests on distinct local circumstances, often underappreciated by outsiders. The Jamestown foundation have identified ten of such factors:

1) The Communist brand remains attractive to a critical mass of Moldovan voters. These compare (as do many Russian voters) the 1990s unfavorably both with the Soviet period and with the post-2001 period (when the Moldovan Communists returned to power).

2) The president and government used the incumbency advantage to the hilt, appearing in TV newscasts to open gas lines, agricultural machinery stations, and construction projects in the presence of appreciative voters during the electoral campaign. They also resorted to populist measures, from lowering the bread price to donating to charities during the campaign.

3) The incumbent government, predominantly of technical experts, is unquestionably Moldova’s most competent and convincing to voters since independence, contrasting with previous governments that were formed on a political basis. Prime Minister Zinaida Grecianai, one year in that post, enjoys a high popularity rating. The current government includes only two communist ministers, out of nineteen. Half of the ministers, however, ran for parliament on the Communist Party’s list, adding to the party’s “administrative resources” in this campaign.

4) The Communist Party is the only major party with a multi-ethnic electorate. Most opposition parties (including all three that have now entered the parliament) rely entirely on ethnic Moldovan voters (a minority of whom define themselves as Romanians) and have not seriously attempted to reach out to “Russian-speaking” voters. Many “Russian-speakers,” who defected from the Europe-oriented Communist Party in recent years, crossed over to small pro-Moscow groups or declined to vote, rather than joining Moldovan opposition parties. The Communist Party was able to offset that loss by increasing its share of the ethnic Moldovan vote.

5)Exit polls, conducted by Western-funded NGOs, showed that the Communist Party made significant inroads into young age cohorts for the first time in these elections. As the poll coordinator, sociologist Arcadie Barbarosie (head of the Soros Foundation’s local affiliate) observes, the Communist Party can no longer be stereotyped as a “pensioners’” or Soviet-nostalgics’ party (Moldpres, Imedia, April 6).

6) Still communist, nevertheless, in its disciplined style of operating, the party has developed an effective style of door-to-door campaigning in towns and villages. Although it fully (if informally) controls public television, and less fully public radio, the party gave up some of its public airtime during the final phase of the campaign, reflecting its confidence in door-to-door activity.

7) The Communist Party ran a sophisticated campaign under the direction of presidential adviser Marc Tcaciuc, long reputed as the “grey eminence,” and who has now earned the sobriquet of the party’s “grey matter” in this campaign (NewsIn, April 6). Apart from the public TV and radio company, the party controls two other television channels and one other country-wide radio channel.

0) While committed to European integration–a matter of national consensus above party lines–the Communist Party also advertised itself as Russia’s favored political partner in Moldova during this campaign. Voronin’s photo opportunity with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow on March 18 (see EDM, March 20, 25) helped to prevent Moldova’s pro-Russia parties from gaining enough votes to enter the parliament. Voronin’s move also undoubtedly played well with mainstream Moldovan voters, among whom Medvedev and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold the top two places in the popularity ratings. Voronin a distant third overall, but is a distant first among domestic political figures.

9)  The opposition-dominated Chisinau Municipal Council, a scene of chaos and nepotism, has played into the Communist Party’s hands. The party constantly compared that scene with the situation in the pre-2001 parliament, which had helped discredit the multi-party system in Moldova. Certain Liberal-Democrat and Our Moldova leaders are also associated in the public memory with that parliament, making it possible for the Communists to campaign once again against “the 1990s” in these elections.

10) Half a dozen parties with theoretical chances to pass the 6 percent threshold campaigned ineffectively, competing against each other as well as against the Communists. Anti-communist slogans proved once again ineffective and largely irrelevant in Moldova. Inasmuch as the Communist Party today is a far cry from its pre-1991 predecessor, mere anti-communism is yesteryear’s battle in Moldova. No fewer than four opposition parties advertised themselves as Liberal, in a country completely devoid of a bourgeoisie. Both programatically and organizationally, the opposition failed to present a credible alternative to the incumbent majority party.

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