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Moldova - Politics

Mircea Ion Snegur27 Apr 199015 Jan 1997PCM
Petru Chiril Lucinschi15 Jan 199707 Apr 2001PCRM
Vladimir Nicolae Voronin07 Apr 200111 Sep 2009PCRM
[interim] Mihai Toader Ghimpu11 Sep 200928 Dec 2010PL
[interim] Vladimir Vasile Filat28 Dec 201030 Dec 2010PLDM
[interim] Marian Ilie Lupu30 Dec 201023 Mar 2012PDM
Nicolae Vasile Timofti23 Mar 2012Mar 2016Non-party
Igor Dodon Dec 2016Dec 2020PSRM
Maia Sandu Dec 2020Dec 2024PAS
Prime Minister
Mircea Druc26 May 199028 May 1991FPM
Valeriu Tudor Muravschi28 May 199101 Jul 1992FPM
Andrei Nicolae Sangheli01 Jul 199225 Jan 1997PDAM
Ion Condratie Ciubuc25 Jan 199712 Mar 1999Non-party
Ion Mihai Sturza12 Mar 199921 Dec 1999Non-party
Dumitru Petru Braghis21 Dec 199920 Apr 2001Non-party
Vasile Petru Tarlev20 Apr 200131 Mar 2008PCRM
Zinaida Petru Greceanîi31 Mar 200814 Sep 2009PCRM
Vitalie Vasile Pîrlog14 Sep 200925 Sep 2009PCRM
Vladimir Vasile Filat25 Sep 200925 Apr 2013PLDM
Iurie Leanca25 Apr 201318 Feb 2015PLDM
Chiril Gaburici18 Feb 201522 Jun 2015Non-party
Natalia Gherman22 Jun 201530 Jul 2015PLDM
Valeriu Strelet30 Jul 201530 Oct 2015PLDM
Gheorghe Brega30 Oct 201520 Jan 2016PL
Pavel Filip20 Jan 201614 Jun 2019 PDM
Maia Sandu08 Jun 201914 Nov 2019PAS
Ion Chicu14 Nov 2019 Non-party

The European Union, the United States, and Russia seek more influence over the small agricultural country of 3.5 million inhabitants, located between EU member Romania and Ukraine. Historically, Moldova was a classic borderland, fought over and divided by outside powers eager to remake the inhabitants in their own image.

Economic mismanagement, trade pressure from Russia and the failure of successive governments to tackle corruption mean nostalgia for Soviet times and traditional links with Moscow remains high among large sections of the population. The social fragmentation along ethno-linguistic, religious or political lines in Moldova is reflected in election results, which significantly differ depending on the urban-rural, North-South, ethnic majority- ethnic minority criteria.

Lack of consensus over national unity has inhibited democratic consolidation, but it has done the same with various tries at firming up a more autocratic order. Competing claims over Moldovan territory created a situation in which leaders found it difficult to consolidate either a democratic or an authoritarian regime. High subjective expectations of reform have not been met; and in some particulars (corruption, to name one) there has apparently been deterioration in the objective situation. The rule of law and government effectiveness because they see these factors as cornerstones of the political system. If they are absent or grossly deficient in a modern country, no regime, whether it is democratic or authoritarian, has a chance of consolidating fully. Unaccountability and a pervasive lack of effectual linkages between the ruled and the rulers amount to a systemic deficiency of Moldovan politics, and that this failing, unless remedied, will doom any future attempts to make improvements with respect to the key concerns of rule of law and government effectiveness.

When it comes to elite consensus regarding bedrock rules of the game, over and above national unity, a widely shared code of behavior exists in the Moldovan political class. Mutually policed, it consists mostly of negatives that are shunned because experience teaches the high cost of failing to do so. The pitfalls to be avoided encompass flagrantly unconstitutional activities, egregious cheating in elections, attempts to destroy as opposed to harass a rival political party,20 use of the courts to throw opponents in jail, and intimate prying into fellow politicians’ financial activities and connections. The code has not yet reached the point of deep moral belief, but this does not drastically threaten the stability of the political system. Depending on the election results, mutual distrust of the political parties' supporters and allegations of election manipulation by the authorities generate conflicts with a potential for political destabilisation. The realities of the modernisation period created new negative clichés for the perception of the Republic of Moldova, both internally, by the citizens, and abroad: the poorest country in Europe, exporting cheap labour force, a source and a transit country for illegal migration and trafficking in human beings, one of the highest "failed states index"

There is a gaping disconnect between national elites and ordinary people. Conversations with politicians, government officials, and civil society leaders at the central level demonstrate a startling lack of dialogue with, and regard for, the needs, concerns, and interests of citizens. A number candidly acknowledge that the two strata have different agendas and were dismissive of the average citizens’ focus on survival and their ability to comprehend or care about other matters. Few leaders pursue active engagement with any kind of defined constituency, seeing legalistic formalities – such as the requirement to make draft legislation available online for comment – as a primary and sufficient consultation method. These conversations were mirrored at the local level, where citizens confirm the perception that political figures care about their own interests rather than a greater public good. Polls indicate similar findings: in the April–May barometer of public opinion by the IPP, 76 percent of respondents answered “no” to the question “Does the people’s will rule in the Republic of Moldova?”

Moldova's government was controlled by an unstable but decidedly pro-Western coalition government. It was a successful participant in the European Union's Eastern Partnership program and had been granted a visa-free travel regime with the bloc. In 2016, however, former Socialist Party head and outspokenly pro-Russian politician Igor Dodon was elected president of Moldova. In June 2019, Dodon struck an agreement with Moldova's pro-Western parties to form a coalition against oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc. This unlikely alliance of pro-Western and pro-Russian forces was broken in November 2019 when the Socialist Party filed a successful no-confidence motion against the coalition government – voting together with Plahotnuic's party to oust the coalition government. Dodon was able to install technocrat Ion Chicu as prime minister and more than half of Chicu's cabinet seats were filled by former Dodon advisers.

Incumbent President Nicolae Timofti, who was elected in 2012, completed his term in March 2016. He would stay on afterwards as acting president until parliament set a date for direct presidential elections. Lawmakers had up to two months to do that. Protesters have been demanding early elections, a move that would favor pro-Moscow opposition parties.

Moldova voted 30 October 2016 in its first direct election presidential election since the 1990s. The vote could move the former Soviet republic closer to the European Union or to closer relations with Russia. Election authorities declared the vote valid after the turnout reached the minimum eligibility requirement of one-third. The favorite of the nine candidates running for president was Igor Dodon, a 41-year-old pro-Moscow political figure who heads the Socialist Party and who has taken advantage of widespread dissatisfaction with the pro-European government, which has been in office since 2009.

Dodon, a 41-year-old economist, had said he wants to throw out Chisinau's 2014 EU Association Agreement and join the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union. Metropolian Vladimir of the Moldovan Orthodox Church publicly backed Dodon in a sermon on October 28 -- the first time in years that the church has waded into electoral politics at this level. Dodon's election campaign was boosted by tapping into the popular anger about corruption under the pro-European government that came to power in 2009 - particularly over the estimated $1 billion (923 million euros) that went missing from Moldovan banks before 2014 parliamentary elections.

Pro-Moscow candidate Igor Dodon of the Socialist Party won 48.7 percent, but he needed to win an outright majority to avoid a runoff on November 13. Dodon's main pro-EU challenger, Maia Sandu of the Party for Action and Solidarity, had 37.9 percent. Sandu, a former education minister and head of the Party for Action and Solidarity, wants instead to build on Brussels' Association Agreement The Our Party candidate, Dmitri Ciubasenco, was far behind with 6 percent of the votes. Turnout was almost 49 percent -- well above the 33 percent mark needed to make the election valid.

Dodon declared victory in the 13 November 2016 presidential runoff. With nearly all the votes counted in the former Soviet republic, Dodon, who campaigned on promises to restore closer ties with Russia, earned about 55 percent of the vote, well ahead of pro-European rival Maya Sandu. He pledged to foster good relations with Moldova's neighbors, Romania and Ukraine. Such appeasement gestures, however, may face stiff resistance in Kyiv by many who object to Dodon's support for Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. The former economy minister - who served under a communist government between 2006 and 2009 - called for deeper ties and increased trade with Moscow.

Igor Dodon was sworn in as Moldova's new president on December 23, calling for unity in the divided country and pledging to maintain Moldova's neutrality. The inaugural ceremony at the Palace of the Republic in Chisinau was attended by dignitaries from Russia, Belarus, Hungary and other European Union and former Soviet states. "A union of both banks of the Dniester River is a primary objective of my tenure," he said. "I would like to address those who had voted for other parties: let's descend from the barricades and rally together for the sake of a better future. All of us -- the Moldovans, the Russians, the Ukrainians, and the Gagauz, are all citizens of one country."

The parliamentary elections in Moldova would be held under the mixed electoral system, Moldovan Parliament President Andrian Candu said 20 July 2017. “The election will be held in late 2018 under the mixed electoral system. This is a new beginning in Moldova’s political life. We are fulfilling the promise which many parties made to voters but failed to keep. We did what others should have done. We hope that this will lead to a change of political class and that members of parliament will be closer to the people, will be more incorruptible and responsible to voters,” Candu told a news conference at the parliament after the legislature passed a bill amending the country’s electoral law.

Hundreds of people have marched in Moldova's capital to protest against the controversial new electoral law. Participants at the September 17 rally in Chisinau were waving flags of Moldova and the European Union. Some of them condemned the country’s Russia-friendly president, Igor Dodon, for "selling the country to Moscow." The demonstration was organized by two opposition parties: the Dignity and Truth Platform and the Party of Action and Solidarity. The bill introducing a mixed electoral system was approved by lawmakers and signed into law by Dodon in July despite mass protests in Chisinau and criticism from the EU and the United States.

On 19 December 2017, Democratic Party of Moldova (Partidul Democrat din Moldova, PDM) leader Vlad Plahotniuc announced a cabinet reshuffle “to improve the efficiency” of the cabinet.

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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:05:05 ZULU