Moldova: Opposition's victory in early election as "historic"
A Moldovan paper, Jurnal de Chisinau, describes Opposition's victory in early election as "historic"
The four opposition parties that managed to win 53 out of 101 parliamentary seats in the 29 July early parliamentary election have achieved a "historic victory" against an "anachronic and revanchist Communist regime", a Moldovan pro-opposition newspaper has said. Yet, this victory would have been impossible without the large-scale protest rallies staged by young people against the rigging of the 5 April parliamentary election in early April, the paper says. It describes as a "personal political tragedy" of acting President Vladimir Voronin the result achieved by his Communist Party on 29 July which was far worse than the one on 5 April. By casting ballots for non-Communist parties, the Moldovan electorate voted for closer cooperation with the West rather than the East, the paper added. The following is the text of an article by Petru Bogatu published under the headline "A historic U-turn took place" in the pro-opposition newspaper Jurnal de Chisinau on 31 July; subheadings are as published:
The pyramid has turned upside down starting today. The authorities are now the opposition. And vice versa: the opposition can take over the power.
A six-month electoral match
The Communist Party has lost, in spite of the fact that, mathematically, it gained by a lot more votes than any of the opposition parties.
In the 29 July early parliamentary election the Communist Party received 44.69 per cent of votes, the Liberal Democratic Party, 16.57 per cent, the Liberal Party, 14.68 per cent, the Democratic Party, 12.54 per cent, and the Our Moldova Alliance, 7.35 per cent. The election was called after MPs who entered parliament on 5 April failed to elect the president.
Yet, politics defeats mathematics. In an electoral competition, the largest number of points does not ensure the victory. Using sport terminology, the Communists ended in the first place but, yet, failed to win the championship.
Although the opposition achieved a narrow victory, this was a deserved victory gained in the longest electoral match ever conducted in Moldova's short but troubled history. The match, which started back in January 2009, lasted at least half a year and it ended in late July with a historic triumph of democracy against an anachronic and revanchist communist regime.
Now, when I am writing this article, the last two per cent of the votes, cast by Moldovans living and working abroad, are yet to be counted. But they already cannot influence the election outcome. Given the fact that, traditionally, Moldovans from abroad have been massively supporting democratic parties, the opposition stands the chance of winning one more mandate to the detriment of the authorities.
Vlad Filat's party achieves spectacular results
Although it is obvious that we could overlook some details now that Bessarabia [the name of the current territory of the Republic of Moldova when it was part of the Russian empire between 1812 and 1918] is facing such a dramatic but at the same time intense political event, some of these details cannot be ignored as they have come as an absolute surprise. They are to be analyzed later but, for the time being, let's at least name them.
First and foremost, a spectacular increase in the popularity rating of the Liberal Democratic Popular Party (PLDM) led by Vlad Filat is impressive. The PLDM becomes the strongest party of the democratic opposition, a development which no opinion poll has predicted. The good result achieved by the Democratic Party and a slight decrease in the rating of the Our Moldova Alliance were predictable, therefore, they have not surprised anybody.
Second, the turnout should be also taken into consideration. In spite of all pessimistic forecasts about huge absenteeism, the electorate mobilized in an exemplary way. On 29 July, the turnout was 58.77 per cent, up from 57.55 per cent on 5 April.
No July without April
It is now absolutely obvious that the democrats wouldn't have achieved a triumph in July without the protest rallies staged by young people in April [against the alleged rigging of the 5 April election]. The anti-Communist rallies were not useless. They have raised people's awareness and waken up drowsy voters, obliging them to take action. Of course, this fact reduced the chances of the ruling party.
At the same time, the popular revolt has scared Voronin as it showed him how odious his regime was in the eyes of the young generation. It seems that this truth had such a great impact on the Communist leader that he committed several monumental blunders which turned out to be fatal for the Communist Party.
This means that the victory of the opposition was prepared between the spring social disturbances and the summer early election. During this period, the Communist Party's irreversible disintegration seems to have started. Yet, the party is still on its feet, and this obliges the opposition parties to unite in order to be stronger. Therefore, we have an impression that the three liberal parties will try to find common language with the Democratic Party in order to create a post-electoral coalition in the new parliament and form the government.
Everything depends on Lupu
As expected, former [Communist] speaker Marian Lupu is now in a very advantageous position. Regardless of what somebody may say, the Democratic Party's role in defeating the Communist Party was irrefutable. If Lupu had not existed, he should have been invented. Therefore, it is not surprising that in the current situation, the Democratic Party leader can play the role of a triple joker. On the one hand, between the Democratic Party and the three liberal parties, on the other hand, between the united opposition and the currently ruling party. And third, between the Democratic Party and the Communist Party.
Theoretically, following a bargain, Marian Lupu could save the Communists in their desperate efforts to cling to power. If the Democratic Party allies with the Communist Party, then the two will have exactly the 61 seats needed to elect the president. Yet, this scenario seems very improbable. If he [Lupu] decides to side with the Communists, then his very heterogeneous team would split apart.
Anyway, in these circumstances, Marian Lupu's political weight is on the rise. All the parties are at the mercy of the Democratic Party leader who, therefore, has the chance of taking over one of the highest state positions.
A catastrophe for Voronin
It is absolutely clear for everyone that today Voronin is experiencing a personal political tragedy. For him, the result of the 29 July election is a catastrophe. Yet, the defeat of the Communist Party is his "masterpiece".
Because he lacked ability to solve the parliamentary crisis that the country faced after the 5 April election, when the Communist Party had the power in its pocket, the Communist leader embarked on a new electoral fight that he lamentably lost. The Communists will not forgive him for this.
Thus, the 29 July early election has put an end to the political career of the still acting president. His collapse will cause a chain reaction that, probably, will lead to the disintegration of the Communist Party.
People chose West to detriment of East
The outcome of Wednesday's election also has a geopolitical significance. We will not exaggerate at all if we say that the Moldovan electorate thwarted a Russian-Chinese conspiracy against the EU and NATO.
According to some Russian influential experts, the Kremlin reportedly asked China to add 1bn dollars to Russia's 500m-dollar credit to stop EU's and NATO's eastward expansion and to keep Chisinau in the East's area of influence.
It is well known that ahead of the 29 July election, being disappointed by Vladimir Voronin's rude violations of legislation, Western financial institutions froze all their credit projects in Moldova. Russia decided to take advantage of this situation. Helped by China, it tried to corrupt the Communist government with 1.5bn dollars to undermine EU's and USA's efforts to promote democracy in the post-Soviet era. But they failed. As a result, the 29 July vote brings a historic U-turn of Chisinau towards the West.