Question of Power

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					                                                                                      THEWORLDTODAY.ORG MAY 2009
MOLDOVA                                                                                                                             PAGE 13

James Sherr, HEAD, RUSSIA AND EURASIA PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE




Questionof                                                        To most of Europe,
                                                                  the Republic of
                                                                  Moldova has been
                                                                  a zone of

Power                                                             unhappiness
                                                                  rather than
                                                                  interest. Since the
                                                                  election of
                                                                  communist
                                                                  President Vladimir
                                                                  Voronin in 2001,
                                                                  the dominance of
                                                                  governing clans
has further corroded the country’s political and economic life, but not in a way to
make Europe question the government’s democratic credentials. And so it was after
the parliamentary elections of April 5, when the qualified endorsement of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was read without a murmur
by almost everyone except the political opposition in Moldova itself. It worries
about an authoritarian outcome and storm clouds on the international horizon.




t              HE VIOLENT DISTURBANCES ON APRIL
                Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, have shattered
                the complacency. Claims that electoral rolls
                were inflated by four-hundred thousand
                might themselves be overstated. But
                conditions needed to be more scrupulous than
they were. After two terms, President Vladimir Voronin is
obliged to leave office. A new president must be elected by no
fewer than 61 of parliament’s 101 deputies. Neatly, the Central
Election Commission awarded sixty parliamentary mandates
                                                         7 IN




to the communists on the basis of a highly disputable 49.48
                                                                  accusations, which in turn were reinforced in a blunt
                                                                  interview by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov two days later.
      
				
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Description: The exception, the sliver of land on the left bank of the Dniester, had been part of the Russian Empire since 1792, and when Moldova became an independent state in 1991, it was this area, backed by Russian arms, that established itself as the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic. President Traian Basescu's April 14 call to facilitate mass distribution of Romanian passports to Moldovan citizens plays right into the hands of Romania's opponents.
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