Moldova

Last update: 3 days ago

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe, unemployment is high, and the country is heavily dependent upon remittances from thousands of Moldovans working abroad. A large part of the Moldovan population is Romanian-speaking, although there are also Russian and Ukrainian minorities. The communists had been the ruling party in the former Soviet state from 1998 until 2009. Since 2009 Moldova became more pro-western. Moldova currently aspires to join the European Union, and has implemented the first three-year Action Plan within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), and has signed a far-reaching Association Agreement with the EU in 2014. Since the parliamentary elections in 2014, this pro-European Union agenda has continued to exist as the pro-European parties gained a majority of 55 seats in parliament, despite the Socialist Party’s victory of the election. However, the possibility that Moldova becomes a serious candidate to be a European member state in the near future is slim. This is partly due to the deterrent political cooperation within the government and the most dominant and urgent domestic conflict over the pro-Russian breakaway region Transnistria that must be resolved before Moldova can strengthen its ties with the European Union.

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Map of Moldova

Short facts

Population:
3,554,150 million (World Bank 2015 est.)
Governmental Type:
Republic
Ruling Coalition:
"Pro-European Coalition": Liberal-Democratic Party of Moldova, Democratic Party of Moldova
Last Elections:
30 October and 13 November 2016 (presidential elections)
Next Elections:
November 2018 (parliamentary elections)
Sister Parties:
Democratic Party of Moldova
Image of Igor Dodon

Igor Dodon

President

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Image of Pavel Filip

Pavel Filip

Prime Minister

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Political Situation

Moldova has experienced a few political crisis over the past few years which causes instability and mistrust of the population in the authorities. The most recent was a political scandal over the falsification of now former PM Chiril Gaburici's diplomas, who decided to resign from his position on 15 June, 2015. A few months earlier a banking scandal brought people to the streets for mass demonstrations. In April 2015 it was discovered by the Central Bank of Moldova, that the three biggest banks of Moldova were involved in several financial transactions that led to the disappearance of sums of money worth a total of 1 billion dollars, which is 15% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Moldova. An investigation was started, and it is not clear whether politicians were involved in this, although some analysts say that the fraud was of a massive scale. 2014 parliamentary election also brought political instability. Three pro-European parties failed to form a coalition for a majority government. Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) and the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) failed to come to an agreement with Liberal Party (LP), hence the minority government was formed which was backed up by the Communist Party. Only on 30 July, 2015, a new pro-European majority government was sworn in ending the uncertain political discourse. The political situation continued to be rather unstable since 2010 after the Constitutional Referendum. Political crisis in 2013 when the PM Vlad Filat was dismissed by motion of censure of the Parliament has also severely complicated the situation in the country. However, Moldova's government, regardless of the unstable political conditions, managed to sign the planned far-reaching Association Agreement with the EU in the fall of 2014 and remains committed to its chosen pro-European course.

However, it should also be noted that since the pro-democratic parties came to power in 2009, there has been some progress in areas of individual freedoms and democratization.

Constitutional referendum 2010

As the political deadlock continued on 5 September 2010 Moldova’s citizens were asked in a referendum whether Moldova’s president should be elected by popular vote in the future, instead of the current vote by parliament. The turnout of the referendum, however, was not enough for it to be valid. According to the Moldovan Central Election Commission only 30.29 percent eligible voters cast their votes, while 33.33 percent was needed. In accordance with Moldovan regulation, interim president Mihai Ghimpu dissolved the parliament and called for early parliamentary elections on 21 November 2010. Ghimpu blamed the low turnout on the Communist Party, which called for a boycott of the vote. The pro-Western Alliance for European Integration coalition was hoping for a positive outcome of the referendum. In the run-up to the vote the coalition had campaigned for the change as a way to break the political deadlock that left Moldova without a full-fledged president for 18 months.

Gender

In the latest 2014 parliamentary elections the percentage of women candidates made up 32%. 21 women were elected to parliament, which makes up 20.79%. Women are still underrepresented in Moldovan politics, however, there’s a slight increase of representation since 2010 general election, when only 19 (18.8%) women were elected to parliament. Liberals turned out to be the worst at promoting women, while Communists promoted the most female candidates. In 2011 local elections, most political parties met a self-imposed 30% quota for female candidates for local council seats, although not for the regional council or mayoral level. In local elections in 2011, 18.5% of local mayors elected were women. In addition, a parliamentary initiative to amend the Election Code to provide for a 30% quota for women candidates on party lists was at the stage of public consultations. Despite some progress, more efforts are needed to promote women to key positions.

Across Moldova, women are underrepresented as voters and in leading positions in the government, politics, business and civil society – despite their proven abilities as leaders and agents of change, and their right to participate equally in democratic governance. Women's representation in Moldovan politics and decision-making is below international benchmarks. Women belonging to certain minority groups appear to face discriminatory practices that affect their free access to public space.  The Law on Ensuring Equality, which came in at the beginning of 2013, does not include sexual orientation, gender identity, or state of health as grounds for discrimination. The OSCE Gender Advisor noted that the law preventing domestic violence is poorly implemented in practice. Human trafficking remains a serious problem as well. The country is a major source for women and girls trafficked abroad for the purposes of forced prostitution, mainly to Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union, Turkey, Romania, Southeast Europe, the Middle East, and the European Union.

Elections

Electoral system

Moldova is a parliamentary representative democratic republic. According to its Constitution, the parliament is the supreme representative organ and the single legislative authority of the state. The parliament is an unicameral assembly with 101 seats whose members are elected by proportional representation every four years. To enter the Moldovan Parliament, independent candidates must obtain 3% of the total number of votes. The political parties must pass a 6% threshold, and the electoral blocs that consist of two parties at least 9%. The electoral blocs consisting of more than two political parties must receive at least 12% of the votes. The “lost votes” of the parties that did not pass the threshold are subsequently distributed proportionally among those who did.

The President (head of state) is elected by the Parliament for a four-year term, and is limited to two terms. To be elected as president at least three fifths of the MPs, or 61 deputies, must vote in favour of the candidate. If the parliament cannot agree about a presidential candidate, the parliament must be dissolved and early elections must be held.

Parliamentary elections

On 30 November 2014 parliamentary elections were held in Moldova. Official results of the election were announced on 5 December. Almost 56 per cent of the population turned up for voting. The election was a victory for the pro-European parties and they have now a majority in the 101-seat parliament with 45 per cent of the votes or 55 seats in parliament. The Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM) gained 20.16 per cent (23 seats) of the votes, the Democratic Party (PDM) gained 15.18 percent (19 seats) of the votes, and the Liberal Party (PL) gained 9.67 per cent of the votes (13 seats). However, the biggest winner of the election is the Socialist Party (PSRM), which took a surprising lead with 20.51 per cent of the votes or 25 seats in parliament. The Communist Party (PCRM) received a significant loss and went from 42 to 21 seats in parliament. 

Just days before the elections, the pro-Russian Homeland Party, the “Patria,” had been removed from the election by the election authorities of Moldova, the Central Elections Commission (CEC). The CEC said it decided to withdraw the party from the polls, because the Homeland Party had received financial support from a foreign country, referring most likely to Russia. As a reaction, the leader of the party, Renato Usatyi, stated that this decision of the CEC is politically motivated and left the country for Russia. He added that the money paid into the party’s account (about 424,000 Euros) was given unbeknownst to the movement by an almost unfamiliar offshore company. It was expected that if the Homeland Party was admitted to the election, it would have received 13 per cent of the votes.

The results of the election ensure the probable continuation of Moldova’s integration with the European Union within a free-trade zone, despite the critique of the pro-Russian parties. Due to the narrow majority of the pro-European parties it will be difficult to uphold and endorse a pro-European Union agenda with the presence of pro-Russian parties in parliament. The election results also demonstrated deep divisions within Moldovan society on the question of the country’s external course. 

A coalition was not formed until 23 January 2015. The negotiations were originally between the leaders of the three pro-European parties, the PLDM, PDM and PL. Nevertheless, on 23 January 2015, the leaders of the parties announced that they were unable to come to an agreement with the PL. As a result, the PDM and the PLDM signed an agreement to form a minority governing coalition. In this Cabinet the PLDM will hold 10 seats and the PDM 8 seats. Moreover, the PLDM will name the Prime Minister and the PDM can name the parliament chair. As to the ministries, the PLDM gets the Ministry of Finance, Justice, Interior, Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Defense, Agriculture and Food Industry, Environment, Education and Health. The PDM gets the Ministry of Economy, Reintegration, Regional Development and Construction, Transport and Road Infrastructure, Culture, Labor, ICT and Youth and Sport. The minority coalition will have to gather support from opposition MPs for each of its proposals.

Official elections results:

Party

Votes

%

Seats

Party of Socialists

327,910

20.51

25

Liberal Democratic Party

322,188

20.16

23

Party of Communists

279,372

17.48

21

Democratic Party of Moldova

252,489

15.80

19

Liberal Party

154,507

9.67

13

 

 

Presidential elections

On 13 November 2016, in the second round of presidential elections, Igor Dodon was elected new Head of State. An openly pro-Russian Dodon (Socialist Party and former economy minister in a communist 2006-2009 government) acquired 52.29% of votes against the pro-European candidate Maia Sandu (Action and Solidarity Party and former World Bank official and education minister in 2012-2015), who received 47.71%. Such a result could influence the ongoing EU integration efforts of Moldova. Dodon plans to conduct a referendum on withdrawing from the Association Agreement with the EU and joining the Eurasian Customs Union instead. Good relations with Romania and Ukraine have been claimed to be of interest to Dodon as well, even though he supported the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Sandu, in her turn, supported the withdrawal of several thousands of Russian “peacekeeping” troops from the separatist Trans-Dniester region.

International observers

Arta Dade, head of the mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE ODIHR) declared the fist round of presidential elections (30 October 2016) open, transparent and well-organized. Among the disadvantages observers noted widespread abuse of state resources, biased media coverage and a lack of transparency in campaign finance. Also a number of gaps and ambiguities remain: collection and verification of candidate support signatures, the financing and conduct of the campaign, effective electoral dispute resolution, enforcement of media provisions, and the conduct of a possible second round of presidential elections.

In the second round (13 November 2016) OSCE ODIHR mission saw competitiveness and respect for fundamental freedoms. The campaign, featuring televised debates, allowed the two candidates to address voters directly. However, increasingly polarized media coverage, harsh and intolerant rhetoric, and continued instances of abuse of administrative resources detracted from the process. Complaints, mostly related to campaign finance, were not resolved in a timely or consistent manner. Technical preparations for the second round were generally administered in a professional manner and, overall, election day procedures were positively assessed. Despite some efforts to prepare for a high turnout in specific polling stations abroad and for voters from Transdniestria, many citizens were unable to vote because the ballots allocated to these polling stations proved insufficient.

Political parties

Social Democratic Parties

Logo of Democratic Party of Moldova

Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM)

Party Leader: Vlad Plahotniuc

http://www.pdm.md

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Other Parties

Party of Communists of Republic of Moldova (PCRM)

Party Leader: Vladimir Voronin

http://www.pcrm.md

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Logo of Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova

Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM)

Party Leader: Vlad Filat

http://www.pldm.md

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Liberal Party (PL)

Party Leader: Mihai Ghimpu

http://www.pl.md

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Logo of Liberal Reformists Party

Liberal Reformists Party (PLR)

Party Leader: Ion Hadârcă

http://www.plr.md

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Logo of Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48841833)

Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM)

Party Leader: Igor Dodon

http://www.socialistii.md

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Biographies

Image of Igor Dodon

Igor Dodon

President

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Image of Pavel Filip

Pavel Filip

Prime Minister

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Image of Andrian Candu

Andrian Candu

Speaker of the Parliament of Moldova

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Image of Vladimir Filat

Vladimir Filat

Former Prime Minister of Moldova, leader Liberal Democratic Party

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Image of Mihai Ghimpu

Mihai Ghimpu

Former President of Moldova and current leader of the Liberal Party

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Image of Vladimir Voronin

Vladimir Voronin

Former President of Moldova and current leader of the Communist Party

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Image of Vladimir Plahotniuc

Vladimir Plahotniuc

Leader of the Democratic Party

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