Moldova's Parliamentary Elections To Determine Direction Of Country's Development
Sumaira FH 2 months ago Fri 25th January 2019 | 09:32 PM
The campaign for Moldova's February 24 parliamentary elections starts on Friday, with the future of the country's development for the next four years hanging in the balance
The main power struggle will, as usual, unfold between the "right" and "left" political forces.
The Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), which was headed by Igor Dodon before he was elected as the country's president, advocates for rapprochement with Russia. According to polls, the party stands to win 45 seats in the 101-seat parliament. At the same time, Dodon has not ruled out the possibility of early elections if the socialists do not get a majority or form a coalition.
The two right-wing forces, the ruling Democratic Party and the ACUM bloc, are determined to bring the country closer to the West, but their positions differ on a number of other issues. According to polls, each stand to win about 20 seats in parliament.
Meanwhile, the elections will for the first time be held according to a mixed electoral system, which implies that 50 deputies will be elected based on party lists, and 51 will be elected in single-member Constituencies.
The election threshold will be 6 percent for parties, and 8 percent for political alliances. Previously, this threshold was at least 9 percent for political alliances that consisted of two parties, and 11 percent if it was made up of three or more. Independent candidates can be nominated only in single-member constituencies. In addition, for the first time, 2 seats in parliament will be allocated for representatives of Transnistria and three for candidates from the diaspora
The main rival political forces support opposing directions for the country's foreign policy.
"In Moldova, there are three factions that have a certain quota of support. The voters will be offered programs that have a pronounced geopolitical focus, but it will be blurred in the context of economic well-being," Moldovan political scientist Corneliu Churya told Sputnik.
In his opinion, the Party of Socialists, which supports rapprochement with Russia, could get more than 50 seats in the parliament and form a majority. In their election program, the Socialists talk about the importance of cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the European Union, about the protection of traditional family values and strengthening the position of the country's president.
However, the right-wing forces are divided into two opposing groups. The ruling Democratic Party has repeatedly stressed that it sees no other path for the country other than European integration and even tried to enshrine this in the constitution � the bill failed to receive the necessary support. The Democrats hope to get enough votes to pass these amendments after the elections.
The other right-wing actor is the ACUM bloc. Its leaders are also determined to establish friendly relations with the West, but they advocate the fight against oligarchs, among whom, according to them, is former leader of the Democratic Party Vladimir Plahotniuc.
So far, none of these political groups have all the leverage to come out as a clear front-runner. At the same time, however, the parties have repeatedly stressed that they do not see an opportunity to enter a coalition with anyone.
According to opinion polls, six political parties are likely to enter parliament: the PSRM, led by former Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii; the ACUM bloc, which includes the Action and Solidarity Party led by Maia Sandu and the Dignity and Truth Platform, led by Andrei Nastase; the Democratic Party, chaired by Plahotniuc; the Shor party, headed by the mayor of Moldovan city of Orhei, Ilan Shor; the former president Vladimir Voronin's Communist Party; and the Our Party under the leadership of businessman Renato Usatii.
According to the sociological study Pre-election Barometer, which was presented by analyst company iData, the pro-Dodon Party of Socialists is leading in the campaign. Experts believe that it can get 45 mandates out of 101.
The ACUM bloc, which has never previously participated in the parliamentary elections, is stands to win 25 seats in parliament, beating the ruling Democratic Party, which, according to experts, is likely to receive about 20 seats.
The Shor party and the Our Party have also never participated in the parliamentary elections but could get about tree mandates each. The oldest party in the country, the Communist Party, may also only count on getting three seats, the study shows.
Opinion polls over the last six months have shown that about 25 percent of citizens have not decided on who to vote for. Political analyst Churya said that it was these citizens who could influence the outcome of the election.
"There is a certain intrigue, and that is the point of the election campaign � to give the undecided the chance to make their choice. It is those people who will influence the final outcome," he said.
The political scientist also noted that some citizens would make their choice on the basis of the proposals in campaign programs.
"The undecided will tip the scales one way or another," Churya stressed.
Moreover, since 2009, none of the parties have been able to receive enough votes to form a parliamentary majority. Left-wing parties in Moldova have traditionally received more support, but were unable to agree on a coalition. That is why right-wing alliances and coalitions, which promote pro-Western policies, have come to power. Under their leadership, Moldova concluded an association agreement and free trade agreement with the European Union.
These developments have had a positive effect on the country's economy. Russia is one of the main markets for Moldovan products. Fearing that the market of the Commonwealth of Independent States will receive goods that are re-exported from the European Union, Russia imposed a temporary ban on certain types of Moldovan products. Nevertheless, Russia now ranks first among the countries where Moldovan exports its agricultural products.