Moldova. According to countryaah, the Communist Party’s long hold on power was broken during the year. The political stagnation was thus replaced by political unrest. Europe’s poorest country was also plagued by the effects of the international financial crisis. It helped communists, according to official data, to win the parliamentary elections in April with almost 50 percent of the vote. It would give 60 out of 100 seats in Parliament. Three opposition parties entered Parliament with demands for market economy and closer to the EU and NATO.
The opposition refused to accept the election result and claimed that there were electoral fraud. Extensive protests were held in Chişinău, where violent riots followed as both the parliament and the presidential palace were stormed and set on fire. Hundreds of people were injured and one person was killed in the rattlesnakes. President Vladimir Voronin claimed that the rattlesnakes were a coup attempt staged by Romania, whose ambassador was expelled. Later, a report from the OSCE showed that the Moldovan security forces had abused and even tortured some of those arrested in connection with the riots.
The opposition got through its demand that the votes be recalculated, which was also supported by the Constitutional Court. But the result was the same with 60 seats for the Communist Party and 40 for the opposition. The three opposition parties boycotted the work of the newly elected parliament and the Communist Party failed to elect a new president after Voronin, who sat for the two permitted terms of office. Prime Minister Zinaida Grecianii was the party’s candidate, but a vote was taken in the 61 seats required for a valid presidential election. When the presidential election failed a second time, the president was forced to announce new elections to Parliament.
Ahead of the recent July election, Western-friendly politician Marian Lupu jumped from the Communist Party and stood at the forefront of the Social Democrats. It helped the Western-friendly parties win the election with a slight overweight in voting and gained 53 seats against the 48 Communists. Vlad Filat, who led the Liberal Democrats, the largest party in the Western-friendly alliance, was at the head of the Alliance for European Integration. It was Filat’s own party with 18 seats and the Liberals with 15, the Democrats with 13 and Our Moldova with 7 who presented a new government program with European integration as the highest priority. However, they failed the presidential election because they did not have the necessary 61 seats.
In September, Voronin left the presidential post, and Parliament’s new President Mihai Ghimpu became acting head of state. Vlad Filat was nominated as new prime minister and his alliance government was approved by Parliament in late September. Presidential elections were scheduled for October but were canceled when the Communists did not announce any candidate and decided to boycott the elections. In December, despite the boycott of the Communists, the presidential election was held. But the government’s candidate did not receive the 61 mandates required, thus re-election to Parliament was awaited.