The Fellowship of the List

The Republic of Moldova has entered the election campaign under the terror of stupor, nervousness and tension. These have led to a chain reaction growing and extending like a snow ball, which gets bigger as it rolls down the hill.
Petru BOGATU, 11 February 2009, 18:29

At a Speed of 100 per Hour

The arrest of the Christmas Tree, the arbitrariness of the police and of the communist propaganda machinery against their political competitors, the delirious accusations against certain opposition leaders of having ordered the assassination of Rosca, the fight in front of the General Prosecutor's Office, where masked hooligans fiercely beat the participants in a peaceful demonstration throwing them down on the ground - all these complete the picture of a general mess, the image of a helpless village attacked by a pack of mad dogs.

If we add the unexpected decease of the poet Grigore Vieru to this list of misfortunes that have affected our society, we will see that the daily life has added additional atmospheres to the pressure on the voters' heads. Hence the impression that this time the voters are ready for the election race as never. Not accidentally our Diaspora in the West for the first time insistently demands the corresponding conditions for them to be able to vote on April 5, 2009.

On the other hand, the parties also have rushed to register at a speed of 100 per hour. As a result, around 9 political formations got registered in the fight for seats in the Parliament just two days after the official launch of the election campaign.

I would not like to rush into comparisons, but it is already possible to say that political parties seem to be even more motivated and mobilized in 2009 than they were four years ago, when one could have the impression that the opposition was searching hard but still could not find themselves. In fact, the election competitors with relatively high chances to get over the vote threshold have already fended the first places on the ballot paper for themselves, thus doing a favor to the voters who will not have to waste their time searching for the favorite party.

I suppose, however, that the voters are still repelled because of betrayals on the part of certain opposition parties and because of lies and empty promises made by the communists. Therefore, the upcoming elections are still an equation with many unknowns. For example, we do not know whether the undetermined people will vote. It is hard to say whether the opposition will be able to recover their positions lost as a result of the split imposed by an unfair law, the denigration campaign launched by the communists, and the limited access to the media.

The only certainty at this stage is the lists registered by the main election rivals. Even a brief analysis of these lists says a lot about the plans and the political power of the competitors.

CPRM Shows Signs of Weakness

As expected, there are no old guard representatives on the first five places of the CPRM (Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova) list. The only exception is, of course, Vladimir Voronin.

It has been less expected that Marian Lupu will keep his place in the electoral top of the governing party, as he seemed to have fallen in disgrace lately. Obviously, the Communist Party could not ignore the fact that the Parliament Speaker was very popular and could attract additional votes. This concession made to an undesirable politician is surely an indicator of weakness. The CPRM feels that they are losing ground and are afraid of getting less electoral points.

However, the fact that Marian Lupu is second on the list does not guarantee him a high position after the elections. He might be removed just like Andrei Neguta was retrograded back in 2001. Although Neguta had been the second on the list and was considered to be the right hand of Voronin, he was eliminated from the party administration and sent away as an ambassador shortly after the elections.

There is something else. The fact that Voronin has filled the list with anonymous persons proves that he wants to keep control of the party after the elections as well. Unknown people who do not have any authority among the communists are, of course, easier to manipulate than the mastodons with experience in evil doing.

The Grigore Vieru Effect

As for the opposition parties, we can say that the LP (Liberal Party) list has exceeded all expectations. The liberals have crushed all insinuations that they do not have other heavies in the party apart from the redoubtable locomotive called Dorin Chirtoaca who pulls the whole train. Mihai Ghimpu's formation has proven that it has both team and value. The veterans of the national liberation movement Anatol Salaru and Ion Hadarca, the economist Vadim Cojocaru, the municipal counselor Corina Fusu and others are able to ensure stability and confidence for the party in the election race.

However, an electoral list is remarkable by famous names, celebrities with a good reputation who could add value rather than new people. From this perspective, the LDPM (Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova) has an advantage. The team consisting of Vlad Filat, Alexandru Tanase, Mihai Godea, Vitalie Nagacevschi or Iurie Leanca can form a functional government any time.

It also has to be mentioned that the LDPM and the OMA (Our Moldova Alliance), which are closer to the center than the LP, have started moving to the right recently under the pressure of events. This is caused by the lately increased force of pro-Romanian voters, which was proven by the thousands of people who came to give the last honors to Grigore Vieru. This is why people like Mihai Cimpoi, Iurie Colesnic or Calin Vieru have appeared on top of electoral lists. So, the disappearance of the poet has undoubtedly resulted in political effects.

Deficiencies of the Party Democracy

Still, the opposition does not have any reasons to be proud of themselves yet. The scandals raised by people who are not happy with their place on the list prove that democratic formations also have serious deficiencies as far as party democracy is concerned. They have not managed to get rid of the consequences of an extremely centralized administration yet, therefore, any decision made on the top can become a bomb that can explode at any moment.

This is why the decision-making process has to be modernized on the basis of European principles. In Great Britain, Norway, Sweden or Israel, for instance, people get on electoral lists in the conditions of maximum transparency and after primary elections carried out both within party branches and at the central level.

Therefore, there is a need for change both in the central administration and in parties, because only the formations that operate based on democratic principles can produce democratic policy.