Pro-Russian movement throws support behind Tarlev's party

The sociopolitical movement Ravnopravie (Equity), headed by the outspoken pro-Russian leader Valery Klimenko, announced today its support for the Moldovan Centrist Union (UCM) and its president, ex-prime minister Vasile Tarlev, Info-Prim Neo reports.
Info-Prim Neo, 26 February 2009, 18:50

2009-02-26/16:07/ Chisinau (IPN) Klimenko has told a news conference today that the decision comes after "a thorough analysis of the pre-election situation". He explained the choice for UCM by saying that its electoral platform best meets Ravnopravie members' wishes: a stronger state, stronger ties with Russia, a stronger position for the Russian language in Moldova, and a fair settlement for the Transnistrian issue.

Earlier Valery Klimenko stated that Ravnopravie would participate all by itself in the elections. Now Klimenko says that they walk alongside Tarlev's party "so that not a single vote of the Russian-speaking electorate gets in the hands of the Communists Party (PCRM), the Christian-Democrati c People's Party (PPCD), and the Liberal Party (PL)".

Klimenko stated that his choice was also influenced by the fact that Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Mayor Sergey Lujkov of Moscow praised Vasile Tarlev for his professionalism. "We can't disregard the opinion of such honorable men, who are greatly esteemed by the Russian-speaking population".

Klimenko said he considers Vasile Tarlev to be the best man for the position of Moldova's president, but didn't tell what position he would prefer for himself if UCM wins.

Asked to comment on the press reports that the Kremlin would likely support the PCRM in the April elections, Ravnopravie's leader said that he personally talked with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who assured him that it doesn't matter to Russia which party wins the elections in Moldova, all that matters is that the elections are held in a democratic manner. "I see no reason why I shouldn't believe Lavrov", Klimenko added.

Earlier, two other formations - the Republican People's Party and the Party of the Law and Equity - as well as Governor Mihail Formuzal of Gagauzia, threw their support behind the Centrist Union.