Moldova’s ruling Communist party has almost certainly won yesterday’s parliamentary election. Exit polls put the pro European party, headed by President Vladimir Voronin, on 47 per cent of the vote. Moldovan MPs appoint the president but the Communist party must take 61 of the 101 seats on offer to secure a second term for Voronin.
Seeking close ties with Russia and the West, the Democratic Moldova bloc, headed by Serafim Urechean, appears to have taken 28 per cent of the vote. The pro-Romanian Christian Democrats are in third place with eight per cent. Impoverished Moldova appears to be becoming the latest former Soviet state to wrest itself free of Russia through the ballot box.
All three main parties campaigned on a pro-Western platform, the only difference was the degree of distance they want from Moscow. The Kremlin has some 1,500 troops in the breakaway region of Transdniestria. Vladimir Voronin says Russian support there is a threat to Moldova.
Voronin’s previous electoral campaign was very different. Then he promised several initiatives favourable to Moscow, like making Russian the second language, for example. Now he is looking in the other direction, urging closer European integration to capitalise on the wave of pro-Western sentiment sweeping across parts of the former Soviet Union. Like Georgia and Ukraine, Moldova seems to be looking for a break with the past.