Moldova has experienced a few political crisis over the past few years which causes instability and mistrust of the population in the authorities. The most recent was a political scandal over the falsification of now former PM Chiril Gaburici's diplomas, who decided to resign from his position on 15 June, 2015. A few months earlier a banking scandal brought people to the streets for mass demonstrations. In April 2015 it was discovered by the Central Bank of Moldova, that the three biggest banks of Moldova were involved in several financial transactions that led to the disappearance of sums of money worth a total of 1 billion dollars, which is 15% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Moldova. An investigation was started, and it is not clear whether politicians were involved in this, although some analysts say that the fraud was of a massive scale. 2014 parliamentary election also brought political instability. Three pro-European parties failed to form a coalition for a majority government. Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) and the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) failed to come to an agreement with Liberal Party (LP), hence the minority government was formed which was backed up by the Communist Party. Only on 30 July, 2015, a new pro-European majority government was sworn in ending the uncertain political discourse. The political situation continued to be rather unstable since 2010 after the Constitutional Referendum. Political crisis in 2013 when the PM Vlad Filat was dismissed by motion of censure of the Parliament has also severely complicated the situation in the country. However, Moldova's government, regardless of the unstable political conditions, managed to sign the planned far-reaching Association Agreement with the EU in the fall of 2014 and remains committed to its chosen pro-European course.
However, it should also be noted that since the pro-democratic parties came to power in 2009, there has been some progress in areas of individual freedoms and democratization.
Constitutional referendum 2010
As the political deadlock continued on 5 September 2010 Moldova’s citizens were asked in a referendum whether Moldova’s president should be elected by popular vote in the future, instead of the current vote by parliament. The turnout of the referendum, however, was not enough for it to be valid. According to the Moldovan Central Election Commission only 30.29 percent eligible voters cast their votes, while 33.33 percent was needed. In accordance with Moldovan regulation, interim president Mihai Ghimpu dissolved the parliament and called for early parliamentary elections on 21 November 2010. Ghimpu blamed the low turnout on the Communist Party, which called for a boycott of the vote. The pro-Western Alliance for European Integration coalition was hoping for a positive outcome of the referendum. In the run-up to the vote the coalition had campaigned for the change as a way to break the political deadlock that left Moldova without a full-fledged president for 18 months.
In the latest 2014 parliamentary elections the percentage of women candidates made up 32%. 21 women were elected to parliament, which makes up 20.79%. Women are still underrepresented in Moldovan politics, however, there’s a slight increase of representation since 2010 general election, when only 19 (18.8%) women were elected to parliament. Liberals turned out to be the worst at promoting women, while Communists promoted the most female candidates. In 2011 local elections, most political parties met a self-imposed 30% quota for female candidates for local council seats, although not for the regional council or mayoral level. In local elections in 2011, 18.5% of local mayors elected were women. In addition, a parliamentary initiative to amend the Election Code to provide for a 30% quota for women candidates on party lists was at the stage of public consultations. Despite some progress, more efforts are needed to promote women to key positions.
Across Moldova, women are underrepresented as voters and in leading positions in the government, politics, business and civil society – despite their proven abilities as leaders and agents of change, and their right to participate equally in democratic governance. Women's representation in Moldovan politics and decision-making is below international benchmarks. Women belonging to certain minority groups appear to face discriminatory practices that affect their free access to public space. The Law on Ensuring Equality, which came in at the beginning of 2013, does not include sexual orientation, gender identity, or state of health as grounds for discrimination. The OSCE Gender Advisor noted that the law preventing domestic violence is poorly implemented in practice. Human trafficking remains a serious problem as well. The country is a major source for women and girls trafficked abroad for the purposes of forced prostitution, mainly to Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union, Turkey, Romania, Southeast Europe, the Middle East, and the European Union.
Back to top
Moldova is a parliamentary representative democratic republic. According to its Constitution, the parliament is the supreme representative organ and the single legislative authority of the state. The parliament is an unicameral assembly with 101 seats whose members are elected by proportional representation every four years. To enter the Moldovan Parliament, independent candidates must obtain 3% of the total number of votes. The political parties must pass a 6% threshold, and the electoral blocs that consist of two parties at least 9%. The electoral blocs consisting of more than two political parties must receive at least 12% of the votes. The “lost votes” of the parties that did not pass the threshold are subsequently distributed proportionally among those who did.
The President (head of state) is elected by the Parliament for a four-year term, and is limited to two terms. To be elected as president at least three fifths of the MPs, or 61 deputies, must vote in favour of the candidate. If the parliament cannot agree about a presidential candidate, the parliament must be dissolved and early elections must be held.
Presidential elections 2016
On 13 November, in the second round of presidential elections, Igor Dodon was elected new Head of State. An openly pro-Russian Dodon (Socialist Party and former economy minister in a communist 2006-2009 government) acquired 52.29% of votes against the pro-European candidate Maia Sandu (Action and Solidarity Party and former World Bank official and education minister in 2012-2015), who received 47.71%. Such a result could influence the ongoing EU integration efforts of Moldova. Dodon plans to conduct a referendum on withdrawing from the Association Agreement with the EU and joining the Eurasian Customs Union instead. Good relations with Romania and Ukraine have been claimed to be of interest to Dodon as well, even though he supported the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Sandu, in her turn, supported the withdrawal of several thousands of Russian “peacekeeping” troops from the separatist Trans-Dniester region.
Arta Dade, head of the mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE ODIHR) declared the first round of presidential elections (30 October 2016) open, transparent and well-organized. Among the disadvantages observers noted widespread abuse of state resources, biased media coverage and a lack of transparency in campaign finance. Also a number of gaps and ambiguities remain: collection and verification of candidate support signatures, the financing and conduct of the campaign, effective electoral dispute resolution, enforcement of media provisions, and the conduct of a possible second round of presidential elections.
In the second round (13 November 2016) OSCE ODIHR mission saw competitiveness and respect for fundamental freedoms. The campaign, featuring televised debates, allowed the two candidates to address voters directly. However, increasingly polarized media coverage, harsh and intolerant rhetoric, and continued instances of abuse of administrative resources detracted from the process. Complaints, mostly related to campaign finance, were not resolved in a timely or consistent manner. Technical preparations for the second round were generally administered in a professional manner and, overall, election day procedures were positively assessed. Despite some efforts to prepare for a high turnout in specific polling stations abroad and for voters from Transdniestria, many citizens were unable to vote because the ballots allocated to these polling stations proved insufficient.
Parliamentary elections November 2014
On 30 November 2014 parliamentary elections were held in Moldova. Official results of the election were announced on 5 December. Almost 56 per cent of the population turned up for voting. The election was a victory for the pro-European parties and they have now a majority in the 101-seat parliament with 45 per cent of the votes or 55 seats in parliament. The Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM) gained 20.16 per cent (23 seats) of the votes, the Democratic Party (PDM) gained 15.18 percent (19 seats) of the votes, and the Liberal Party (PL) gained 9.67 per cent of the votes (13 seats). However, the biggest winner of the election is the Socialist Party (PSRM), which took a surprising lead with 20.51 per cent of the votes or 25 seats in parliament. The Communist Party (PCRM) received a significant loss and went from 42 to 21 seats in parliament.
Just days before the elections, the pro-Russian Homeland Party, the “Patria,” had been removed from the election by the election authorities of Moldova, the Central Elections Commission (CEC). The CEC said it decided to withdraw the party from the polls, because the Homeland Party had received financial support from a foreign country, referring most likely to Russia. As a reaction, the leader of the party, Renato Usatyi, stated that this decision of the CEC is politically motivated and left the country for Russia. He added that the money paid into the party’s account (about 424,000 Euros) was given unbeknownst to the movement by an almost unfamiliar offshore company. It was expected that if the Homeland Party was admitted to the election, it would have received 13 per cent of the votes.
The results of the election ensure the probable continuation of Moldova’s integration with the European Union within a free-trade zone, despite the critique of the pro-Russian parties. Due to the narrow majority of the pro-European parties it will be difficult to uphold and endorse a pro-European Union agenda with the presence of pro-Russian parties in parliament. The election results also demonstrated deep divisions within Moldovan society on the question of the country’s external course.
A coalition was not formed until 23 January 2015. The negotiations were originally between the leaders of the three pro-European parties, the PLDM, PDM and PL. Nevertheless, on 23 January 2015, the leaders of the parties announced that they were unable to come to an agreement with the PL. As a result, the PDM and the PLDM signed an agreement to form a minority governing coalition. In this Cabinet the PLDM will hold 10 seats and the PDM 8 seats. Moreover, the PLDM will name the Prime Minister and the PDM can name the parliament chair. As to the ministries, the PLDM gets the Ministry of Finance, Justice, Interior, Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Defense, Agriculture and Food Industry, Environment, Education and Health. The PDM gets the Ministry of Economy, Reintegration, Regional Development and Construction, Transport and Road Infrastructure, Culture, Labor, ICT and Youth and Sport. The minority coalition will have to gather support from opposition MPs for each of its proposals.
Official election results:
Party of Socialists
Liberal Democratic Party
Party of Communists
Democratic Party of Moldova
Back to top
Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM)
Party leader: Marian Lupu
The PDM was founded in 1998 as the continuation of the Movement for a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova, and is currently led by Marian Lupu, between 2010 and March 2012 the acting president of Moldova. The Democratic Party is a member of the Socialist International and the Party of European Socialists.
The ideology of the PDM is based on international social-democratic values of freedom, equality, solidarity, democracy, respect for civil rights, human dignity, social justice, the unacceptability of all forms of discrimination and social partnership. In the Democratic Party’s program the priorities are the creation of optimal conditions for the activity of civil structures, the modernization of the social protection systems in accordance with European standards and requirements. Also the creation of an effective system of income redistribution, reform of trade unions and the international recognition and consolidation of Moldova’s permanent neutrality are key objectives.
On 10 February 2010, the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) and the Social Liberal Party (PSL) officially merged under the slogan “We Come to Build.” The opposition parties formed a new democratic party through the disbandment of the PSL, which was then absorbed into the PDM. The renewed PDM continued under its old name, and pledged to work “for the affirmation of the Republic of Moldova as an independent, unitary and democratic state, based on the rule of law and integrated in the united family of European democracies.” The PDM thus supports the integration of Moldova into the EU and NATO. Since the parliamentary election of April 2009, the PDM is a member of the Alliance for European Integration (AEI) coalition in the Moldova parliament. After that it became a member of the pro-EU three-party coalition cabinet under Iurie Leanca.
Back to top
Party of Communists of Republic of Moldova (PCRM)
Party leader: Vladimir Voronin
International affiliation: Party of European Left
The PCRM is the only communist party to have held a majority in government in the post-Soviet states. It was the ruling political party in Moldova from 1998 until 2009. Currently it is the main opposition party.
The PCRM was registered as a political party in 1994, and is the successor of the Communist party before the Soviet Union disintegrated. The then Communist party was outlawed by the government in August 1991, several months before the official independence of Moldova. After the Communist party was legalised again by the Parliament on 7 September 1993, the PCM was reborn as the Party of Communists.
The goals the PCRM has outlined for Moldova do not have a traditional communistic character; and include things like economic modernisation, European integration, the consolidation of the society and a new quality of life. Under Vladimir Voronin the PCRM privatized several state-owned industries.
Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM)
Party leader: Vlad Filat
The Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) is a centre-right political party. The Party’s Founding Congress was held on 8 December 2007 and Vlad Filat was elected as its president. In their statements, the 53 initiative group members acknowledged the profound crisis in the Republic of Moldova and the inability of political parties to face the situation. The PLDM emerged as a capable alternative to start the process of moral reorganization of the political class, rebirth and modernization of the country and reestablishment of the society back on its natural track of democratic development.
The party attracted a large number of prominent members of the civil society and at the parliamentary elections of 29 July 2009 the PLDM obtained 16.57 % of the votes. At the early parliamentary elections of 28 November 2010 the PLDM doubled its results, obtaining 32.2% of the votes, 32 deputies.
The strategic programmatic goal set by this party is the reconstruction and modernization of the Republic of Moldova, as well as the establishment of rule-of-law state and efficient market economy. In its program, the Liberal Democratic Party aims at becoming the main driver for overcoming economic, social and civilization gaps.
Liberal Party (PL)
Party leader: Mihai Ghimpu
The Liberal Party was created at the unifying Congress of March 24th 2002, on the basis of the merger of the Party of Rebirth and Reconciliation of Moldova (1995); the National Peasant Christian-Democratic Party (1993) and the Social Liberal Union "Force of Moldova".
It is a conservative liberal party.
The Liberal Party has centred its program on the liberal doctrine and on the most recent neo-liberal achievements. The Liberal Party is largely represented in the local public administrations and has Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen at the Councils of the territorial units of grade II, thousands of local counsellors, hundreds of mayors, etc. After the July 2009 parliamentary election, the party became a coalition partner within the Alliance for European Integration. In the parliamentary elections in November 2010 it gained 9,96% of the votes.
Liberal Reformists Party (PLR)
Party leader: Ion Hadârcă
The Liberal Reformists Party was formed on 12 April 2013 after the reformist Liberals separated themselves of the Liberal Party (LP). The PLR first started as a Liberal Party Reform Council (CRPL), a pro-government faction within the Liberal Party calling for reform of the party. The council pleaded for holding a party’s extraordinary congress and replacement of its leadership. Its seven MPs were subsequently ejected from the LP and then agreed to enter a new coalition, called the Pro-European Coalition with the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova and the Democratic Party of Moldova on 30 May 2013.
On 21 June 2013 a General Meeting of the Liberal Party Reform Council took place, which adopted a decision to create a new political party with liberal doctrine. In the period July 2013 – August 2013 the reformists collected over 14 thousands signatures, enough to register a party. On 1 August 2013 the first meeting of the Council of Founding of the Liberal Reformists Party took place in Chisinau.
The party’s symbol is the graphic image of a blue eagle on a white background that has 12 golden stars of different sizes arranged in a circle on its wing. The Liberal reformers are determined to give Moldova the chance to achieve all the national political, social and economic desiderata and the options stipulated in the Declaration of Independence of August 27, 1991. The PLR is staged on the right political wing and is based on the liberal doctrine and pro-European and pro-Romanian visions.
Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM)
Party leader: Igor Dodon
In June 1997 the PSRM was founded by members of the Socialist Party of Moldova. As the title says, the PSRM is a socialist political party in Moldova. Veronica Abramciuc and Eduard Smirnov were elected as the first co-chairs of the party. In 2011, Igor Dodon, former member of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova, joined the PSRM and, shortly after that, was chosen as chairman. The PSRM won the 2014 parliamentary elections with over 20% of the votes. However, the party likely will not be able to join a coalition government due to a pro-EU coalition majority resulting from the 2014 parliamentary elections, and its own preference of developing towards closer ties with Russia instead.
Back to top
President of Moldova
On 16 March 2012 Nicolae Timofti (1948), a senior judge, was elected President of Moldova, ending nearly three years of political stalemate. Mr Timofti is politically independent, has never been involved in politics and has 36 years of experience as a judge.
Born in the village of Ciutulesti, Timofti graduated from the law department of Chisinau State University in 1972 and spent two years in the Soviet Army before beginning his career as a judge in 1976. After only four years on the bench, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of the Soviet Republic of Moldavia. After independence (1990), he served five years on the Chisinau Appellate Court. In 2005, he was appointed to the Higher Judicial Chamber. In 2011 he was named Chairman of the Supreme Council of Magistrates.
In an address to parliament before his election, he strongly supported the aspirations of Prime Minister Vlad Filat's government for European integration but also promised to be an apolitical president. Timofti stressed that Moldova must “become a bridge between West and East.” On the Transdnistria frozen conflict Timofti said that “only strengthening trust between the two banks of the Dniestr will help the reintegration of the country.” Concerning internal affairs, he named reforming the judiciary, saying “An independent judiciary is the key to the successful development of a country”.
Moldova had no full-time president since Vladimir Voronin, a Communist, resigned in September 2009. The opposition Communists boycotted the vote in which Mr Timofti was elected.
The question of the presidential term still remains. Some leaders of the AEI stated that Timofti can hold the position of president for four years, but also until the end of the current parliament’s term, which ends in 2014.
Prime Minister of Moldova
Valeriu Streleț is a Moldovan politician and the Prime Minister of Moldova. He has been a member of the Parliament of Moldova since 2009. He was born on 8 March 1970, in Ţareuca in Soviet Moldavia. He majored in history at the State University of Moldova. In 2002–2005 he studied economics at the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova (ASEM). In October 2007, he became co-founder and Deputy Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (LDPM). Strelet was elected to parliament in July 2009 and November 2010. In 2011, he was elected chair of the Liberal-Democratic faction in the Parliament of Moldova. On 30 July 2015 he was sworn as a Prime Minister. Strelet previously worked as teacher, a specialist in state institutions, but he is also known as the owner of the Bioprotect Company that imports fertilizers and seed and is the major sponsor of the LDPM. Valeriu Strelet has two sons from his first marriage and two daughters from his current second marriage.
Andrian Candu (PDM) Parliament Speaker
Andrian Candu was born on 27 November 1975 in Chişinău. He is a business man and a jurist by profession. From 1994 until 1998 he studied at the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca in Romania. Afterwards he followed a postgraduate program in international tax law at the Vienna University of Economics and Bussiness administration (2007-2008).
Before becoming a member of parliament Candu worked as a Senior Consultant in the Committee for Foreign Affairs Policy of the parliament of Moldova.
Since December 2010 he has been a member of parliament. In november 2010 he became a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal issues, Appointments. He was named Minister of Economy on July 2, 2014. Previously he served as Deputy Head of Parliament between May 2013 and July 2014. After the conclusion of the coalition agreement in January 2015, he was chosen to be the parliament speaker.
Andrian Candu is married and has 2 children.
Former Prime Minister of Moldova, leader Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM)
Vladimir Filat was born on 6 May 1969, in the village of Lăpuşna. In 1994, he obtained his university degree in law at the University of Alexandru Ioan Cuza in Iaşi. Between 1994 and 1998 Filat was an entrepreneur and started conducting several businesses in Romania. He became the general director of the Department of Privatization and State Property Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Reform in 1998. for one year. In 1999, Filat became Minister of State.
From 1997 to 2007, Filat was member of the Democratic party of Moldova (PDM). In 2000, he was elected vice-president of the PDM. Five years later, he was elected MP on the list of the PDM in the 2005 general elections.
Filat left the PDM in September 2007, after he ran for mayor in the 2007 local election but gained few votes. In December that year, he became the President of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova. On 25 September, 2009, Filat was appointed Prime Minister. On March 2013 his cabinet was dismissed and he was succeeded by Iurie Leanca.
Vladimir Filat is married and has two children.
Former President of Moldova and current leader of the Liberal Party (LP)
Mihai Ghimpu was born on 19 November 1951 in Chişinău. In 1978, he graduated from the Department of Law at the Chişinău State University. He worked as a lawyer from 1978 to 1990. He also headed legal departments of several state enterprises and worked as a judge at the Chişinău’s Râşcani District Court.
In late 1980’s, Ghimpu joined the Democratic Movement. In 1989, he was one of the founders of the movement’s successors, the Popular Front of Moldova – known as one of the leading political forces in the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR) – which was later succeeded by the Christian-Democratic People's Party.
Ghimpu was elected Member of Parliament on the list of the Popular Front in 1990. In the Parliamentary elections four years later, he was elected as a representative for the Bloc of Intellectuals. In 1997, Ghimpu was elected Chairman of the Party of Reform – the current Liberal Party. Between 2007 and 2009, he was member of the Chişinău Municipality Council.
During the early Parliamentary vote in July 2009, he was re-elected MP. A month later, on 28 August, he was elected Speaker of Parliament. Ghimpu became Moldova’s acting President on 11 September, 2009, after former (Communist) President Vladimir Voronin resigned, until 28 December 2010.
Mihai Ghimpu is married. He speaks Romanian, Russian and French.
Leader of the Democratic Party (PDM) of Moldova
Marian Lupu was born on 20 June 1966, in the Balti municipality. His family moved to Chisinau when he was six years old. In 1987, he graduated with honors from the Faculty of Commerce and Economy at the Moldovan State University and obtained his PhD in Economics in 1991, at the Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics in Moscow.
In 1991, Lupu started working at the Ministry of Economy in the External Economic Relations’ department. From 1992–2000, Lupu was also the executive Director of the EU’s TACIS-Moldova Program, which aimed to promote the transition to a market economy and to reinforce democracy and the rule of law in Eastern European partner states.
On May 24, 2001, the government assigned Lupu Deputy Minister of Economy in the Communist Cabinet of Vasile Petru Tarlev. On 5 August, 2003, his position was upgraded to Minister of Economy by then acting President Vladimir Voronin. Lupu held this position until March 2005, when he was elected Member of Parliament (MP) on the list of the Party of Communists (PCRM). In the same month, he was elected the Parliament’s Chairman, after the Communists won yet another election. Lupu held this post until May 2009.
In December, 2008, President Voronin excluded Lupu from the Supreme Security Council – a consultative body which analyzes the activity of Ministries in the field of national security and presents recommendations to the President. Lupu left the PCRM just before the Parliament would try to elect the country’s next president for the second time on the 3rd of June 2009, saying it was impossible to reform the structure of the PCRM from within. Lupu then joined the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) on 15 June, 2009. On 19 July he was elected its chairman. Ten days later, he was elected MP on the list of the PDM in the July general elections.
After the democratic opposition won the early poll, Lupu together with Vlad Filat, Mihai Ghimpu and Serafim Urechea created the “Alliance for European Integration” coalition on 8 August 2009. Lupu was the only opposition Presidential candidate in the Presidential race for the first and second round, after Vladimir Voronin resigned the post on 11 September 2009. The Parliament, however, failed to elect the President. As Parliament Speaker Lupu was thus acting President until Nicolae Timofti was elected on 16 March 2012.
Marian Lupu is married and has two children. He speaks Romanian, French, English and Russian.
Former President of Moldova and current leader of the Communist Party
Vladimir Voronin was born on May 25, 1941, in the village Corjova. Although he has a ‘Russian’ name, his origin is ethnic Romanian. Voronin graduated from the Co-operative College in Chisinau in 1961, and from the Union Institute for Food Industry in 1971. In 1983 Voronin finished the Academy of Social Sciences of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and in 1991 he graduated from the Academy of Internal Affairs of the Soviet Union.
Between 1966 and 1971, Voronin held different positions, including director of different bread factories. In the following ten years, he worked in the state administration of the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR). From 1983, he was an inspector and the vice-director of the Organization Section of the Central Committee of the Moldovan branch of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Between 1988 and 1990 Voronin was Minister of Internal Affairs in the MSSR.
In 1993, Voronin obtained a new position, becoming the Co-President of the Organizational Committee for the creation of the Party of Communists of Moldova (PCRM). The Communist party was banned between 1991 and 1993 and Voronin played a central role in reviving it. Voronin was elected Chairman of the PCRM in 1994. In the general elections in March 1998, he was elected MP and parliamentary leader of the PCRM. One year later, the acting President of Moldova – Petru Lucinschi – nominated Voronin as Prime Minister. The nomination did, however, was not supported by the majority of the Parliament. Voronin was re-elected MP in the general elections in February, 2001. That year, on 4 April, Voronin was elected President of Moldova and was re-elected in the Presidential elections in 2005.
In the Parliamentary elections held on 5 April 2009, the PCRM finished with 60 seats, which was one seat short to elect a President. After Voronin retained his seat as interim President and was elected Speaker of Parliament, massive demonstrations broke out to protest the election outcome. In the early Parliamentary elections held in July 2009, the PCRM lost its Parliamentary majority. Voronin then decided to resign as President and left this post on 11 September 2009.
Vladimir Voronin is married and has two children.