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'A National Psychosis'

  • Robert Coalson

The elections are being held on a weekday for the first time in Moldova's history.

The elections are being held on a weekday for the first time in Moldova's history.

RFE/RL's Russian Service correspondent in Chisinau, Irina Severin, outlined the Moldovan elections in a Q&A (see the Russian text here).

Severin:

"There are six parties registered for the election: the Communist Party; the Liberal Party; the Our Moldova Alliance; the Liberal Democratic Party; the Christian Democratic Party (which is the Communist Party’s main ally); and the Democratic Party, which is headed by former parliament speaker and former Communist Marian Lupu. The Communist majority [in the previous parliament] voted for some changes to the electoral laws. As a result, the threshold for parties to get seats in the parliament has been lowered from 6 percent to 5 percent, and the minimum turnout required to validate the poll has been lowered from 50 percent to 33 percent. And one other innovation is the fact that the elections are being held for the first time ever on a Wednesday, on a weekday."

Severin asked Our Moldova Alliance leader Serafim Urechean about the likelihood the authorities would try to falsify the elections and what could be done about it:

"I don't think there is anything we can do about it. You can see the national psychosis that the five [main] television channels, which are controlled by the Communists, have created. It is too bad no one is doing a psychological analysis of this programming and what it is producing. I am really afraid that the implementation of this psychosis could lead to the destabilization of the situation in Moldova, and April 7 could seem like child's play. I say this with great regret."

She posed the same question to Liberal Party leader Mihai Ghimpu:

"I think it is up to our citizens. They themselves must be interested in having a legitimate government. Because only if we have a legitimate government can we live according to the law. We, as a party participating in the elections, will use all our election-commission members to forestall any attempts at falsification. There will be one member from our party, one from the Liberal Democratic Party, and one from the Our Moldova Alliance. This will change the situation and we will be able to hinder the Communists if they hand out two ballot papers to one person and start letting people cast ballots for their wives or their brothers. We will make every effort to stop the Communists from again creating a government on the basis of falsified elections. The citizens who are working abroad do not support the Communists – so [the authorities] have decided they have to prevent these citizens from participating in the elections, since it will be a working day in Italy, France, Russia, and no one is going to let workers take time off to go and vote."

Severin concluded by outlining the Communist Party's main tactic:

"Most experts say the ideology of the Communist Party has creatively arrived at the traditional Communist tactic of consolidating society by creating the unified image of an internal and external enemy embodied by the Moldovan opposition. They warn that the price of this strategy will be further polarization and the splitting of society."
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    Robert Coalson

    Robert Coalson covers Russia, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe. Send story tips to coalsonr@rferl.org

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