In a post at Fistful of Euros
, Douglas Muir places the outgoing Moldovan president well outside the pantheon of postcommunist strongmen.
Even his departure from power was second-rate. He tried to steal an election, bungled it, and backed off in the face of massive street protests. Then he held a second set of elections, tried to steal them even harder than before... and lost even worse. Milosevic would have tried to rally the secret police to fire into the crowds; Gamsakhurdia would have fled into exile, to return with an army; Iliescu would have prepared the groundwork for a few years in opposition before a triumphant comeback as a rebranded center-left democrat. But Voronin is just stumbling towards the door, whining and complaining as he goes.
Muir also makes the point that Moldova's political leaders still have a long row to hoe.
First, the coalition will have to elect a President. That's going to be very difficult, since the Communists control a blocking minority in Parliament, and are -- so far -- still insisting on their candidate. Then, they have to agree among themselves how to create a government; not easy, since the opposition consists of a number of parties, from liberals to former Communists. And then they'll have to make peace with Moscow, which will be no slight or easy task.... If Russia decides that it’s unhappy with the outcome, it has all sorts of options, ranging from "just enough interference to make a coalition impossible" to "crippling Moldova's economy with trade sanctions."
Still: we've probably -- ohhh, not certainly, but probably -- seen the last of Vladimir Voronin. And that's just wonderful.
-- Andy Heil