Pro-European parties in Moldova set for majority in parliamentary election

With over 89% of the votes counted in yesterday’s parliamentary election in Moldova, it seems that the pro-European political parties – currently in government – have managed to retain a majority: Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM) with 19,46% (24 seats, down from 32), Democratic Party (PDM) with 15,78% (19 seats, up from 15) and Liberal Party (PL) with 9,36% (12 seats, unchanged), which would bring them to a total of 55 seats in the 101-seat parliament, if they manage to cooperate. However, the biggest winner of the election is the Socialist Party (PSRM), which took a suprising lead with 21,34% of the votes so far (25 seats). The Communist Party (PCRM), formerly the biggest opposition party, has lost dramatically, so far getting 17,95% of the vote (21 seats) down from the 42 seats it took in the last election in 2010.

Socialist Party and Patria Party

Known as a pro-Russian opposition party, the Socialist Party campaigned with slogans like ‘Moldova with Russia’ and ‘Moldova with the Customs Union.’ It is believed to have the Kremlin’s support, and its leader Igor Dodon is said to be close to President Vladimir Putin. PSRM’s surge in the polls – pre-election opinion polls predicted the party to gain about 10% – could be related to the exclusion of another pro-Russian party, Patria, from the race only 3 days before the election. Patria, led by Russian businessman of Moldovan origin Renato Usatii, who returned to Moldova in April to set up his party, was formally established in September, and was scoring around 12% in opinion polls preceding the election. On 26 November, just three days before the election, the Central Election Election Commission decided to exclude Patria from the race after receiving a request from the prosecutor’s office: the latter claims to have evidence that the party is receiving funds from abroad (most likely referring to Russia).

Grand coalition?

With the Communist Party more-or-less prepared to honor Moldova’s Association Agreement with the EU, there are speculations that a grand coalition could be considered once the results are confirmed, including PL, PLDM, PDM (or just the two latter) and the Communist Party, to ensure a comfortable ruling majority. More to follow.

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