Moldova’s outgoing president said the very future of the ex-Soviet state was at stake in next month’s parliamentary election and accused opposition parties yesterday of seeking its destruction.
Vladimir Voronin’s Communists finished far in front in an April election to parliament, but the outcome sparked violent protests by young voters angry at the prospect of the party remaining in power. A new election was called in the country when three liberal opposition parties twice prevented the election by parliament of a new president. Voronin, in office since 2001, cannot run again and had planned to secure election of a compliant successor to retain the levers of power.
“Will Moldova continue to exist or not? That is the essence of the choice facing our voters,” Voronin told a news conference. “The election on July 29 will be a plebiscite on our independence.”
Wedged between Ukraine and Romania, Moldova is among a group of former Soviet republics where Russia and the European Union are engaged in a competition for influence which has fanned tensions between them. Europe’s poorest country, it is reeling in the economic crisis from a dip in remittances from Moldovans working abroad.
Three liberal opposition parties, broadly pro-Romanian in outlook, won 41 seats in the April election. The Communists won 60 and fell one vote short in parliament of securing the election of Communist Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii as president.
Voronin accused Romania of fomenting the post-election violence in April and said opposition parties were bent on having their country swallowed up by its western neighbour.
He said opposition parties had done nothing to distance themselves from the “unionist” arguments of Romania’s leadership which has offered Moldovans free education and passports.