Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 78

The Democratic Convention (DC), the Bloc for a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova (BDPM), and the Party of Democratic Forces (PDF) announced yesterday that they have signed a set of agreements to form a “center-right” governing coalition for the entire four-year term of the newly elected parliament. The DC (an alliance of former President Mircea Snegur and the Popular Front), the pro-presidential BDPM and the PDF hold twenty-six, twenty-four and eleven seats, respectively, in the 101-seat parliament. The Party of Communists holds the remaining forty seats. President Petru Lucinschi has essentially blessed the main parts of the agreements despite some reservations over details.

The DC, BDPM and PDF shall form a single parliamentary caucus (the decision seems designed to isolate the Communists). The caucus will program the parliament’s agenda and vet bills prior to their formal submission. Decisions in the caucus are to be made by a majority of votes. Decisions are only valid, however, if all parties subscribe. While the majority vote would enable the President’s opponents to prevail, the requirement of an all-party consensus can restore the balance.

The coalition’s program centers on the resumption of market reforms in cooperation with international financial institutions. It also promises full adherence to Moldova’s obligations under international pacts on human rights, specifically the rights of ethnic minorities (which form 35 percent of Moldova’s population). The coalition pledges to restore Moldova’s international reputation on the former count and to maintain it on the latter count.

The common program commits all parties to working for the consolidation of independent Moldovan statehood (implying no “special” relations with Romania) and for good relations with “neighboring Ukraine and Romania” (in that order). Listed as the third priority is the pursuit of good relations with Russia and with other CIS countries, “without joining CIS political and military structures.”

The direct and indirect references to Romania are meant to restrain the pro-Romanian orientation promoted by the Popular Front and, to a lesser extent, by some other elements of the coalition, in which the BDPM is a mainstay of the non-Romanian orientation. But at the same time, the coalition agreement specifies that each party remains committed to its own ideologies and programs. This duality might become a source of conflict between pro-Romanian and staunchly Moldovan elements later on.

The agreement envisages that the BDPM will hold the chairmanship of the parliament while the DC will nominate the prime minister. Under the constitution, the president is entitled to nominate someone to that post. BDPM leader Dumitru Diacov is the likely chairman of parliament. The DC, the BDPM and the PDF shall divide government posts proportionately under a “2-2-1” formula. A cabinet of ministers based on this formula shall govern until 2002. The parties also agree to concede some parliamentary commission chairmanships to the Communists, in recognition of the fact that the latter hold a plurality of the seats in the legislature. (Flux, Basapress, April 22).