The International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization rewarded Moldovan policies while the country’s pro-Moscow communists took a commanding majority in the parliament.
On February 2 the International Monetary Fund disbursed $12 million to Moldova’s treasury, the second tranche of a $144 million loan agreed last December under the Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility. The money will reduce poverty by covering amortization payments on Moldova’s foreign debts.
Negotiations to bring Moldova into the World Trade Organization wrapped up on February 19, when a WTO working party–a committee of representatives of WTO member states–approved a package of trade concessions and legislation presented by Moldova’s deputy minister of economy and reform. The package now goes to the WTO General Council, where all member states are represented, for consideration in the spring. Approval by consensus is expected. Moldova would then become a WTO member as soon as it notifies its ratification of the agreement.
Parliamentary elections on February 25 brought the communists just over 50 percent of the votes cast, a result likely to lead to about two-thirds of the seats in the unicameral legislature. Although communist leader Vladimir Voronin says he will work with the IMF (and take its money), the communist platform promises state monopolies in wine and tobacco, the country’s largest industries; indexation of bank deposits to inflation; price controls on foods, basic consumer goods and utility rates; and “strengthening the role of the state in society and in all political and economic processes.” Not exactly what the boffins at the Fund want to hear. The platform also calls for a customs union with Russia and Belarus, which should give the WTO pause as well.