Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 88

President Petru Lucinschi yesterday mandated the incumbent Prime Minister Ion Ciubuc, a political ally, to form Moldova’s post-election government. Ciubuc had been widely considered to be on his way out after the recent parliamentary elections. The nomination is nevertheless likely to succeed owing to a rift in the Democratic Convention (CD), the alliance of the Popular Front with former president Mircea Snegur’s Party of Rebirth and Conciliation.

The CD had secured the prerogative to designate a new prime minister from its own ranks, in return for conceding the parliament’s chairmanship to the pro-presidential Bloc for a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova (BMDP). However, as parliamentary leaders told The Monitor, the Popular Front and Snegur’s party fell out with each other when it came to designating the CD’s candidate. The Popular Front nominated the long-time parliamentary deputy and professional agronomist Valentin Dolganiuc. In a bitter dispute within the CD’s parliamentary group, Dolganiuc outvoted Snegur’s lieutenant Nicolae Andronic, who is the real moving force in the Snegur party. The media promptly portrayed Dolganiuc as the virtual prime minister. The Snegur group, however, distanced itself from Dolganiuc and agreed with the pro-Lucinschi forces to support Ciubuc, whom the Popular Front had vehemently opposed for ideological reasons. This turn of events illustrates the potential tensions within the CD, which is a marriage of convenience among long-time rivals. Many Moldovans considered Dolganiuc’s nomination risky because the Popular Front’s loyalties are divided between Moldova and Romania. The Ciubuc nomination should enhance political stability in Moldova. (See “Quo Vadis, Moldova?,” Prism, vol. IV no. 9, May 1, 1998).

Ciubuc has been prime minister since January 1997. Born in 1943 in northern Moldova, and trained as an agricultural economist in Ukraine at the Odessa Agronomical Institute, Ciubuc had family, professional and political ties with the Agrarian Democratic Party, which dominated the parliament and government from 1993 to 1998. However, he supported the BMDP–and thus the pro-Lucinschi forces–in the recent parliamentary elections. Ciubuc will now form a coalition government whose portfolios are to be distributed among the three coalition partners–CD, BMDP and the Party of Democratic Forces–in a 2:2:1 proportional arrangement. The Communist Party, which holds forty seats in the 101-seat parliament, is expected to vote against the government. (Basapress, Flux, May 4 through 6)