Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 129

In an unprecedented message to the Moldovan parliament on June 27, President Petru Lucinschi warned that he might call early elections if the legislature continues to block economic reforms. Lucinschi gave the legislature three weeks to enact legislation on bankruptcy, raising the pension age, demonopolization and privatization of the energy sector, administrative reform, the sale and purchase of land, and other bills obstructed by the parliament. Asking the deputies to stop using the tactics of "never-ending debate," the president stressed that "there can be no turn back from reforms" and that Moldova risks losing vital financing from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank by its failure to reform. "They don’t need us; we need them," Lucinschi’s message said. Pointing to his own record in promoting consensus among the branches of power, Lucinschi observed that this parliament has become the only branch that resists reforms, thus "naturally and logically" raising the issue of early elections. (Basapress, June 27-28)

Lucinschi was elected president in December, 1996, while parliamentary elections are due in February, 1998. All parliamentary parties, including self-described "right-wing" ones, proved loath to enact unpopular reforms before the presidential vote and are now repeating that behavior in anticipation of the parliamentary election. The centrist Agrarian majority has veered leftward, reflecting popular skepticism toward reforms. Once a leader in macroeconomic reforms in the region, Moldova has by now wasted almost two years. Pro-Lucinschi and pro-reform groups, notably the recently formed Movement for a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova headed by parliament vice-chairman Dumitru Diacov, came out last month in favor early elections. However, it is far from clear whether Diacov’s and other groups have grown sufficiently in order to provide a critical mass for Lucinschi in the new parliament.

Russian-Armenian Economic Relations: Ambitions Outrun Means.