Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 21

Ion Ciubuc resigned today as prime minister of Moldova (Itar-Tass, February 1). Three days ago he had feistily announced that he was hanging on to his post and “the press would have no story” (Flux, Basapress, January 29, 30). Parliament Chairman Dumitru Diacov, who is also leader of the pro-presidential Movement for a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova, had been publicly urging Ciubuc’s resignation in recent weeks, presumably on President Petru Lucinschi’s behalf.

The cabinet of ministers has been unable to cope with the economic crisis which has turned Moldova into a basket case. Last week, protest demonstrations erupted in Chisinau and in other places over unpaid wages and skyrocketing prices for heating and electricity. Trade union leaders were losing control over the masses, and some of those leaders themselves uncharacteristically defied Ciubuc and the cabinet at a negotiating session last week.

Ciubuc, a trained agronomist like most of Moldova’s elite, is a consummate bureaucrat with many years of government service during and after the Soviet era. He had presided since 1998 over a coalition government made up of four parties which had taken a long time to negotiate the division of power and posts among themselves. Another coalition government may be difficult to create. Some in Chisinau suggest forming a government of nonparty specialists. That solution may help the parties avoid being perceived by the electorate as responsible for the crisis.