Gathering over 50 percent of the vote, Moldova’s Communist Party (PCRM) won a landslide victory in the parliamentary elections on Sunday. Interestingly, until this election Moldova was the only state in Europe where clinging to the Communist brand remained politically expedient. In fact, since Moldova declared independence in 1990 the PCRM has never relinquished power. However, today’s violent protests have shown that over the last decade a socio-political chasm between young and urban voters and the elderly and rural has split Moldovan society.
It’s important to note that the PCRM’s platform, based on such Marxist notions as encouraging entrepreneurship, attracting foreign direct investment, and protecting human rights, isn’t really all that Communist. Unlike other nominally Communist parties, the PCRM doesn’t even pay lip service to Communist principles and openly advocates seeking closer socio-economic relations with Europe. Their key difference with the Liberals is that the Communists are wary of reunification with Romania, a country with which Moldova shares historical and linguistic ties
The wide margin of victory provides the PCRM with a clear mandate to pursue its proposed policy of closer integration with Europe, but as Moldova expert Elizabeth Anderson pointed out, its many years in power has left the Communist Party over-institutionalized and corrupt. The next Moldovan president will have to tread lightly, institute reforms within his own party, and try to build coalitions with the minority parties in parliament. Otherwise, Moldova risks falling into the same kind of vicious cycle that neighboring Ukraine has experienced since the Orange revolution in 2004.