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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 1,964 1,621 1,500 141
GNI per capita
 US $ 590 460 400 157
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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ethnic groups 
Moldovans 64.5%
Ukrainians 13.8%
Russians 13.0%


Leu (plural: Lei)

Vladimir Voronin


Update No: 292 - (26/04/05)

Moldova - the odd one out
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin reappointed Vasile Tarlev as prime minister on April 8th, according to reports from the country's capital Chisinau. This was in the wake of a fresh electoral victory for the Communist Party of Moldova, which he heads. Moldova is the only FSU state with a communist party in government. 
They have been doing well in very difficult circumstances, Moldova being the poorest country in Europe. The careerists left the party in 1991-2 on independence, leaving by and large the idealists in charge. 

Voronin backs Tarlev 
Voronin asked Premier Tarlev to form a new cabinet and map out a government work agenda. He said the government should carry out wide-ranging reforms to promote economic development and eliminate poverty. "In the next four years, the government needs to modernize Moldova," Voronin said. 
Voronin called on the new government to reduce corruption among police, the army and intelligence services, to bring Moldova closer to the European Union, and to reform the education system and boost development in the rural areas. 
Voronin also said the new administration ought to reduce the number of civil servants by 70 percent and cut the current 16 ministries and 14 departments to 17 ministries, a scheme that should be completed by July 1. 

Profile of the political firmament
Currently, the parliament is composed of four political parties: the Moldovan Party of Communists which takes 56 out of the 101 seats; the centrist Democratic Moldova bloc, 26 seats; the centre-right Popular Christian Democratic Party, 11 seats; and the Moldova Democratic Party, 8 seats. 
The Popular Christian Democratic Party has voted for Voronin, president of the Moldovan Party of Communists, in recent parliamentary voting. Voronin, 64, was elected by the parliament to a second term as president of the nation with a population of 4.5 million.
The Moldovan parliament, meanwhile, approved the nomination of Iurie Rosca, head of the Popular Christian Democratic Party, as deputy speaker of the parliament.

An unusual conjuncture
On April 4, Voronin had himself been re-elected to a second four-year term by an unprecedented -- indeed, until now, unthinkable -- political alliance, ranging from his Communist Party to right-wing Christian-Democrats and right-of-centre Social-Liberals. This informal alliance defeated Moscow's goal of unseating Voronin. The parties to this alliance hope against considerable odds to turn it into a political construction for the four-year duration of the newly elected parliament. 
A ten-point reform agenda, worked out by Christian-Democrat People's Party (CDPP) leader Iurie Rosca and Social-Liberal Party (SLP) leader Oleg Serebrean with Voronin and his aide Mark Tkachuk, laid the basis for the informal alliance that re-elected the president. Rosca and Tkachuk also co-authored a pro-reform inaugural address, read by the parliament's new chairman, Marian Lupu, a 38 year-old Western-trained economist without party affiliation. 
Under the Moldovan constitution, the president is elected by parliament with the votes of at least 61 members out of 101. The March 6 parliamentary election gave the Communists 56 seats. The staunchly anti-communist CDPP and SLP, with 11 and three seats, respectively, refused until the last moment to support the re-election of a communist president, although Voronin is a communist in name only. The Bloc Moldova Democrata's (BMD) "centrist" leaders, Russian-backed but waffling, in command of some 20 deputies, manoeuvred to prevent a 61-strong majority from forming. BMD leaders wanted to trigger the constitutional mechanism that leads to the dissolution of parliament and repeat elections within 45 days. In that case, Russia could have amply funded a winning electoral campaign based on the Communist retrograde wing, the red-brown "Rodina" movement, and BMD "centrists" with financial interests in Russia and Transnestria. Such a campaign could have convulsed Moldova, and would have opened the door to significant Russian political influence for the next four years. 
While sharing Voronin's sense of alarm at that prospect, CDPP and SLP deputies were loath to deviate from life-long anti-communist sentiments and work with a president who had only recently overcome his past, and whose entourage and party are in large measure still mired in that past. Moreover, CDPP and SLP deputies came under intense pressure from their party organizations, many voters, and several vociferous newspapers, to refuse any cooperation with a "communist president" under any circumstances. It was not until April 2 that Rosca and Serebrean decided to submit the ten-point reform agenda to the president as a basis for cooperation. Finalized with Voronin and Tkachuk on the evening before the presidential balloting, the agreement became the basis not only for the president's re-election, but possibly for a political partnership as well. 

The ten goals are: 
1-freeing public television and radio from any government control or political interference and naming an independent board for the broadcasting media; 
2-closing down government-owned newspapers; 
3-depoliticizing and ensuring the independence of the Central Electoral Commission; 
4-separating the Prosecutor-General's office from the government, and re-staffing it with non-corrupt personnel; 
5-testing the integrity and competence of judges to weed out the corrupt, under a new Magistrate Council, on the model of Georgia's judiciary reform carried out by Mikheil Saakashvili while Justice Minister there; 
6-ensuring government transparency at every level through media coverage, Internet availability, full publication of all regulations; 
7-decentralizing local government; 
8-removing corrupt and/or Russia-connected personnel from the intelligence and security services; 
9-creating a new Constitutional Reform Commission to address existing "gray areas" in the Constitution and legislation; 
10-turning the Accounts Chamber into an effective anti-corruption tool by changing its charter to strengthen its independence and integrity. 
Many of these points are closely related to the European Union-Moldova Action Plan for 2005-2008 and should facilitate its implementation. It is also understood as part of this agreement that the Moldovan party system would transition toward a center-left/center-right model, with Voronin intending to initiate the Communist Party's transformation into a European-type socialist party. Meanwhile, in his April 4 address to parliament as presidential nominee, and in his acceptance speech as president-elect the same day, Voronin announced his intention to give up the post of party leader. He called in eloquent terms for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova and appealed to the United States, the European Union, Ukraine, and Romania to support a democratic solution in Transnestria. Ultimately he garnered 76 votes, including those of several defectors from BMD (Moldpres, April 4). 
Former U.S. Congressman John Conlan (R-AZ) was the indispensable facilitator in negotiations and document drafting among the political leaders and factions in Chisinau over a two-week period. He proved highly effective in reducing deep-seated political and inter-personal animosities, not only among communists and anti-communists, but also among opposition figures with long histories of mutual rivalry. Conlan used his political experience in Black Sea region countries, including work last year as a consultant to Viktor Yushchenko's election campaign.



Japan to grant Moldova US$600,000

The Japanese government will offer a US$660,000 grant to Moldova in 2005 to prepare the second stage of the rural investments and services project RISP-II, Moldpress reported recently.
The grant will be issued through the International Association for Development and is especially meant for preparing feasibility studies and detailed plans to implement the project's second stage. The Director of the World Bank for Moldova, Edward Brown, and Finance Minister, Zinaida Greceanii, signed the grant agreement.





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