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Modernization of the Governing Party

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June 20, 2002
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All the major events in the socio-political life of the Republic of Moldova are directly related to the policy pursued by the Communist Party (CP), which holds the constitutional majority in the Parliament. During the May plenary session of the Communist Party, the President of the country and Chair of the Communist Party launched an initiative to modernize the governing party. In addition, several weeks later the Communist party media outlet highlighted the need to change the party program as well. Domestic analysts closely monitor both initiatives.

The discussions on modernizing the Communist Party are not new. Immediately after the parliamentary elections of February 25, 2001 a series of problems surfaced, which made the party modernization inevitable. For instance, it took the Communist Party more than a year to overcome the so called “opposition syndrome” leading sometimes to curious situations. For instance in 2001 at the time President Voronin was about to sign the documents on joining the World Trade Organization and Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe some of the Communist Party moguls severely criticized WTO for being a tool of the American imperialism, and Stability Pact for being overshadowed by the “NATO tanks” — thus jeopardizing Moldova’s adherence into those structures. Further, mass media largely circulated the statement President Voronin made during the Communist Party Congress of April 2002, reading that “Republic of Moldova would be turned into Europe’s Cuba” if there was any threat to the Communist governing.

Currently there are at least a couple of reasons calling for the Communist party modernization. Firstly, the shifting international and regional environment, namely EU and NATO extension, strategic partnership of the neighborhood countries with other institutions. Secondly, Republic of Moldova has found itself under the close monitoring of the Council of Europe. And last but not least, political parties are getting ready for the upcoming local elections due in May 2003. All these factor being by the economic instability and blocked foreign aid.

Under those circumstances, the Communist Party has organized in May and June a series of training seminars for the party activists aimed to explain why modernization is necessary. In addition to the usual discussions on the lack of competitive personnel and the need to recruit new young and trained members at issue was the idea that CP fails to achieve its strategic goals in economy because of obstruction from foreign international financial institutions. Previously the CP explained its failure to keep the promises it made to the electorate by the intransigent position of the opposition, especially that of the Christian-Democratic Peoples’ Party. Apparently, Communist Party resorts to those arguments to convince its supporters that the party modernization is imposed by the factors outside their control.

On June 15 the Communist Party organized a scientific conference to evaluate the results of its one-year governing. The conference gathered leaders of political parties sharing socialist and social-democratic doctrines. This is a breakthrough, one that cannot be ignored. One could say that President Vladimir Voronin has made the first step towards rectifying the mistake he made when launching the “Social Pact”. Within the framework of the Social Pact the President intended to hold talks with representatives of civil society, except for political parties whom he labeled as “political vagabonds”. Clearly, given its modernization initiative the Communist Party would definitely need the support of left wing parties, which might eventually become its allies. A would-be alliance with the socialist and social-democratically oriented parties might cushion the reformation shocks the Party might experience, especially as it already faces a lot of challenges. Despite the economic achievements the party is reporting (a 6.1% growth in 2001), many experts do not hesitate to question them. They claim it’s nothing but a statistic manipulation, as an economic growth would have inevitably resulted in increased energy consumption and increased budget earnings. However, none of those was registered last year, further the budget deficit was 15%.

Another factor pointing to the seriousness of President Voronin intention are the recent structural and personnel changes in the presidential administration, which is to play the role of the generator of reforms. There is indication that the President’s reformatory initiatives would differ a lot from those of the dogmatic wing of the Communist Party. The fact that conservative members of the Communist Party continue to attend the plenary sessions of the Union of the USSR Communist Parties proves that the reformation of the party won’t be easy. The recent session of the Union illustrated that the Communist Party of Russia saw the Communist Parties of the former Republics as its own branches. The report of the Union of the USSR Communist Parties “On fighting the governors’ extremism and coordinating joint initiatives of the Communist parties in view of defending workers’ rights and citizens’ democratic freedoms” points to the fact that Russian Communists failed even to notice that in Moldova the Communist party is a governing party. One might have consider the above as mere curiosities if it were not for President Voronin’s emphasis on the need to consolidate the independent state — Republic of Moldova.

Political opponents might blame Communist Party for insincerity as on the one hand it talks about the country independence and on the other it is a member of a union of parties of a country not longer existing, but which they intend to rebuild. Further, the contradictions within the Communist Party are even more obvious when the President launches liberal initiatives, whereas other party moguls call for adopting ciuci he ideas of the North-Korean Communism. It is worth mentioning that the situation is very similar to the Korean one. There, there is a single nation divided in two countries, a Communist one and a liberal one. North-Koreans inspired by the ciuci he build communism and atomic bomb while starving. South-Koreans lead a simple life and invade the world market with hi-tech products. North-Koreans ask for the permission of their beloved leader to have national celebrations and are very enthusiastic when his majesty is indulgent, while millions of South-Koreans invade the streets to celebrate the victory of their football team over Italy and its qualifying for the World Cup semi-finals.

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