The founding parties of the AMN have been part of the Electoral Bloc Social Liberal Alliance Moldova Noastra (Our Moldova), that was created on the eve of the 25 May 2003 local elections. The bloc performed fairly well in the recent elections and received about 20% of the votes, which made it the most important opposition force. The leaders of the party claim to have 100,000 members, which is 5 to 6 times as much as the Communist Party of Moldova (CPM) and the People’s Christian Democratic Party (PCDP), until recently considered the main opposition force in Moldova.
AMN proclaimed itself a “party of citizens” and has pledged for the harmonisation of inter-ethnic relations in Moldova. In addition, the AMN has claimed it will promote social policies and “represent the interests of the middle class in formation”. This latter option draws upon the social-liberal doctrine to which the AMN has adhered, willing to “combine the principle of individual freedom with that of social solidarity, the minimal role of the state and its responsibility for the unconditioned and equal respect for the law”. The major political issue currently faced by Moldova, the Transdnistrian conflict, the AMN intends to resolve through the internationalisation of the conflict resolution efforts. In the foreign policy field, the AMN agenda is topped by the European integration of Moldova. This task, in the view of AMN, may be accomplished “through the declared and clearly demonstrated support of Romania, with whom, in the context of the European community, we will share a common European historic, economic, cultural and language space”.
There is a series of factors that have determined the founding of the AMN. First, the main constituent parties and its leaders have been in an overt conflict with the authorities and the ruling party. None of these parties had the capacity to cope with that conflict on its own. Secondly, the merge is a logical follow up of the events that started with the foundation of the Democratic Forum of Moldova in May 2001 following the CPM absolute victory in the 2001 parliamentary elections. These were succeeded by a number of important mergers that reduced the number of registered parties from 31 to 25. Hence, the foundation of AMN was to be expected after the relative success that it registered in the May 2003 elections.
This has made the new party rather attractive both for the potential new members and for the voters who are looking for a strong reform-driven party to invest their hopes. Likewise, the foundation of the AMN could attract potential sponsors from the business environment who have become disillusioned with the current government’s economic policies. Secondly, the AMN name and symbols seem to have been properly chosen and, most importantly, they are already familiar to the voters. Interestingly, in the neighbouring countries, the most important opposition formations or those affiliated with the government bear in their names the name of the country, which seems to be popular with the voters, as for example “Наша Украина” (Our Ukraine), “Единая Россия” (United Russia). Thirdly, the AMN has been created after the potential of the Moldovan political forces has been clearly elucidated. It has thus become clear that in the upcoming parliamentary campaign, which is to start in one year and a half, about four political forces will be able to compete seriously. These are, in the conventional left-right order, the CPM, the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM), the AMN and the PCDP. Another serious competitor in those elections could be the recent electoral bloc between the Social Democratic Party and the Social Liberal Party. The remaining 15 registered parties will be non-significant allies of these strong contestants or they will merely harness votes for the parties that will pass the 6% threshold.
From this perspective, the positioning of the AMN, the most powerful opposition force, at the centre of the political spectrum increases its chances to participate in the future coalition government, be it centre-left or centre-right. That such positioning is advantageous has been proved by the Movement for a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova in the aftermath of the 1998 parliamentary elections. Back then, the Movement held the key position in the talks on setting up the parliamentary majority with the right-wing parties, on the one hand, and the CPM, on the other hand. Notably, the current electoral weight of the AMN is almost similar to the one held by the Movement in 1998.
Another important factor for the future electoral projects of the AMN is that the rating of the current ruling party has stepped into a phase of decline. This has clearly shown in the recent local elections. Despite the official reports of “impetuous economic growth”, independent experts have insisted on an eventual cumulating effect of the negative factors in the economy of the country, such as the increase in prices on energy and foodstuffs. All these factors have exacerbated the frustration of the entire local and central state administration caused by endless reforms, revisions of previous reforms, new conceptions and strategies in the domestic and foreign policy, of which none can possibly be carried out fully. Importantly, these assumptions have been confirmed by the former presidential adviser Victor Doras, who contributed greatly to the CPM victory in 2001 and who knows in minute detail the state of the art in various fields of major importance for the development of the country. Thus, the prospect of the CPM rating shrinking to levels attested elsewhere in the CIS area (20 to 30 percent in Russia and Ukraine) is the most probable. Differently put, on the eve of the 2005 parliamentary elections, the CPM rating might be equal to that of the AMN. Of course, this sort of estimations is very approximate. Nonetheless, it was the CPM leader himself, Vladimir Voronin, who said immediately after the CPM victory in 2001 that he was aware of the fact that an important share of the electorate had supported the CPM largely out of a feeling of protest against the previous governments. It is the current government itself that might become the main object of discontent of the protesting voters in future elections. One can thus assume that most of the discontent ones will opt for the parties at the centre of the political spectrum, the DPM and the AMN. Surely, after the ceremonial “putting into practice the vertical axis of power” during the last CPM plenary meeting, one can expect it to become the principal resource that the CPM will use to cling to power.