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9 Apr, 2009 07:47

Moldova: silence before the storm?

Moldova has announced the official count of Sunday's parliamentary election. The communist party got a landslide victory with over 49 % of the votes. This could bring another wave of rallies following two days of protest

After the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, saw violent protests on Tuesday, the next day the authorities said they had the situation under control. All main buildings were cordoned off by riot police.

However, after midday, crowds had gathered at the only ruling body left untouched by the clashes – the government headquarters.

Mikhail, a local citizen said, “I'm here because I have the right to say what I think. And I’m unhappy with how things are done”.

What started as a peaceful rally on Tuesday turned into a massive brawl with police, and an assault on the presidential palace and parliament. The former was set on fire. The angry mob voiced their discontent with the results of the parliamentary election, asking for a re-vote.

International observers, however, deemed the voting fair, and experts said that its results were easy to predict.

Political analyst Boris Makarenko said:

”Moldova is the most unindustrialized nation in the whole Europe. The rural population is predominant, and many urban dwellers were born in a village. Communists know how to work with these people.”

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin – leader of the winning communist party – described the rioters as 'fascists,' and authorized troops to use force against the crowd in the event of another attack. The country’s leader says he believes that the riots were instigated from abroad.

“This operation has been well-thought, well-prepared and well-organized. And it’s also quite obvious that it’s been well-paid for. This has nothing to do with patriotism,” Voronin said.

Wednesday’s stand-off seemed far calmer than 24 hours earlier. Around a thousand protesters gathered to chant anti-communist slogans and wave banners. But at times, tension mounted, and nearly reached the boiling point. Plastic bottles were thrown at the police.

Valery Matey, a writer and opposition party member said:

“They are all bandits behind you. Who needs all of this? Why do we need to spend so much time here keeping them down?”

Leaders of the opposition managed to temper down the mood in the crowd. There were no further assaults, but the mood is still tense.

So far, no compromise has been reached between the conflicting sides, and no one knows whether the republic with a population of around four million will return to a quiet life any time soon.

The opposition says it will continue taking to the streets until it gets what it wants.

Transdniester pictures itself part of Romania

The Foreign Minister of the Moldovan breakaway republic of Transdniester claims that the nationalist mood will remain strong among the country's youth.

Vladimir Yastrebchak says that whatever action the Moldovan government may take, the young people “are still ready and inspirited by great Romania, and they see the future of the republic of Moldova in Romania."

“I think that the situation will develop peacefully, and people who were on the streets two days ago will come to power in just two or three years. They’ve already made their choice,” Yastrebchak said.

No ‘coloured revolution’ in Moldova

Russia's Foreign Minister has warned that Moldovan protesters cannot use the precedent of a coloured revolution legitimately.

Sergey Lavrov says the recent parliamentary election was ratified by international observers.

“What took place in Moldova is different from the coloured revolutions, when verdicts of international organizations are used to dispute election results. Nobody did this in Moldova. OSCE and other international monitors recognized the elections were held in accordance with all the standards. So there was no traditional external provocation factor. Protestors were obsessed with the idea of destroying Moldova as a state,” he said.

“Moldova still has no agreement with Romania on the state border. We’ve pointed this fact to the EU, and hope this will be resolved,” Lavrov added.