Moldovan election declared legally valid
March 22, 1998
Web posted at: 12:29 p.m. EDT (1229 GMT)
Chisinau, Moldova (CNN) -- Moldova's Central Electoral Commission said more than half of the registered voters
had cast ballots in Sunday's parliamentary election, making it legally valid.
"As of 3 p.m. (1300 GMT), 50.12 percent of the electorate
have voted," a spokesman for the commission said. "The
election is valid." Under the former Soviet republic's
constitution, turnout must be above 50 percent.
Fifteen parties and 60 independent candidates were competing
for places in the 101-seat parliament which, unlike many
other former Soviet republics, holds real power.
Polls were to close at 9 p.m. (1900 GMT), and preliminary
results were expected Monday morning.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
deployed about 140 foreign election observers in the
republic, located between Romania and Ukraine.
Tumbling living standards -- rather than ties with ethnic
kin in neighboring Romania or the country's intractable
conflict with Slav separatists in the east -- are the main
concern for most voters.
Since independence, living standards have dramatically
dropped with the implementation of slow and confusing market
reforms. As in many former Soviet states, there are long
delays in the payment of salaries and pensions.
The Communist Party favors a state-controlled economy and
strong political and military ties with Russia.
"Our main economic partner will be the Russian federation,"
said party leader Vladimir Voronin after he voted in
Communists are competing against the right-wing Democratic
Convention, which backs faster market reforms and a
western-oriented foreign policy.
The centrist Bloc for a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova, an
alliance informally supported by President Petru Lucinschi,
is appealing to middle-of-the-road voters with promises of
more welfare programs and stronger ties with Russia and the
"The country needs a strong centrist party," Lucinschi said
Sunday. But he said he was ready to cooperate with any party
that emerges victorious.
Lucinschi also said he will insist that the winners retain
the current premier, Ion Ciubuc, who took the post after
Lucinschi won presidential elections last year.
None of the dozen parties running is expected to get a
majority, and no major shakeup was expected in how the
country is governed.