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The Moldovan Kingmaker

lupu080309.jpgThe Financial Times has an interesting piece about the former Moldovan Communist Party leader Marian Lupu, who is playing a central role in the current events in Chisinau.  Lupu will essentially be the main coordinator of whatever political alliance able to cobble itself together to pick a new president to replace Vladimir Voronin … if possible.

“We need a very broad political dialogue . . . since no party has enough votes to appoint a president,” said Mr Lupu.

Together, the four opposition parties have a four-seat majority over the Communists in the 101-member legislature, but they are eight votes short of being able to appoint a head of state.

“The Communists will try to divide and rule,” said Mr Lupu. “So first we have to reach a common position with the other three parties and then start talking with the Communists. We have to present Mr Voronin with a situation where he has no choice but to agree on a new president.” (…)

Like the Communists, hewants to strengthen Moldova’s statehood, keep it neutral and out ofNato, and boost a “strategic partnership” with Russia. But he iscritical of Mr Voronin’s authoritarian style which, together with alack of rural investment, he blames for an exodus of young people.

“Arewe building this state to be propped by bayonets, or are we building iton the principles of democratic society, economic development, freedomsand human rights?” he asked.

With the economy forecast to shrink 9 per cent this year, andthe government facing a €1bn ($1.4bn, £850m) budget shortfall, Mr Lupuadmits the next government will face an “unpleasant” task.

Hesays this underlines the need for a “credible” government able tonegotiate foreign support. The IMF is waiting in the wings, but withouta government to talk to, it is unlikely to unveil a package before theend of the year. Loan deals have been signed with Russia and China, butthe money has yet to arrive.

“No investment [means] no jobs. Nojobs means people are leaving this country,” he said. “We must open upthe economy and lure investors.”