The exit polls published late on Sunday night showed a collapse in the communist vote, to as low as 26%. It seemed that Moldovans had finally woken up to the true nature of the party to which they had entrusted their government. Was this the national re-awakening we had been hoping for? Were the Moldovan people finally taking responsibility for their own future?
Prima facie, the answer is no. The polls were out by a country mile and 40% of the electorate turned out and masochistically asked the Communists to once again destroy the country's future. To non-communists this was incomprehensible - how could anyone vote for the communists knowing of their lies and crimes? The situation reminded me of the 1996 election in Russia, when I asked a Russian friend why anybody would vote for Zhirinovsky. His reply: "Only an idiot would vote for Zhirinovsky. We have a lot of idiots."
Take a closer look at the results, however, and the picture improves somewhat.
- At 39.3%, fewer than 2 in 5 Moldovans now support the communists. They can no longer claim to speak for the country.
- They have lost seven percentage points of support and six seats. That's a stinging rebuke of all of the boycotts and other nonsense that they have been peddling.
- For the first time this century the Communists have been beaten in several raions by another party
- The communists are in a secular decline. It's slower than we would like, but at this rate they'll decline to 15% or so by the next scheduled election in four years' time.
- Russian fascists such as Selin and Klimenko have been shown to have next to zero support. They speak for no-one.
- The electorate showed wisdom in ignoring the side-shows and focussing their votes on the four main parties.
- The 'liberal vote' (PL +PLDM + AMN + MAE + PNL) has broken the 40% barrier and stands at 43%, well in excess of the 39.3% won by the communists.
- It's highly likely that, after a whole lot of pompous grandstanding from the Democrats, the AIE will be reformed, this time with a comfortable majority in parliament.
So there you have it; a glass half full and a good result under the circumstances.
PS: At the time of writing there are a couple of rumours circulating.
- The first has the PD going into coalition with the PCRM. Lupu would be president, Dodon prime minister and Muntean speaker. This would of course be a disaster, and would signal an end to Moldova's hopes of becoming a normal country. Happily I don't think this idea has legs as Moldova is dependent on international financing, which would dry up under a communist government.
- The second, more, credible rumour has Vlad Pafotniuc negotiatng the defection of several communist deputies to the Democrat Party, in order to facilitate the election of a President.