The 1994 Elections
Campaigning for the February 27, 1994, parliamentary elections revolved around economic reform, competing strategies for resolving the separatist crises, and relations with both the CIS and Romania. Debate on the issues of moving to a market economy, privatization, land reform, and foreign policy was polarized.
The results of the election quickly changed the course of Moldovan politics and stood in sharp contrast to the results of the 1990 election. Nationalist and pro-Romanian forces were rejected overwhelmingly in favor of those backing Moldova's independence and in favor of accommodating ethnic minorities.
Under laws passed in preparation for the February 27, 1994, elections, the Parliament was reduced from 380 seats to a more manageable 104. Fifty of these delegates were selected from fifty newly drawn single-member districts, and the remainder were elected from larger multimember districts on the basis of proportional representation. Candidates were nominated by voters (independent candidates had to submit petitions with at least 1,000 signatures), political parties, or "sociopolitical organizations"; parties had to receive at least 4 percent of the vote to be accorded seats.
The Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova won a majority of fifty-six of the 104 seats, followed by the Yedinstvo/Socialist Bloc with twenty-eight seats. Two pro-Romanian unification parties did not do well: the Congress of Peasants and Intellectuals won eleven seats, and the CPDF won nine seats. A number of other parties did not get a high enough percentage of the popular vote to be represented in the new Parliament.
In March the chair of Parliament, Petru Lucinschi, was elected to his post, and the prime minister, Andrei Sangheli, was reappointed to his post. In April Parliament approved a new Council of Ministers, Moldova's membership in the CIS, and Moldova's signing of a CIS charter on economic union (although the country would not participate in political or military integration within the CIS). A referendum on March 6, 1994, confirmed the country's course of political independence for the future: the Moldovan electorate voted overwhelmingly for Moldova to maintain its territorial integrity.
Now that the legislative logjam was broken, Parliament was able to work on a new constitution, which it ratified on July 28 and implemented August 27, 1994. The new constitution granted substantial autonomy to Transnistria and the "Gagauz Republic" while reasserting Moldovan national identity and sovereignty. Gagauzia (in Romanian; Gagauz-Yeri, in Gagauz) would have cultural, administrative, and economic (but not territorial) autonomy and would elect a regional legislative assembly, which in turn would elect a guvernator (in Romanian; baskan, in Gagauz), who would also be a member of the Moldovan government. This was ratified by Parliament in January 1995.
Members of the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova held a cautious attitude toward marketization and privatization, leading experts to believe that progress in economic reform would be slow, but would be more consistent and better implemented than previously. The hard-line nationalists and the former communists could not vote as a majority to block progress.
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