Moldova – Heading for semi-presidentialism again?

I have not been following events in Moldova. So, it came as a complete surprise to me that the country may be on the verge of adopting a constitutional amendment that would return it to semi-presidentialism.

As I understand it, the situation goes like this. There were two parliamentary elections in 2009. The first, in April, returned a parliament in which the communists had a majority. However, they were unable to win the three-fifths majority in parliament that is required to elect a new president. As a result, the parliament was dissolved and there was a second election in July. This election returned a three-party anti-communist coalition. Again, though, no candidate has been able to obtain the three-fifths majority that is needed to be elected president. The parliament could not be dissolved for a second time in 2009, but there is the potential for a new dissolution some time this year. The problem, though, is that the new parliament will probably face the same problem of being unable to elect a president.

This is where a return to semi-presidentialism comes in. The government has proposed a series of constitutional reforms, one of which would restore the direct election of the president. The opposition communists had opposed the government’s suite of reforms. However, RFE/RL is now reporting that they may support the direct election of the president if the rest of the reform package is dropped. The Infotag News Agency suggests that the communists are not quite ready for such an amendment yet, not least because the likely government candidate for the presidency seems to have moved ahead in the polls. However, it is clear that a return to semi-presidentialism is possible.

I will be following Moldova more closely from now on.

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