Part of Romania during the interwar period, Moldova was incorporated into the Soviet Union at the close of World War II. Although the country has been independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Nistru River supporting a Transnistrian separatist region composed of a Slavic majority population (mostly Ukrainians and Russians), but with a sizeable ethnic Moldovan minority. One of the poorest nations in Europe, Moldova became the first former Soviet state to elect a communist, Vladimir VORONIN, as its president in 2001. VORONIN served as Moldova's president until he resigned in September 2009, following the opposition's gain of a narrow majority in July parliamentary elections and the Communist Party's (PCRM) subsequent inability to attract the three-fifths of parliamentary votes required to elect a president. Four Moldovan opposition parties formed a new coalition, the Alliance for European Integration (AEI), which has acted as Moldova's governing coalition since. Moldova experienced significant political uncertainty between 2009 and early 2012, holding three general elections and numerous presidential ballots in parliament, all of which failed to secure a president. Following November 2010 parliamentary elections, a reconstituted AEI-coalition consisting of three of the four original AEI parties formed a government, and in March 2012 was finally able to elect an independent as president.
president elected by Parliament for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 16 March 2012 (next to be held in March 2016); note - prime minister designated by the president upon consultation with Parliament; within 15 days from designation, the prime minister-designate must request a vote of confidence from the Parliament regarding his/her work program and entire cabinet; the prime minister and Cabinet received a vote of confidence 30 May 2013
Nicolae TIMOFTI elected president; parliamentary votes - 62 of 101 votes Iurie LEANCA designated prime minister; parliamentary votes of confidence - 58 of 101
unicameral Parliament or Parlamentul (101 seats; members elected on an at-large basis by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
last held on 28 November 2010 (next to be held in 2014); note - this was the third parliamentary election in less than two years; the earlier parliaments (elected 5 April 2009 and 29 July 2009) were dissolved after they could not agree on a presidential candidate
percent of vote by party - PCRM 39.3%, PLDM 29.4%, PD 12.7%, PL 10%, other 8.6%; seats by party - PCRM 42, PLDM 32, PD 15, PL 12; note - in November of 2011, 3 legislators defected from the Communist Party (PCRM) and voted with the PLDM, PD, and PL governing coalition - termed the Alliance for European Integration (AEI) - to reach a 62-seat majority sufficient to elect a new president; the 3 former PCRM legislators are now aligned with the Party of Socialists, and in 2012 an additional 5 legislators defected from the PCRM; 1 PLDM legislator also defected and is independent
highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of a chief judges, 3 deputy-chief judges, 45 judges, and 7 assistant judges); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president and 6 judges)
note - the Constitutional Court is autonomous to the other branches of government; the Court interprets the Constitution and reviews the constitutionality of parliamentary laws and decisions, decrees of the president, and acts of the government.
judge selection and term of office:
Supreme Court of Justice judges appointed by Parliament upon the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Magistracy; all judges serve 4-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court judges appointed 2 each by Parliament, the Moldovan president, and the Higher Council of Magistracy; court president elected by other court judges for a 3-year term; other judges appointed for 6-year terms
Courts of Appeal; Court of Business Audit; municipal courts
three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red; emblem in center of flag is of a Roman eagle of gold outlined in black with a red beak and talons carrying a yellow cross in its beak and a green olive branch in its right talons and a yellow scepter in its left talons; on its breast is a shield divided horizontally red over blue with a stylized aurochs head, star, rose, and crescent all in black-outlined yellow; based on the color scheme of the flag of Romania - with which Moldova shares a history and culture - but Moldova's blue band is lighter; the reverse of the flag does not display any coat of arms
note:one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides - the others are Paraguay and Saudi Arabia
Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe despite recent progress from its small economic base. With its moderate climate and good farmland, Moldova's economy relies heavily on its agriculture sector, featuring fruits, vegetables, wine, and tobacco. With few natural energy resources, Moldova imports almost all of its energy supplies from Russia and Ukraine. Moldova's dependence on Russian energy is underscored by an estimated $4.3 billion debt to Russian natural gas supplier Gazprom due largely to unreimbursed natural gas consumption in the separatist Transnistria region. Previous Russian decisions to ban Moldovan wine and agricultural products, coupled with their decision to double the price Moldova paid for Russian natural gas and the large debt continue to hamper economic growth. Moldova also depends heavily on the annual $1 billion in remittances from the estimated one million Moldovans working in Europe and former Soviet Bloc countries. During the global financial crisis in 2009, Moldova experienced a 6% contraction of its GDP, a shrinkage due to increased unemployment and decrease in remittances. To stabilize the country, the IMF allocated $186 million to Moldova to cover its immediate budgetary needs in the fall of 2009, and the Moldovan Government agreeing with the IMF to a new program worth $574 million. In 2010, an upturn in the world economy boosted GDP growth to about 7% and inflation to more than 7%. Economic reforms have been slow because of corruption and strong political forces backing government controls. Nevertheless, the government's primary goal of EU integration has resulted in some market-oriented progress. The granting of EU trade preferences has encouraged higher growth rates, but the agreements are unlikely to serve as a panacea, given the extent to which export success depends on higher quality standards and other factors. The economy had modest growth in 2011, expanding by 6.8%. However, in 2012, with the Euro crisis and a devastating drought, Moldova's GDP stalled at an estimated 0.3% growth over 2011. Moldova's economic future remains vulnerable to political uncertainty, weak administrative capacity, vested bureaucratic interests, higher fuel prices and the concerns of foreign investors as well as the presence of an illegal separatist regime in Moldova's Transnistria region.
general assessment: poor service outside Chisinau; some modernization is under way
multiple private operators of GSM mobile-cellular telephone service are operating; GPRS system is being introduced; a CDMA mobile telephone network began operations in 2007; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity 100 per 100 persons
country code - 373; service through Romania and Russia via landline; satellite earth stations - at least 3 (Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik) (2011)
state-owned national radio-TV broadcaster operates 2 TV and 2 radio stations; a total of nearly 40 terrestrial TV channels and some 50 radio stations are in operation; Russian and Romanian channels also are available (2007)
Moldova and Ukraine operate joint customs posts to monitor the transit of people and commodities through Moldova's break-away Transnistria region, which remains under the auspices of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe-mandated peacekeeping mission comprised of Moldovan, Transnistrian, Russian, and Ukrainian troops
limited cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis, mostly for CIS consumption; transshipment point for illicit drugs from Southwest Asia via Central Asia to Russia, Western Europe, and possibly the US; widespread crime and underground economic activity