Young Moldovan voters get the last tweet
Youth-driven effort to unseat Moldova's Communist Party succeeds in its second attempt.
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Despite their victory in April's elections, the Communists faltered and proved unable to muster the 61 parliamentary votes required to elect a replacement for outgoing leader Vladimir Voronin, who has held Moldova on a generally pro-Russian foreign policy course since coming to power in 2001.Skip to next paragraph
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'Twitter Revolution made the difference'
The public discontent aroused and publicized by the April street revolt may have been the decisive factor in hobbling the Communists and compelling them to agree to fresh elections, say some analysts.
"The Twitter Revolution made the difference," says Sam Greene, deputy director of the Moscow Carnegie Center. "One of the key lessons here is that in this modern information world, it's very difficult to rig an election. Even in Europe's poorest country people have access to all sorts of unofficial sources of news and information."
But Moldova isn't out of the woods yet. The Communists will remain a powerful force and the liberal parties, who have many disagreements of their own, may have difficulty forming a government or finding a mutually acceptable figure to replace President Voronin.
And a pro-Western government might find a $500 million loan offer from Russia and $1 billion loan offer from China, both currently being negotiated with the Communists, taken off the table.
Moldova's politics 'more competitive' than most ex-Soviet states
Moldova's average monthly income is just $350 and the tiny country's gross domestic product is projected by the International Monetary Fund to plummet by as much as 9 percent this year.
The Transdniestr Republic, which is effectively under Russian control, also remains a key impediment to any effort to move Moldova into closer alignment with the West. Moscow has used breakaway regions as a means of reining in other post-Soviet countries, particularly Georgia.
"Moldova's political forces are going to need to find some sort of accommodation," says Mr. Greene. "No one will want to have another election."
He says it's likely that a compromise will be found. "Moldova is one of the more competitive political environments in the former Soviet Union, it's got a basically democratic system, and I wouldn't underestimate the potential for pragmatism."