Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Moldova’s political rights rating improved from 4 to 3 due to parliamentary elections that resulted in a rotation of power between the long-ruling Communist Party and a coalition of opposition parties.
The ruling Communist Party won April parliamentary elections amid claims of fraud, triggering antigovernment violence by young protesters in the capital. Police allegedly responded with severe beatings and other human rights abuses. The Communists, with their narrow legislative majority, were unable to elect a new president, leading to repeat parliamentary elections in July. An alliance of opposition parties won the vote and formed a new government, but they were also unable to muster the three-fifths majority required to elect a president, meaning a third round of parliamentary elections would have to be held in 2010.
After convening in September, the new AIE-led Parliament began repairing relations with Bucharest. Voronin had blamed the April rioting on Romania, expelling the country’s ambassador and imposing visa requirements on Romanian travelers; Romania had responded by making it easier for Moldovans to obtain Romanian citizenship. Among other steps, the AIE quickly reversed the visa rule and overturned a law barring public servants from holding dual citizenship.
Moldova is an electoral democracy. Voters elect the 101-seat unicameral Parliament by proportional representation for four-year terms. Since 2000, Parliament has elected the president, who serves for up to two four-year terms. His choice for prime minister must then be approved by Parliament.
Although the constitution guarantees religious freedom, the government has shown its preferences through the selectiveenforcement of registration rules. A law passed in 2007 banned “abusive proselytism” and denied legal status to groups with fewer than 100 members. It also acknowledged the “special significance and primary role” of the Orthodox Church; the PCRM government clearly favored the Russian-backed Moldovan Orthodox Church and showed hostility toward the Romanian-backed Bessarabian Orthodox Church. Moldovan authorities do not restrict academic freedom, but bribery and dismal salaries in the education system remain problems.
The numerical ratings and status listed above do not reflect conditions in Transnistria, which is examined in a separate report.