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It is a victory of the Right, rather than of the Left, that President Petru Lucinschi fears may lead to a "confrontational situation" between himself and the parliament. The main force on the Right is the Democratic Convention of Moldova (CDM), an alliance that was set up last year. Its main components are the Party of Revival and Conciliation (PRRM) and the Christian Democratic Popular Front (FPCD). Former President Mircea Snegur, who heads the PRRM, and the FPCD were bitter enemies in 1994, when Snegur opted for the road of "Moldovanism" and the FPCD remained true to its pro-Romanian, unionist stance. But Snegur's alliance with the FPCD may been seen by some observers as the "homecoming" of the former president. Leaving behind his communist identity (as chairman of the Moldovan Supreme Soviet in July 1989 and Central Committee secretary since 1985), Snegur in 1990 allied himself with the pro-independence and pro-Romanian Popular Front.

Snegur has not fully returned to a pro-Romanian unionist position, but Iurie Rosca, the co-chairman of the CDM, has apparently decided to follow the "Romanian model" in setting up the convention. Like the Democratic Convention of Romania, the CDM sees its main purpose in removing the "vestiges of communism" and is therefore willing to postpone resolving differences among its component parties or leaders. For the time being, the FPCD is not promoting reunification with Romania as a main priority, though the CDM wants closer links with Bucharest and wants to step up efforts to eventually gain entry to the EU. It also insists that it is the only political alternative that can guarantee accelerating the privatization process and cutting the umbilical cord that links President Lucinschi (a former Central Committee secretary in Moscow under Mikhail Gorbachev) to the CIS and Russia.

Other parties on the Right of the political spectrum are the Party of Democratic Forces (PFD), led by Valeriu Matei, and the Alliance of Democratic Forces Bloc (BAFD), set up by the National Peasant Party and the National Liberal Party. Their electoral chances are uncertain. The first CURS-IMAS poll put support for the PFD at 15 percent, the second at 16 percent. Support for the BAFD dropped from 11 percent to 6 percent over the past two months, according to the CURS-IMAS surveys. The Opinia poll also credited the PFD with 15 percent, but put the BAFD below the electoral threshold.

The CDM, meanwhile, has been running a close second to the Communists in the opinion polls. It gained 18 percent support in the first CURS-IMAS poll, 19 percent in the second, and 20 percent in the Opinia survey. The fact that the CDM has moderated its position on unification with Romania may well explain why it leads the field among rightist parties. Polls in Moldova have consistently shown that for both historical and more immediate reasons, a solid majority of voters do not favor reunification. And while the separatist Transdniestrian demands find little backing on the left bank of the Dniester River, Moldovans are in general willing to go a long way toward accommodating the fears of the non-Romanian (non-"Moldovan") minorities, whether they are Russian, Ukrainian, Gagauz, or any other.

For lack of a better definition, parties backing President Lucinschi can be considered "centrist". The Center is aware of the need to promote reforms but at the same time realizes that many voters oppose them. It also builds on Lucinschi's popularity and the widespread belief that his links to Moscow will ultimately bring about a settlement of the Transdniestrian conflict whereby the country's territorial integrity would be preserved and the large population of Slavs and particularly Russians (who constitute nearly 13 percent of the population) would be accommodated.

The pro-presidential For a Democratic Prosperous and Moldova Bloc (PMDP), set up immediately after Lucinschi's victory in the late 1996 presidential elections and led by Dumitru Diacov, is the most prominent among the centrist parties. Premier Ion Ciubuc, whom Lucinschi has named as his preferred candidate for the premiership after the elections, is a PMDP member. Support for the PMDP has soared from 9 percent to 19 percent in just one month, according to the two CURS-IMAS polls (the Opinia poll credited it with some 10 percent backing). The PMDP, as well as other pro-presidential lists (which, unlike it, may fail to pass the 4 percent election threshold), favors transforming the system from a parliamentary democracy into a presidential one-- a rather dangerous proposition in a state lacking strong democratic traditions.

Perhaps the most colorful of the centrist formations is the Party of Social and Economic Justice. Last week, 16 would-be candidates on the list headed by Maricica Levitschi left the party in protest at her apparent attempts to bribe the electorate by distributing humanitarian aid received from abroad, including condoms and contraceptive pills. They also objected to the fact that Levitschi had forced them to swear on the Bible everlasting political fidelity. She should have known that there is no such thing in politics and least of all in Moldovan politics, where everything is still in flux.