Moldova passes divisive election law amid protests
22 July, 2017
Moldova's parliament voted last Thursday to change the country's electoral system, as thousands of opposition activists massed outside against the overhaul, news wires reported. PM Pavel Filip pushed to replace the proportional electoral system with a mixed one which will let voters cast their ballot for constituency candidates as well as party lists.
Opponents said bringing in first-past-the-post voting will squeeze out smaller parties and benefit the two main political players - the ruling pro-Western Democratic Party and the opposition pro-Moscow Socialists. Both parties have backed the changes in Europe's poorest country, where the EU and Russia compete for influence. The Venice Commission has also raised concerns, saying individual constituency MPs could come under pressure from business interests.
Some protesters shouted “down with the mafia” as the measures passed with 74 votes in the 101-seat parliament. Small parties accused the Democratic Party of colluding with the Socialists to squeeze out other groups. Moldova goes to the polls next year, where the ruling coalition expects a tough contest with Socialists.