Moldova. In April, some 20,000 students in the capital
Chișinău protested against the cancellation of their free
public transport. During the protests, both students and
policemen were injured, and about 150 students were
arrested. After several days of demonstrations, Chișinău's
mayor declared that the city's board changed its decision
and reintroduced the free student trips. According to
COUNTRYAAH, the protests
continued for some time, with accusations against police for
violence against protesters.
When the state budget for the coming years was dealt with
in April, Parliament, as before, refused to approve the
privatization of the wine and tobacco industries. The
International Monetary Fund, the IMF, had set privatization
as a condition for triggering already approved loans. The
government thus lost important aid, and the budget suffered
a sharp deficit. Instead, it was decided to sell the state
energy and telecom companies to raise new capital.
The country's economic situation continued to be very
precarious. At least 60% of the population was estimated to
live below the poverty line. The energy shortage was
difficult, health care largely out of function and
government employees did not receive salary for several
In May, a non-binding referendum was held, with the
majority voting to make M. a presidential republic. But
during the summer, Parliament voted instead for a
constitutional amendment that gives Parliament greater
power. President Petru Lucinschi vetoed the decision. that
the president is elected by Parliament instead of in general
elections. However, Lucinschi's veto was voted down by
Parliament, and in July the president reluctantly signed the
amendment. The Constitutional Court approved a bill in July
that definitively abolished the death penalty.
At the beginning of December, Parliament rallied to elect
a new president following the constitutional amendment.
However, no candidate got the necessary qualified majority
in the first vote.
Transnistria Geography and population
Between the Dnestr River and Moldova's border with
Ukraine lies the so-called Transnistria (or Dnestr
Republic). The area proclaimed its independence from Moldova
in 1990 but has never been recognized by the outside world.
Ever since a brief civil war was fought in 1992,
negotiations have been going on about the area's future
status, but with no results.
Transnistria (or the Dnestre Republic) lies between the
Dnestr River and Moldova's border with Ukraine. Nearly
two-thirds of the population of about 505,000 are ethnic
Russians and Ukrainians. Just under a third is moldaver.
There are three official languages: Russian, Moldavian
and Ukrainian, but Russian is used in public life. The
government opposes school education in Moldavian, written
with the Latin alphabet. For this reason, the authorities
closed several Moldavian-speaking schools in the summer of