3 – What do You know about Moldova?
BSSB.BE bti-project.org 12.10.2016
5 | Political and Social Integration
The proportional electoral system has encouraged the creation of a strong party system. However, the lack of tradition in party democracy has proven to be a key problem in establishing a truly representative party system. Most parties are established around leaders and very few parties have survived the transition from one leader to another. Democracy within the parties is not a common element of party life in Moldova and important political figures in parties quite often leave because of democracy deficits within the party or conflicts with the party leader. In recent years, this has been the case mainly within the Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the Party of Communists.
As the law on public funding of political parties was not adopted in the final reading, the survival of parties greatly depends on funds that are usually provided by the local tycoons. In some cases, suspicions over external funding exist. As such, the parties often defend the interests of their sponsor and the connection to ordinary members or representation of different groups of society is quite weak.
The increasing division of parties in Moldova is broadly geopolitical as most parties are divided into pro-European and pro-Russian sides, reflecting the identity division within Moldova. Some minor parties still advocate for unification with Romania. Polarization regarding economic and social polices is underdeveloped and does not seem to play an important role during electoral campaigns.
The self-organization of society is not well-developed and is mainly concentrated in the capital, where a group of NGOs and think tanks have some access to decisionmakers. Business usually has good connections to decision-makers, but as a rule business leaders’ influence is exerted through individual well-connected politicians. State protectionism and paternalism is expected from the government by a major part of the population that still prefers the return to the Soviet system of social protection.
Trade unions exist, but have been sidelined after the collapse of the Soviet system. They currently play a weak role in representing workers’ interests. Interest groups 6 Overall, the parties and movements that reject democracy are marginal and do not enter parliament. All parties and politicians represented in state institutions officially endorse democracy and declare their commitment to democratic procedures.
However, there is still disappointment among the population with respect to the performance of democratic institutions and public institutions in general. According to the Barometer of Public Opinion survey conducted by the Institute for Public Policy in 2014, only 26% trust the government, 24% trust the parliament and the presidency, 23% trust the judicial system, and political parties received the lowest ranking of 22%. Among public authorities, the local administration has the highest level of trust with an approval rating of 55%.
At the same time, 61% of the population thinks that things in Moldova are heading in the wrong direction and only 17% believes that Moldova is governed by the will of the people. Approval of democracy 6 Political and ethnic polarization have not resulted in major cleavages or societal conflicts. Rural Moldova, in particular, has maintained a moderate tradition of communal self-help, which is a key asset in combating the hardships of transition and subsistence, as demonstrated by the mass influx of cash remittances from Moldovans working abroad. The widening gap between rural and urban Moldova, the resulting migration flows to the cities, and, most of all, the out-migration of up to one-third of the working-age population have together seriously damaged the social fabric and voluntary self-help associations in the villages. As a result, self-help networks are based on personal trust, rather than institutionalized norms and procedures. Therefore, the degree of voluntary and autonomous organization remains low.
6 | Level of Socioeconomic Development
Question Score Exclusion based on ethnicity or religion is very rare in Moldova. Exclusion is largely driven by poverty. The large size of the shadow economy and mass migration have generated social-economic imbalance in Moldova. Due to the size of the shadow economy and the quantity of remittance-based income, especially in the countryside, household incomes are often under-reported. Therefore, statistical data should be treated with caution. In recent years, good progress has been made in reducing poverty.
According to the World Bank, the poverty rate of 29.1% in 2005 had decreased to 12.7% by 2013. This is ahead of Moldova’s Millennium commitment to reduce the poverty rate to 20% by 2015. Nevertheless, the rural-urban gap has increased compared to previous years, and 77% of people living in poverty reside in rural areas (National Bureau of Statistics). In addition, these people are more vulnerable due to poor access to education and healthcare services. The huge dependence on migration causes social problems with more divided families and children that grow up without parents.
With a Human Development Index of 0.663 in 2014, Moldova ranks 114th out of 187 countries, placing it below all other European countries. Life expectancy is also among the lowest at 68.9. The Gender Inequality Index for Moldova in 2014 was 0.302, which shows a slight improvement but is still low compared to developed countries such as Slovenia. There are multiple causes for this, but among the most important is the low participation of women in the labor market. Women represent 53% of the economically inactive population.
About half have been exposed to various forms of domestic violence since the age of 15 according to 2014 Human Development Report. Moldova’s GINI Index of 30.6 is relatively good compared to other countries in the index, despite failing to reflect the disparities between rural and urban levels.
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