Moldova's new leader is not former Communist. He is actual Communist

Vladimir Voronin surprised everyone by winning over 50 percent of the vote in Sunday's parliamentary elections. The final results will give his Communists 70 percent of parliament's 101 seats. The next surprise came just a few hours later - when Mr. Voronin, 59, said he would call a national referendum on the ``inevitable'' decision of whether to enter a union with Russia and Belarus. Mr. Voronin seemed uncommitted ahead of the election about just how much democracy he would allow as president, prime minister or leader of the dominant parliamentary party. He said he favours state television that represents government views. And he was evasive about where the economy in one of Europe's poorest countries should be going. ``If it is in the state's interest to privatize we will privatize, if it is in the state's interest to nationalize, we will nationalize,'' he said. Mr. Voronin was Interior Minister - the top police official - from 1989 to 1990 in Moldova when it was still a Soviet republic, leaving that job with the rank of general. In 1990 he studied at the Police Academy of the Soviet Union. From there, he was dispatched to the Russian Interior Ministry. In 1994, he revived Moldova's Communist Party, ending a 3-year ban after the Soviet Union collapsed. Born in the village of Corjova in the Slav-dominated Trans-Dniester, he is half Moldovan and half ethnic Russian. He was a baker before becoming an economist and later pursued a career in the Soviet Communist Party. Moldovan analysts hope that Voronin, will not become an autocratic leader. ``The civil society is more developed here and there is a pro-Western trend,'' Nicolae Negru said. But outgoing parliamentary speaker Dumitru Diacov seems to be less certain. ``I keep a little hope that Moldova will not slide into authoritarian rule,'' he is quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

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