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09CHISINAU833 2009-10-26 10:41:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Chisinau
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DE RUEHCH #0833/01 2991041
R 261041Z OCT 09
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CHISINAU 000833 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/25/2019

Classified by: Ambassador Asif J. Chaudhry for
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: In an October 13 meeting with the
Ambassador, a very tired-looking ex-President
Vladimir Voronin remained stubborn in his
opposition to the candidacy of Democratic Party
presidential-hopeful Marian Lupu, who Voronin said
had "betrayed" the Communist Party. Voronin said
he was focused on preparing the Communists for
repeat elections, which he believed would likely
take place in April or May of next year. The ex-
President also suggested that while Russian policy
in Moldova was "uncoordinated," Moscow appeared to
favor Lupu's candidacy, if only to balance against
more rightist GoM leaders. End Summary.

Focused on Party Building and Polling


2. (C) In an October 13 meeting with the
Ambassador, ex-President Vladimir Voronin
explained that after eight years of focusing on
affairs of state, he finally had the time to
concentrate on the needs of his Communist Party of
Moldova (PCRM). At the moment, he was holding
party meetings throughout Moldova to discuss the
political situation; he planned to complete these
meetings by next week.

3. (C) Voronin explained that the main focus of
his party meetings in the districts was to discuss
the PCRM's stance in the presidential election.
He said he had detected no real support for Lupu
within the PCRM; in fact, voting for Lupu would
split the party. Voronin noted that in a meeting
in Nisporeni district the previous day, he had
asked directly who favored Lupu, but no one raised
their hand. He had done the same in Balti, also
without detecting any support for Lupu, and had
found no sympathy for Lupu in similar meetings
with ethnic minorities and businessmen. The
Ambassador suggested that these party members
might have been reluctant to publicly contradict
Voronin's wishes.

Lupu: No Votes for a Traitor


4. (C) Voronin explained that he had wanted to
dismiss Lupu as Speaker of Parliament before the
March 2008 PCRM Congress, when Lupu was engaged in
a fierce personal rivalry with then PM Vasile
Tarlev over who would succeed Voronin as
President. Voronin said that the Communists did
not then have the votes in Parliament to unseat
Lupu (a 2/3 majority of 67 votes is needed to
dismiss the Speaker), and in any case did not want
to force Lupu into the arms of the opposition at
that time.

5. (C) Instead, Voronin dismissed Tarlev as PM in
March 2008. Though Voronin had offered to keep
him on the PCRM team, Tarlev had chosen to go his
own way. Voronin placed Lupu in the number two
slot on the PCRM list for the April 2009
elections, a position which Voronin acknowledged
might have given the impression that Lupu would be
the party's presidential candidate. However,
Voronin claimed Lupu understood that he (Voronin)
would decide on the candidate and should not have
been shocked when he proposed then-PM Greceanii.
Voronin also complained that after Lupu and then-
Democratic Party leader Diacov came to him to
announce Lupu's intention to run with the
Democratic Party in the July repeat elections,
they had promised to negotiate with him
immediately following the elections, regardless of
outcome. Voronin lamented that Lupu "had not
behaved as a gentleman," both during the campaign
and afterwards.

6. (C) While Voronin acknowledged that Lupu's
departure was an "unexpected blow" to the PCRM,
and that Lupu was closer ideologically to the
Communists than other members of the Alliance,
support for Lupu was "completely out of the
question." Voronin said he viewed Lupu's
departure -- which he said was purely due to
personal ambition -- as a betrayal. This betrayal

CHISINAU 00000833 002 OF 002

was compounded by the fact that Lupu had broken a
promise to negotiate with the PCRM after the
election, and by the fact that Lupu had then
joined the Alliance.

Heading for Repeat Elections


7. (C) Voronin told the Ambassador that,
therefore, the country was headed for repeat
elections, which he believed would take place in
April or May of next year. He also dismissed the
Ambassador's remark that many believed the PCRM
would do worse in repeat elections, arguing
instead that the PCRM would gain ground by
focusing on the performance of the current
government (rather than being sidetracked by the
April 7 violence in its last election campaign).

What do the Russians Want?


8. (C) Moving on to the topic of the Russian
stance toward Moldova, Voronin suggested that
Russian policy at the moment was "unofficial" and
"uncoordinated" -- the left hand did not know what
the right hand was doing, as he termed it.
However, when the Ambassador suggested that Russia
now seemed to favor Lupu's candidacy, Voronin
confirmed that this did appear to be the case.
(Note: A point driven home vividly during the CIS
Summit when Medvedev held a bilateral meeting with
Lupu but refused to meet with Voronin.)

9. (C) While "no one from Russia at a high level"
had urged him to support Lupu, Voronin said he
believed the Russians "were afraid" of
Speaker/acting President Ghimpu, considered
Parliament Deputy Speaker Urechean to be "even
worse" and "linked to the Mafia," and viewed PM
Filat as "an extremist" with ties to Romania.
Thus, Voronin argued, the Russians were supporting
Lupu by default since the other options were so

10. (C) Voronin asked for the Ambassador's
opinions on why the Russians were supporting Lupu.
The Ambassador hypothesized several possible
reasons. First, the Russians might have
calculated that Lupu's leftist position suited
them more than the rightist parties in the
Alliance. Secondly, from the Russian point of
view, Lupu might appear to be a more acceptable
president than the other leaders in the Alliance.
But, the Ambassador added that only the Russians
or Mr. Lupu could elaborate on the reason for
their support for his candidacy.



11. (C) While Voronin's ability to influence
events has significantly diminished, provided that
PCRM party discipline holds, he still can deny the
Alliance the eight votes needed to elect Lupu as
President, thus forcing repeat elections.
However, this represents a gamble for Voronin, as
many observers contend that the PCRM could receive
fewer votes than they did in July. This is an
opinion apparently shared by some members of the
PCRM faction which has fueled reports of a
possible split in the party. The only real chance
for Lupu to be elected as President now lies
either in an open party split, or in Voronin
realizing that his own enlightened self interest
at this point actually requires preventing this
impending split by allowing his Party MPs to
openly vote for Lupu.