Cities in MOLDOVA
On 27 August 1991, the Presidential Republic of Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union and became a sovereign state. The Communist Party was banned. In May 1991, the name of the new state had already changed from Socialist Soviet Republic of Moldova to Republic of Moldova. This secession led to increasing tensions between the ethnic Romanian majority and the non-Romanian minorities in the republic. On 27 February 1994, parliamentary elections were held for the first time, which were won by the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova, a turning point in Moldovan politics.
On 28 July 1994, the Moldovan parliament adopted a new constitution, which came into force on 27 August. In this new constitution Moldova is described as an independent, democratic and neutral country. Moldovan, written in the Latin alphabet, is the official language, but Russian and other languages may also be used. Another provision in the new constitution is that no foreign military troops may reside on Moldovan territory. Moldova is a democracy with a unicameral parliament. When the parliament is not in session, a presidium takes care of its business. The parliament has 104 members elected by universal suffrage for four years. Any voter aged eighteen and over can also be elected to parliament. The parliament meets twice a year for a long time, from February to the end of July and from September to the end of December. There is a 4% electoral threshold for political parties before they can take a seat in the Moldovan Parliament.
The parliament is headed by a president and two vice-presidents who are elected by the parliament. The head of state is the president, who shares executive power with his ministers. The president elected for four years must be at least 35 years old, have lived in Moldova for at least 10 years and speak Moldovan. The President nominates the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers who are approved by the Parliament. Among other things, the president is also the commander of the armed forces. Moldova is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the NATO Partnership for Peace. Moldova is administratively divided into forty ratoons (raioane), just as it was in the Soviet era. Each ratoon is governed by a locally elected council. Chisinau, Balti, Tighina and Tiraspol are appointed state municipalities and fall directly under the national administration. For the current political situation see chapter history.
Gagauzia and Transnistria are autonomous regions.
In August 1991, Transnistria proclaimed independence, which the Moldovan government, of course, annulled. They even elected their own president and parliament, neither of which was recognised by the government. In August 1994, the Moldovan Parliament ratified a new constitution in which Transnistria was granted far-reaching autonomy in regional matters.
Transnistria is situated on a narrow strip of land along the east bank of the river Nistru. Its approximately 700,000 inhabitants are 25% ethnic Russians, 40% ethnic Moldovans and 28% Ukrainians. Transnistria does have its own currency, its own police force and a 5000-strong army. It also has its own (unofficial) borders controlled by Transnistrian border guards. Its main cities are Tiraspol and Tighina, better known by its Russian name Bendery.
The economy of Transnistria is at a very low level despite the fact that about 40% of Moldova's industrial potential is located in the capital Tiraspol. Inflation is sky-high and the local currency, the Trans-Dniester rouble, is virtually worthless. The average salary is around Fl. 125 a month. The state often cannot pay its civil servants.
The official languages in Transnistria are Russian, Moldovan and Ukrainian. Students and pupils are taught in Russian at universities and schools. Local governments and most official institutions also work with the Russian language. All street signs are in Russian or in the Cyrillic alphabet.
Gagauzia (officially Gagauz Yeri) is an autonomous self-governing republic. This status was approved by the Moldovan government in December 1994. Gagauzia has its own legislative assembly, the "Baskani", which is autonomous in regional affairs. At the national level, Gagauzia is represented by the elected head (Baskan) of the assembly, who has a permanent seat in the Moldovan national parliament. The Legislative Assembly consists of 35 members elected for four years. The Gagauzian Parliament is headed by a governor who is also a member of Moldova's national cabinet. It does not seek total independence because the Gagauzian region is too weak economically to pursue an independent economic course.
The capital of Gagauzia is Comrat and the republic is divided into three districts: Comrat, Ceadar-Linga and Vulcanesti. The Gagauz are Turkish dialect-speaking Christians whose Muslim ancestors fled in the 18th century during the Turkish-Russian wars. They were allowed to remain in the current area provided they converted to Christianity. Gagauzia has about 155,000 inhabitants, which is about 3.5% of Moldova's total population. Since 3 October 1995, the republic has had its own flag, its own police force, weekly newspapers written in Gagauzian and a university in Comrat with the help of Turkish funds. Students are educated in Gagauzian, Romanian and Moldavian.
In the decades before independence, the education system was almost accessible to the entire population. At the beginning of the twentieth century, illiteracy among the rural population was still quite widespread. In 1992, only 8% of the population was illiterate. In 1990, an average of six years of schooling had been completed and only 30% of the population over the age of 15 had completed secondary education. Under the Soviet education system, there were Romanian-speaking, Russian-speaking and some mixed schools.
The current school system in Moldova provides for ten years of basic education and then the possibility of attending technical school or studying at higher education. In the early 1990s, the Romanian language was reintroduced in schools and lessons in Romanian literature and history were taught. The education systems of Romania and Moldova are strongly interconnected. For example, several thousand Moldovan students study in Romania and the Romanian government donated textbooks to Moldovan schools to replace the Russian textbooks.
Higher education had already become increasingly important under the industrialised and more complex Soviet regime. In 1940, there were still 10 students per 10,000 people studying; by 1992, the figure had risen to 120 per 10,000 people. At the beginning of 1995, Moldova had ten institutes of higher education, four of which started after independence.
Williams, N. / Romania & Moldova
Belarus & Moldova : country studies
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