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CHISINAU, November 23 (Itar-Tass) - Several days still to go before the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius the Moldovan opposition will stage a march on Chisinau on
Saturday to demand the resignation of the pro-European government and early elections.
The organizer is the Communist Party, whose leader, former president Vladimir Voronin, has urged his supporters in all areas of the country to take part in the event.
Several weeks ago, on November 3, the member parties of the ruling Pro-European Coalition held a rally by many thousands in support of the European integration policy. With just one week left before the Vilnius summit, where Moldova hopes to initial association and free trade agreements with the European Union, the attitude to this event in Moldovan society is mixed. As the latest opinion polls have found, the number of supporters of integration with the EU is approximately the same as that of the advocates of joining the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
“Moldova should follow in Ukraine’s footsteps and suspend the preparations for concluding an agreement with the EU,” Voronin told Itar-Tass.
He said Kiev’s decision “makes the project of economic and political emergence of the post-Soviet space an absolutely competitive political choice, which would create positive conditions for the development of the economic and humanitarian sphere and eliminate a number of risks.”
The authorities have a different opinion.
“We respect Ukraine’s decision to suspend preparations for signing the association agreement with the EU. But we have made our own choice and it remains unchanged. It is the model of European integration as a priority model of development. We believe that the association with the EU does not run counter to relations with the CIS countries, which we shall keep developing in a constructive fashion,” Prime Minister Iurie Leanca told Itar-Tass.
The authorities of the Russian-speaking Gagauz autonomy have been eyeing the surge of emotion over the EU association issue with alarm. The members of the Gagauz legislature have decided to call a consultative referendum on accession to the Customs Union on February 2, 2014. And the authorities in the breakaway territory of Trans-Dniestria fear that tighter migration control the EU has been pressing for would restrict the freedom of movement for the Russian and Ukrainian citizens permanently resident in the self-proclaimed republic. Also, it fears “another economic blockade” by Moldova and Ukraine, because Trans-Dniestria has set course towards closer relations with Russia and the Customs Union.
Opinion polls held on the eve of the Vilnius summit indicate that as many as 60 percent of the Moldovans are unable to offer a sensible explanation why they chose the European development vector or the Eurasian one.
“This merely shows that in our country there still is no critical mass of people who would clearly determine an acceptable way for the country to follow and proceed along that path quite consciously,” political scientist Oazu Nantoi said.