Moldova. In February, Prime Minister Ion Ciubuc resigned
as he considered it impossible to keep the rival parties in
the coalition together. After just over a month of cow
trading, Deputy Prime Minister Ion Sturza succeeded in
forming a new coalition government, which was approved by
Parliament with 57 votes to 37. The economically friendly
Sturza led a center-right government with the Movement for a
Democratic and Prosperous Moldova, the Renewal Party and
Countryaah official website, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) declared in August
that M. could issue parts of a loan approved three years
earlier. The condition, however, was that the economic
reforms went according to plan. The IMF was satisfied with
the privatization process, but expressed concern over the
country's high national debt and the delays in the payment
of the foreign debt. In early November, the IMF declared
that the wine and tobacco industry must be privatized and
the budget revised in order for the loan to be triggered.
The IMF called on Parliament to approve the proposals that
had previously been rejected. Ion Sturza threatened with the
government's departure if the IMF's terms were not approved.
Parliament voted against the proposal and the IMF decided to
freeze the loan. The government faced mistrust in
Parliament, lost the vote and was forced to resign.
It proved difficult to gather support for a new
government leader. The president gave the assignment to
Valerij Babutsak, but Parliament voted him down. In early
December, Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin was given
the assignment instead, but he also did not get enough
support in Parliament. Moldova thus went on a politically and
financially troubled winter. Because the country did not pay
its bills, Russian gas giant Gazprom had halved the
deliveries to Moldova.
In November, the Russian army began to withdraw old
Soviet weapons arsenal from Transnistria, where large arms
stocks remained after the Soviet Union's dissolution and Moldova's
independence in 1991. At the OSCE summit in Istanbul, the
Russian Federation promised to withdraw all its troops from
Moldova at the latest at the end of 2002.