Moldovan Election: "The Power is in Our Hands"
Chişinău, Republic of Moldova, April 2009- "On this day, and this day only, the power is in our hands," Corneliu Rosca said as he prepared to vote in Chişinău on Sunday. Rosca represents the new face of democracy in the Republic of Moldova as it seeks closer integration with the European Union. Video: Moldovan Student Votes Video: At the Polls
At 19 years of age, Rosca is just old enough to vote. A political science student, he also understands the importance of democratic participation in one of the poorest countries in Europe, one with an average annual income of roughly $2,500.
As a young Moldovan, Rosca knows he too plays a role in shaping the Republic of Moldova's future.
The April 5 vote determines the Republic of Moldova's parliament, which in turn decides the Eastern European nation's next president. The current president, Vladimir Voronin, completes his term on April 7 of this 2009 and term limits prevent him from continuing in office.
"It's our way to show we have a choice to be considered, an opinion to make," Rosca said, adding he has little patience for friends that do not vote or do not care about the election.
International organizations such as the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme have also tried to make clear the importance of democratic involvement.
With the help of EU funds, the UNDP has partnered with the Central Electoral Commission to provide electoral support. Activities have included voter registration drives, civic education campaigns and advice on the electoral process and compliance with international standards. The projects are part of a broader goal of linking citizens -including Moldovan emigrants- to democratic development in the Republic of Moldova.
Early returns on these efforts show progress.
On April 5, voters brought children with them to the polls to watch democracy in action. More crucially, more then 50 percent of registered voters also took part, thereby validating the election.
Rosca is among those who hope the April 5 election is a promising sign of the future of the Republic of Moldova.
"For a society in transition, it significant we exercise our right to vote," he said. "It's more than a moral obligation for us, it's our chance to take part in the political process. This way we can be part of the solution, not part of the problem."