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BALKANS > Moldova to prohibit Communist insignia

CHISINAU - Agence France-Presse

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Voronin, Communist party leader, gestures during a press conference in Chisinau. EPA photo

Voronin, Communist party leader, gestures during a press conference in Chisinau. EPA photo

The Parliament in ex-Soviet Moldova voted to ban Communist insignia like the hammer-and-sickle on July 12, a move that would force its main opposition Communist Party to change symbols.

The pro-EU liberal majority in Parliament voted in favor of the hugely contentious bill proposed by former president and vehement anti-Communist Mihai Ghimpu to condemn the crimes of Communism and ban its insignia. “We consider it our duty to condemn the crimes that took place in our country,” said Ghimpu. “The Communist Party was the organizer of violent collectivization of agriculture, mass deportations and organized famine. The Communists methodically murdered people and destroyed our culture, traditions, history and language,” he added.

 The Communist Party, which has 36 deputies in Parliament, did not even take part in the vote and walked out as a sign of protest. Fifty-six deputies from the coalition voted for, two abstained and six voted against. Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin warned his foes that they risked splitting Moldovan society as many people valued the Communist era and had fought in World War II under its symbols. “This is no longer a Parliament but a madhouse,” he said.

The Moldovan Communist Party uses the hammer-and-sickle all over its insignia such as on its website and its election materials. The law still needs to be signed by President Nicolae Timofti but Voronin expressed hope that it would be overturned by the constitutional court.

The election of Timofti in March ended a political stalemate that left the country without a full-time head of state for almost three years and the ruling coalition now appears keen to impose its stamp on society.

July/14/2012

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