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Comparative Politics II

The Gagauz minority in the Republic of Moldavia

The census of 2004 recorded 147,500 Gagauz of a total population of 4,320,000, population
concentrated in the ATU Gagauzia situated in the South-East of the Republic of Moldavia, at the border with
Ukraine, in the Odessa region.
According to statistics, the region has a population of 155.646 (4,6% of the Moldavian total
population, excepting the population from Transnistria), out of which 133,477 Gagauz, 12,702 Moldavians,
7811 Bulgarians, 3882 Russians, 3710 Ukrainians.
Out of the inhabiting population, 93% of the population is of Orthodox religion. They are either
Christianized and Bulgarianized Turks or linguistically Turkicized Christian Bulgarians which speak the
north-western dialect of Turkish with many Slavic, particularly Bulgarian and lately Russian, additions.
The Gagauz claim that they migrated to Bessarabia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth
century. Only a handful now remain in their original area of settlement, the western shores of the Black Sea
(Romania and Bulgaria). With the annexation of Bessarabia to Russia, the Gagauz settled in southern
Bessarabia as privileged colonists.
The autonomous administrative unit of Gagauzia has a special statute, being the result of the
autodetermination of the Gagauz minority of Moldavia, and is an inalienable part of the Republic of
Moldavia.
Article 111 of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldavia states that Gagauzia is an administrative
unit which has the right to independently be in charge, in the limits of its competences and in the interest of
the whole population, of the political, economical and cultural issues of the region and on the territory of the
ATU Gagauzia all rights and liberties granted by the Moldavian constitution and its laws are guaranteed by
the Moldavian institutions present in the region.
The Gagauz region, counting three rayons: Comrat, Ceadîr-Lunga, Vulcăneşti acquired its autonomy
after a long period of civil disrupt, emerging before the fall of the Soviet Union.
Gagauz movements argued long before for cultural and political autonomy, but because of the Law
on the Spoken Languages from 1990 which was interpreted as discriminatory by the Gagauz political circles,
the struggle emerged.
The conflict intensified once the popular Gagauz movement “Gagauz-halkî” was disolved because of
its struggle for autonomy and of what was considered a lack of respect towards the Moldavian constitution.
It is only until 1994 that the Constitution grants autonomy to certain regions of the Republic of
Moldavia, and through Law nr. 344-XIII the special juridical statute of Gagauzia is established.
In 1998 the Popular Assembly of Gagauzia adopts the Regulation of Gagauzia as the local law to
produce its effects of the territory of the autonomous region.
The region is administrated by the Popular Assembly led by a Baskan.
The Assembly has competences in adopting normative acts with compulsory execution, dwelling
with finding solutions for the territorial organization of the region, participation at the promotion of the
internal and external politics of the Republic in issues that concern the interests of Gagauzia, the
establishment of the organization and activity of the authorities of the local public administration and the
associations of citizens, excepting the parties and other social and political organizations, the organization of
elections in the Popular Assembly and the approval of the Central Electoral Commission, the exercising of
the right to legislative initiative in the Moldavian Parliament.
The composition of the Popular Assembly is of 35 deputies elected by a nominally vote for a 4 years
term, the quality of deputy in the Popular Assembly of Gagauzia pertaining to any Moldavian citizen with
electoral rights which is 21 years old and has his residence on the territory of the electoral circumscription
that he wishes to represent.
At the elections for the Popular Assembly of Gagauzia the candidates may be political parties and
social and political organizations, according to law and their statutes, the electoral blocks registered to the
Central Electoral Commission and the Moldavian citizens inhabitants of Gagauzia, provided they are
supported by a high number of voters.

The presidents of the Popular assembly were:


Name From Until
Petru Paşalî october 1995 1999
Mihail Kendighelean 1999 23 may 2002
Ivan Kristioglo 23 may 2002 20 december 2003
Stepan Esir 20 december 2003 16 march 2008
Ana Harlamenco 31 july 2008 present

The candidates for the elections of 2008 were 161 in number and represented:
• Independent candidates- 81
• Partidul Comuniştilor din Republica Moldova - 26
• Mişcarea social-politică Ravnopravie - 11
• Partidul Social Democrat din Moldova - 11
• Partidul Democrat din Moldova - 10
• Partidul Agrar din Moldova - 6
• Alianţa "Moldova Noastră" - 5
• Mişcarea social-politică "Acţiunea Europeană" - 5
• Partidul Popular Republican - 3
• Partidul Socialist din Moldova - 2
• Partidul Umanist din Moldova - 1

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