"PLEASE STAY CLOSE!"
AN INSIDE VIEW OF THE RECENT ELECTIONS IN MOLDOVA

by David Sisler

When Valeriu Ghiletchi, an evangelical believer, and a pastor of Christ the Savior Baptist church in Chisinau, began his run for Parliament in Moldova last year, he emailed updates and prayer requests to friends around the world. It was my privilege to receive his prayer letters, and to pray for his campaign. Valeriu recently graciously gave me permission to reprint them in the report which follows. With the exception of four parenthetical comments, you will read his own words about the election which beings as the election of their president, and becomes the election of the entire national assembly.

28 November 2000

Dear friends,

Thank you all for supporting in prayer our small country, which still deals with great financial problems, and, especially in these days, political problems.

A new week has begun. It seems uncertainty is the pattern for presidential elections for year 2000. The United States of America doesn't know its president yet; Romania had its election this Sunday, but still no name is officially known; Moldova is awaiting 1 December, the day when our parliament will elect the new president.

In this presidential race we have two candidates. One is from the left side, the communist party, which is forwarding Vladimir Voronin, and from the center right side, ADR, the former ruling coalition, the candidate is Pavel Barbalat. Pavel Barbalat is the chairman of the Constitutional Court (Supreme Court). He doesn't belong to any political party, which would be a good balance for our tense political situation. He is a man of law and he strongly supports the democratic reforms that have taken place in Moldova. All democratic parties will support him, but still there will be not enough votes to win the race. He will need some votes from the independent candidates, or even some communists.

I think you all understand what means for an ex-soviet country to reach democracy and then have a communist president. This might be a threat to our freedom and goals. If the new president isn't elected from the first vote, there will be the second one. If it fails too, the current president has the right to dissolve the parliament.

We ask your prayers that God will do His will and give us victory in these tough times.

Valeriu Ghiletchi

1 December 2000

Dear friends,

Thank you for your prayer support for the presidential election in Moldova. Today's election results showed that Mr. Barbalat received 37 votes and Mr. Voronin 48 votes. 15 votes were not valid. As you can see, no one received the necessary 61 votes from 101 possible votes. The result of the election was not validated because the members of the Communist Party deliberately refused to follow the procedure of the secret voting.

The next attempt to elect the president will be on Monday afternoon. Please continue to pray for our election. It seems that spiritual warfare behind the political scene brings more and more tension in the world. This requires more unity in our prayers. Let us pray for each other.

Valeriu

5 December 2000

Dear friends,

I would like to thank you again for your prayer support. Yesterday there was a new attempt in the Parliament to elect the president, but it failed again. Mr. Voronin got 50 votes and Mr. Barbalat got 35 votes.

I remind you that in order to win a candidate must receive 61 votes. Tomorrow there will be another attempt to elect the new president. If it fails again, then there will be a 15 day break. During this period of time new candidates can be registered, but so can the same old ones. It all depends on the options of the members of the Parliament. In order to become a candidate an individual must be supported at least by 15 members of Parliament.

Please, continue to pray for us. The members of the center right parties are not able to be unite. Without unity it will be difficult to overcome the communist party.

Valeriu

6 December 2000

Dear friends,

Many thanks for your prayers. As you know today there was a new attempt to elect the president. The result is very sad. Mr. Voronin got 59 votes and Mr. Barbalat got 35 votes. The leader of the Communist Party needs only 2 votes in order to win. The political situation became more critical than everybody had expected.

The next round of the election will take place on December 21 and 24. It is very difficult today to say what will be the situation like next time. It is obvious that there are some scenarios behind the scene. Some say that members of the Parliament who are afraid of the extraordinary election voted for Mr. Voronin hoping that this way they will not loose their chairs (Three weeks later, their appeasement efforts failed, as such efforts usually do, and they lost their Parliamentary seats anyway. The lion shall lie down with the lamb, the Bible says. This time lamb snuggled up to the lion or the bear, to follow Cold War symbolism and the bear ate it). Knowing that there are forces who will try to bring their own "Christmas gift", let us pray and ask God to send us on December 24 a real Christmas gift.

Valeriu

20 December 2000

Dear friends,

Each day brings us closer to the celebration of Christmas and the beginning of the third millennium. May the Lord give us joy, peace, hope and victory in these days. Without Him we can do nothing. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tomorrow, December 21, the Parliament will try again to elect the new President. The candidates are the same. Since there is a fear that Mr. Voronin will win, the leaders of the center right coalition said that their members will not participate in the election. This may lead to new Parliament election.

Thank you for your faithful prayer support.

Valeriu

31 December 2000

Dear friends,

Today was the last session for Parliament. The Constitutional Court decided that after December 21, when the Right Center parties boycotted the continuing presidential election process, conditions exist which allow the President to dissolve the Parliament. The Right Center parties did so in order to not permit Mr. Voronin, the leader of the Communist Party, to win the election. Parliament decided to postpone the presidential election until January 16, but the Court said that this decision was unconstitutional.

As you see the duel between the President and the Parliament has been decided by the Constitutional Court (A presidential election being settled by a supreme court decision. Imagine that). The President, Mr. Petru Lucinschi, will issue the decree of the dissolution of the Parliament after the Christmas holidays. Christmas is officially celebrated in Moldova on January 7. The new Parliament election will probably take place on February 25.

I face a difficult situation. I need to decide whether to continue my political journey or to take a break. I am convinced that there must be salt and light in the Parliament, but a new campaign requires a lot of efforts and support. Since the new election will take place less than in two months, I must have the answer very soon. I will appreciate your prayers and thoughts while I am looking for the right decision, decision that will be according to His will, not mine.

Yours in Christ,

Valeriu

13 January 2001

Dear friends,

Yesterday, January 12, was the official start of the new campaign. On last Friday, January 05, before I went to the Party meeting I went to my office and kneeled as usual. After the meeting I read my devotional calendar. The Scripture was 2 Corinthians 9:8 and had this comment, "Wherever God puts you, He is amply sufficient."

At the meeting I saw that there were too many people who wanted a good place on the list. I realized that it will be impossible to get any position on the list. But I left the meeting with peace and confidence that the Lord is amply sufficient. Since the door of the party list was shut, I took the decision to run as an independent candidate.

(Explanation: Political parties are allowed to have a set number of candidates for Parliament based on their relative strength. When Valeriu won his seat in Parliament during the last elections, his party was able to field, if I remember correctly, 14 candidates. He was placed several spots above that, increasing his chances for a victory. This time, such a placing was not possible, so he was left off of his party's slate).

I believe that being independent I will have the freedom to stress the role of the Gospel in solving the crisis we face now, which I am convinced is spiritual and moral first of all. So I will be able to come before people with my own political sermon.

But running as an independent will require a lot of work. Instead of 90 days this campaign will last 45 days. It makes it much more stressful. I need to collect right away 2000 signatures in order to be registered as an independent candidate. I need a strong team, good counselors and a lot of volunteers. Finances is another problem in our poor economical situation. In order to win I will need between 35,000 and 40,000 votes depending of how many people will vote on February 25.

Despite of all of these difficulties I believe that God can give us victory. If I am elected I will be the first independent candidate that was ever elected in Moldova. What a powerful testimony of Christians of Moldova this will be.

For the cause of the Kingdom with God's help and your faithful support I would like to start this new adventure. Please, pray for the needs I mentioned above. Pray for my family that God will protect us during this crucial time.

In His name,

Valeriu

22 January 2001

Dear friends,

On Friday, January 19, I was officially registered as the first independent candidate and so far the only one for this election. With God's help I was able to collect all the signatures in a very short time. Today I discussed with my team the first steps that we must take in this campaign. By the end of the week I have to print most of the materials I need for the campaign and then start traveling all across Moldova. I run nationwide.

In His service,

Valeriu

8 February 2001

Dear friends,

In less than three weeks people of Moldova will elect the new legislative body. I deeply appreciate your prayers in this critical time. The campaign is very short and tense. It keeps me very, very busy. Every day I have 3-5 meetings. On Sunday I had 7 meetings. I have to travel across the country from the very morning until the late night. I come home every night exhausted, but there is great encouragement to see that most people I meet with are willing to support me with their vote.

The situation in general is not very good. Because of this economic and political crisis, most people want to vote for the Communist Party. The situation is similar to the one when people of Israel, while in the wilderness, said to each other "We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt" (Numbers 14:4). It is sad to see how people are willing to give up their freedom and let communists have the power hoping that in this way stones will become bread. But this is a real temptation for many people.

Besides this heavy schedule and very tense situation, last Saturday my father had a heart attack. Until yesterday his situation was critical. He is a little better today, but still under intensive care in the hospital. I pray that the Lord will give me strength to overcome all these difficulties.

Please, continue to pray for me. As each day brings me closer to the election day, which is February 25, I need more strength, resources, protection, courage and faith. Please, stay close.

Valeriu

20 February 2000

Dear friends,

The last few meters are the most difficult ones. The furnace is getting hotter and hotter. It is so obvious that behind the scene of this campaign there is a spiritual battle going on. On Friday night the National TV made an announcement regarding the withdrawal of one of the candidates named Nick Ghiletchi. He was a candidate on a party list led by Mr. Braghis, our Prime Minister. Despite of the fact that he was number 65 on the list and nobody knew him, the representative of "The Braghis Alliance" made this public announcement on the National TV. The announcement created a confusion among people. There were many people who believed that I was the one who gave up. You can imagine what damage such misinformation can do during the last few days of the campaign.

However I am so grateful to God that last night I was given an opportunity on TV to explain to people that I didn't give up and I will keep running till the end. Please, continue to pray for me. I need strength and courage. Pray for protection from rumors and misinformation. Pray that the opposition of the evil forces will be defeated.

On Thursday night, I will present my electoral platform on TV, on Wednesday and Thursday I will do the same on the radio. Please, pray for the broadcasts.

Thank for your great prayer support. Please, visit the my web site, it is available in English now.

In His service,

Valeriu

24 February 2000

Dear friends,

The campaign is over. With God's help I have come to the finish line of this hard and tense campaign. During last four weeks I have spoken to several thousands of people. There has been over 100 meetings. I have traveled about five thousand miles. I can't imagine being able to do this without faithful prayer support.

Tomorrow, February 25th, people of Moldova will cast their votes to elect the new Parliament of the Republic of Moldova. Please, pray that God will touch people's hearts and minds, so everyone who heard me will support me with his or her vote. Pray that there will be no frauds, so every vote will be counted. Let His name be glorified and His will be done in this election.

Your brother and servant,

Valeriu

26 February 2001

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for your faithful prayer support. As you know yesterday people of Moldova cast their votes for new Parliament body. Today at 8.00 am, our time, the central electoral commission announced the final results. There are three parties which were able to pass the six percent threshold. These are: 1) the Communist Party 50.2%, 2) Braghis Alliance, a party led by our Prime Minister, 13.6%, 3) the Christian Popular Democratic Party 8.22%. Other parties got less than six percent, which means that they won't be represented in the new Parliament.

I received 1.75%. This is the highest result ever obtained by an independent candidate. Seven political parties are ahead of me and ten are behind me. This is a great victory. Unfortunately, the threshold of three percent for an independent candidate was too high. Despite this excellent result I couldn't get the ticket for the parliament office. Most of the international observers agreed that such a high threshold puts an independent candidate in an inequality with the political parties and makes it almost impossible for an independent candidate to win.

(Valeriu actually received 27,182 votes his prediction of 35,000 to 40,000 votes necessary to win was correct).

It is not easy to accept the results of these elections. It is sad to see that more than fifty percent of people decided to go back into "Egypt". It is hard to believe that "the Egypt syndrome" is so strong that after only ten years of freedom people forgot about persecution and all the crimes the Communist Party has done during seventy years. I was amazed to hear that even some of our brothers and sisters voted for the Communist Party. It breaks my heart to see this.

However I am very grateful to the Lord for this campaign. I believe that everything that has been done is not in vain. It will bring fruit in the future. I am glad that I have been able to proclaim the Gospel of His Kingdom to so many people during this campaign. For many churches this campaign has been a revival.

Once again, thank you very much for being close with your prayers. My father is back home and he is doing well. Please, continue to pray for Moldova. I am worried about its future. Please, pray for me. I need new directions from above regarding my ministry. May His will be done.

Yours in Christ,

Valeriu

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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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