Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Parliamentary majorities and national minorities : Moldova's accommodation of the Gagauz
Author: Webster, John A.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This thesis provides an institutional explanation for the peaceful solution of the conflict between the Moldovan state and its small Gagauz minority in the period from 1988 to 1995. The central argument is that different institutional arrangements during this time had a direct effect on the Moldovan state’s capacity to bring about autonomy for the Gagauz. I show how Gagauz leaders, conditioned by the territorial-based structures of the Soviet Union, mobilized a political movement to push for the creation of an autonomous republic, and how this preference for autonomy remained the consistent demand of the Gagauz throughout the early years of post-communist transition. This finding supports the contention that Gagauz preferences cannot be used to explain the rich variation in political outcomes during this period. I assert that the critical changes were essentially institutional: new electoral laws; revised parliamentary rules and procedures; and a complete rewriting of Moldova’s constitution. These innovations were crucial in enabling the inclusive-minded majority in the Moldovan parliament to overcome the power of nationalist veto players by increasing the majority’s control of the legislative agenda. The importance of these institutional factors is examined by careful analysis of the different stages of the Moldovan parliament’s accommodation of the Gagauz: from separatism and stalemate to compromise. Furthermore, I reassert the central role of institutional arrangements by discounting the external influence of Turkey as a patron state on the successful negotiations between Moldova and the Gagauz. Using previously unresearched archival material, unstructured interviews with many of the key actors, and local media reporting, this thesis challenges existing accounts of the Gagauz conflict in Moldova. These accounts assert that either the Gagauz reaction to titular nationalism or the shifting preferences of strategic-thinking elites was the key causal factor of the political outcomes observed during this period. In contrast, this thesis shows that institutional design played a decisive role in the resolution of this conflict. The findings of this research offer useful lessons for other ethnically-divided states with mobilized minorities.
Supervisor: Chaisty, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political science ; Democratic government ; European democracies ; Ethnic minorities and ethnicity ; National identity ; Moldova ; Gagauz ; Institutional design ; agenda control ; autonomy ; conflict resolution ; ethnic minorities