Former Speaker and Acting President
Former Minister of Economy
Chairman of the Democratic Party
Marian Lupu leads the center-left Democratic Party of Moldova, which controls 15 seats in Moldova’s 101-seat parliament.
The son of a pair of professors, Marian Lupu was born in 1966. He studied economics at Moldova (Chisinau) State University and received a doctoral degree in economics at the prestigious Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (then known as the Plekhanov Moscow Institute of the National Economy). After the disintegration of the USSR, Lupu took additional courses in economics sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (in 1994) and the World Trade Organization (in 1996).
Throughout the 1990s, Lupu climbed the ranks in the Ministry of Economy, notably serving as director of Moldova’s TACIS program (an EU initiative aimed at transitioning former Soviet states to market economic systems). Prime Minister Vasil Tarlev appointed him Minister of Economy in mid-2003, where he served until the parliamentary elections in March 2005. In that cycle, Lupu won a seat with The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) majority and was then elected Speaker of Parliament.
Many considered Lupu a likely successor to then-President Voronin (who was constitutionally obliged to step down after his second consecutive term) when the April 2009 elections were set. However, after the civil unrest following the elections was quelled, Voronin supported the candidacy of Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanâi (who had succeeded Tarlev the year before). After her candidacy failed on consecutive attempts—despite receiving unanimous support from the PCRM—and the parliament dissolved for another election, Lupu abandoned the communists.
He joined, and became the new leader of, the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM). His defection drained significant support from the PCRM, which lost 12 seats (from 60 to 48) while the previously unrepresented PDM won 13 seats. Together with the other opposition party leaders, Lupu formed the governing AEI coalition.
AEI put Lupu forward as its presidential candidate. However, as the PCRM regarded him as a traitor, they boycotted his election. Thus, Lupu remained a factional leader within parliament until Acting President Mihai Ghimpu dissolved parliament and called for new elections late in 2010. In those elections, the AEI coalition gained six seats, bringing their total seats to 59, two short of the number necessary to elect a president. Lupu was chosen as Speaker of Parliament and thereby assumed the interim Presidency. He occupied that office for approximately fifteen months, until communist defections allowed for the election of Nicolae Timofti.
Lupu is a somewhat enigmatic figure. Before quitting the PCRM, he seemed a simple, albeit talented, technocrat with some oratorical flair. His reputation as a reforming progressive politician, both during his time in the PCRM and afterwards, is based more on his publicized stance rather than policy initiation, of which he has little record. He remains leader of the Democratic Party and was, until April of 2013, Speaker of Parliament. Despite the lifelong enmity he won by leaving the Communists, Lupu will probably stay an influential power broker in Moldovan politics for years to come.