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14 November 2018
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Gheorghe Russu

Vice-director, The Center for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption

Parties-Phantoms, Parties - State Institutions, Parties - State Enterprises

Ion PREAŞCĂ

20 parties have registered in the current election campaign. Many people say it is a too big number for such a small country as Moldova. At the same time, much more parties could take part in the election campaign.

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Activists launch Moldova’s first ‘Space Camp’ © Susan Coughtrie

The Council of Europe, the Communists and a New Referendum

More than a year since the political crises related to the election of a Moldovan President arose, the political stabilization of the country still remains an elusive objective for the political forces in Chisinau.
Denis CENUSA, 4 March 2011, 11:06

The political parties that acceded to the Parliament and formed the AEI-2 did not manage to gather sufficient votes in order to arrange Lupu's election for this coveted position, at least by the democrats. That would lead to the accomplishment of a part of the Agreement of the Alliance Foundation (the artificiality of the agreement was described in the article entitled "The Agreement of Foundation of AEI-2 - a fragile and "anchylose" document"). On the other hand, the opposition led by the Communists demonstrates an already chronic disability to impose themselves. Alternatively, this may be a tactic for a calculated repudiation of the leading parties, tactic that hides an electoral scenario, meticulously prepared in the central bureau of CPRM.

The Constitutional Court and the Election of the President of the Republic of Moldova

After the Communist Party closed ranks by obliging its deputies to sign a sort of political commitment to the Party, beliefs regarding the possibility of seducing, bribing or luring the "voting marionette" significantly diminished. However, (?) the situation changed once the Constitutional Court refrained from imposing a limited frame of interpretation upon the Constitution regarding the organization of the President's elections.

Very few of us recall that the Liberals and the Democrats planned to organize Presidential elections by the end of February 2011, when, according to the Constitution, the 2-month-term from the date of the position's vacancy expires. Running out of time, based on the position of the Constitutional Court, the political parties comprising the Alliance reset their maneuvering tactics, urging the Communists to change their strategies.

Despite the decision of the Court, the Law regarding the procedure of electing the President of the Republic of Moldova [1], indirectly mentioned in the Constitution - Article 78, p.6 and in Article 90 of the Supreme Law (considering the vacancy of function), provides that the President must be elected by no later than two months . In reality, while refraining from having a partisan opinion, we ascertain that the Court steered clear of the obligation to interpret the constitutional provisions as it did not want to reiterate the two-month-term rule.

In order to avoid the polemics related to the interpretation of Article 90, the judges of the Constitutional Court decided instead to reassign the responsibilities to the Parliament, which is controlled by the parties of AEI-2.

The Scenarios of AEI-2 and the Communist's offensive

Constitutional gaps, the persistence of interims in the position of the President of the country and political pressure that  was likely exercised on the Constitutional Court have finally led to the achievement of the results wanted by the leading parties. From now on, the AIE-2 can endlessly postpone the election of the President in the limits of "the reasonable timeframe" - strongly discredited, politicized and manipulated according to the political necessities.

This deviation from the legal framework will last until more fugitive Communists are found. If not, than a way to definitively "omit" the CPRM will be invented. Today, the discussions are focused on this second option and one of the means to achieve this aim would be to change the current version of the Constitution. A new edition of the Constitution is intended to be submitted to the direct popular vote at once, with future local elections scheduled for the coming summer. The second scenario has been widely discussed between the chancelleries of the parties forming the AEI-2. It is  fervently supported by the LP leader, Mihai Ghimpu, who intends to gather the main political dividends after the implementation of this initiative.

Staging this scenario, the AEI-2 overlooks the results of the constitutional referendum organized in September 5, 2010, and pins its hopes on the possibility of combining the referendum with local elections. This would increase electoral turnout, and would indirectly assure a higher chance of success. This could also be achieved if  the three political parties annulled the minimum turnout for the referendum, required by law. However, this option bears a series of risks related to the stability of state institutions, including the drastic decrease of population's trust in the state bodies and the fading legitimacy of the current Government. In such conditions, CPRM and its allies would most probably focus on boycotting the referendum and stirring up public hysteria and enmity against the Alliance, which is losing public support already due to the socio-economic difficulties. The media propaganda disseminatedby the Communists raises the tension within the social vulnerable classes who have been sensitized by the continuous degradation of their material situation and by the misunderstanding of the systemic causes and political origins of these economic and social involutions.

The acceptability and accessibility of the old Communists in its communications with citizens would be different if not for the population's political and electoral tiredness, the lack of efficient communication and vague messages from the Government, the substitution of economic and social subjects with "surrogates" such as European themes, and the delay in radically reforming the state institutions. Additionally, the agitation of disappointed and hopeless citizens is stimulated by the initiation of some political debates concerning "the elimination of communist symbols" or "the tentative to modify the Constitution", to the detriment of social and economic emergencies which are so visible and affect the public opinion.

Taking advantage of the favorable political context, the Liberals (LP and LDPM) want to unfasten themselves forcibly from the Soviet past, and its heritage. Thus they indirectly devaluate the phenomena coming from the East. The Liberals replaced their agenda, speeches and public actors with European integration advocates, and often with more radical pro-Romanian visions. The effects of these actions are contrary to the proposed purposes,  and result in a victimization as well as consolidation of CPRM, a reduction in the public's motivation to participate in ample reformation processes, aside from European integration. Additionally, it has lead to an  accentuation of the population's instinctive-emotional behavior instead of a pragmatic-rational approach, which is vital to the strengthening of the relationship with the West.

The Council of Europe plays again the role of mediator...

In the fight against the Communist opposition, the AIE-2 is not confined to just influencing the most vulnerable state institutions, but also appeals to the assistance of external partners. So, at the initiative of the speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, the Head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, visited Chisinau. He was also invited by the LP representative, Ana Gutu, elected to the position of vice-Chief of PACE. It is possible that the General Secretary of the Council of Europe, Tobjorn Jagland, was disappointed by the manner in which the political crisis was managed last year. He had been actively involved in, and even managed to obtain, the agreement of AIE-1 for the organization of the Constitutional referendum in September 2010. Probably, the failure of the referendum disappointed him, since Jagland is aware that the current situation is also a result of omissions in the mediations services offered by the Council of Europe in 2009.

Regardless of the experience of his colleague, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu showed his openness to mediate the situation related to the President's election in the Republic of Moldova. [2] Indulgent of the parties forming the governing coalition, the EU official underlined that a solution must be attained through consensus, without pressures, insisting that the election of the President is an urgent necessity. Analyzing retrospectively the performance of the EU officials in Moldova, one can notice that the speech of Çavuşoğlu is similar to that of the General Secretary of the Council of Europe, who admitted the importance of finding a common point shared by all relevant political forces, and finally advocating for the organization of the constitutional referendum.

The Head of PACE did not yet mention the probability of a referendum. Nevertheless, he did not hesitate to affirm that the Communists' proposals are discussed along with, other solutions which come from AIE-2, amongst which is the idea of adoption of a new Constitution that would exclude future constitutional and political crises.

Losing control over public opinion, and alienating voters due to lack of speeches, proposals and concrete activities for the release of social tension, along with predominance of political problems and the politicization of European integration - all these may lead to replication of the failure of the referendum, causing certain risks for the AIE-2 in local elections.

References:

1.      Law Nr. 1234 regarding the procedure of election of the President of the Republic of Moldova, 22.09.2000, http://lex.justice.md/index.php?action=view&view=doc⟨=1&id=311559

 

2.      PACE: The President of RM will be soon elected, http://www.jurnal.md/ro/news/apce-pre-edintele-rm-va-fi-ales-degraba-200727/

 

 

 



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