A lot of political confusion has happened in Chisinau over the last days: the newly formed coalition government composed of the political bloc ACUM and the Socialist Party of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) with its informal leader – President Dodon, aim to free Moldova of oligarchy and corruption. However, replacing the democrat PM Pavel Filip isn’t easy, as Filip himself is appointed by the Constitutional Court (CC) as interim head of state. He already signed for dissolving the Parliament, announcing snap elections on September 6th.
No matter how confusing this might be, the background is obviously about the usurpation of power by the oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc who is the leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) and, by far, the richest man in the country. Plahotniuc is the one who also controls the CC of Moldova, as he appointed the ‘right’ people as judges there. The CC has actively been following Plahotniuc’s orders by constantly annulling every decision made by the new Parliament.
In order to cease the Democratic Party’s pressures and influence, the socialists have finally joined forces with the pro-Europeans from ACUM Bloc. However, according to the Moldovan CC, the deputies failed to form a coalition government within the period prescribed by the constitution. As the constitutional judges said, the deadline expired on Friday. Thereupon, they demanded the dissolution of the parliament. Nevertheless, the deputies met on Saturday. One of the most absurd parliamentary meetings from a couple of days ago turned out to be one of the most crucial one in the history of the Moldovan democracy. On June 8th, the parliament has voted for appointing the ACUM member of the Parliament (MP), Maia Sandu, the prime minister of Moldova and the socialist MP, Zinaida Greceanii, the speaker of the Parliament, during the Saturday’s special session. The decisions were almost immediately declared ‘unconstitutional’ by the CC.
The European Union has taken a “good note of the decisions taken yesterday by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, including on the formation of the government coalition,” shows the statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn on the political situation in the Republic of Moldova. The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, requested an urgent opinion from the Venice Commission on the latest decisions of the Constitutional Court, including on the conditions of the dissolution of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova. The NATO spokesperson commented the situation, stating that “NATO is following with concern the political crisis in the Republic of Moldova, calling on all political forces in the country to exercise calm and restraint, and to resolve their differences through dialogue, in full respect of the rule of law”. On the other hand, Amnesty International Moldova is deeply worried about the intimidation made recently by journalists and some representatives of parliamentary parties. At the same time, the organization urges all state authorities to comply with the rule of law and international conventions and not to commit abuses.
The Council of Europe calls on all political forces in Moldova to act responsibly now. Political problems should resolved by the country’s democratically elected representatives in Parliament. We are ready to assist Moldova with the necessary reforms. #ECHR #RuleofLaw @coe
— Daniel Holtgen (@CoESpokesperson) June 9, 2019
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) June 9, 2019
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) June 9, 2019
— Anders Åslund (@anders_aslund) June 9, 2019
What is happening in #Moldova is essentially a coup attempt. An interest group that controls most state institutions is attempting a hostile and unlawful takeover of power from a lawfully elected government. This is my understanding of the situation. THREAD.
— András Tóth-Czifra (@NoYardstick) June 9, 2019
The essense of the crisis in Moldova is that the oligarchic power is doing whatever to prevent a government formed by majority in the parliament. Firm @eu_eeas @eu_near line necessary. https://t.co/kdyMubnQ7c
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) June 9, 2019
Now news from Chisinau are awful. EU should react.Mold Parliamentarians speak about state capture.Citizens fear violent escalations.Personalized sanctions ag those behind escalations? @JosephDaul @ManfredWeber @guyverhofstadt @petras_petras @UdoBullmann @ph_lamberts @sandumaiamd https://t.co/AH36GsRZeM
— Rebecca Harms (@RebHarms) June 9, 2019
.@PDMoldova must immediately and peacefully ensure the transfer of power to the parliament and government that represent the majority of the will of the people. As of yesterday, #Moldova is no longer a captured state and it’s time he accepts this.
— Joseph Daul (@JosephDaul) June 9, 2019
Statement by #OSCE Chairperson-in-Office @MiroslavLajcak calls on all political forces in the Republic of Moldova to overcome current political crisis through dialogue, on basis of Constitution and respect for democratic principles and rule of law. https://t.co/yaLBwZiCR2
— OSCE (@OSCE) June 9, 2019
The U.S. calls on all Moldovan parties to show restraint and to agree on a path forward through political dialogue. Ensuring a prosperous and democratic future for Moldova and its citizens is a shared goal the United States will continue to support. https://t.co/uOOMjIRHki pic.twitter.com/IK0Zf9rNps
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) June 9, 2019
Fully support #Moldova ‘s new government led by @sandumaiamd, based on a democratically elected Parliament. Call for swift & smooth transfer of power, in line with Moldova’s commitments to international standards. @filip_pavel @PDMoldova @FedericaMog“
— davidmcallister (@davidmcallister) June 10, 2019
The staged DPM protests with tents in front of Moldova’s official buildings escalated…
On Sunday morning, the streets of Chisinau were surprised by circulating columns of minibusses. People from various districts of the Republic of Moldova came to Chisinau to take part in a public protest organized by the DPM. People said anonymously that their arrival to the capital was organized by representatives of the DPM. Being afraid to speak about it because of the risk of losing their jobs, the citizens declared that they were offered free transportation, free food, and water. On the other hand, some of them had the nerve to claim that they came to defend their country “against traitors and those who made an alliance in the Parliament at night.”
The Democratic Party, through their staged protest demanding Igor Dodon’s immediate resignation for “the country betrayal”, approved a resolution to this effect, which they took to the Presidency, to hand over to Igor Dodon. There, the protesters were ordered to throw five turkeys over the presidential fence, birds which laid paralyzed, dying on the ground for the entire day.
Karl Luganov, the president of the Human Society Association, says the democrats’ gesture to throw turkeys over the presidential fence is miserable, writes ZdG.
Article 2221 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova provides that the cruel treatment or torture of animals that have caused their mutilation or death in the public or in the presence of minors shall be punished by a fine in the amount of 750 to 1350 conventional units and with unpaid work community benefit from 180 to 240 hours or one to three years in prison.
To this question, Igor Dodon answered that there are two solutions for the political turmoil created in the country.
“The process has already started. What has happened previously will not happen anymore. That’s it,” says Dodon.
According to him, a solution is to call the massive people on the street. Only not for now, as there is a risk of mass disorder. Igor Dodon says he urges all his supporters not to come out on the street as long as the Democratic Party protests are going on.
On the other hand, Maia Sandu thanked the European Union for the support, and addressed a message to the General Police Inspectorate, the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations and the Department of Carabineer Troops, asking them to abide by the law.
“Peacefully, by obeying the law, the government must come into office. I order you to do your duty to the country and the citizens,” communicated the leader of the ACUM bloc.
Still, “the national army does not interfere in the political crisis and will remain outside political games,” says the official statement of the department.
“In accordance with Article 108 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the armed forces are subject exclusively to the will of the people in order to guarantee the sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity of the country and constitutional democracy.”
Furthermore, the Ministry of Defense communicated that access to all military units and institutions of the Ministry of Defense is prohibited to anyone except the institution’s personnel.
Why is everything that’s happening so important?
First of all, publishing the Kroll-2 report is one of the actions of the anti-oligarchic package proposed by the ACUM bloc. There are more actions and each of them is strategic.
Even though both the ACUM bloc and the Socialist Party entered the parliament and have reached a common denominator with essentially anti-corruption statements, we – citizens – have no guarantee that there are no Socialist Party members within the Kroll-2 report, who are kept under great secrecy by the Democratic Party. Therefore, as the MP, Dumitru Alaiba, said, this document must first be published in order to minimize the risk that someone who is involved in the main agenda, in some way or another, benefits from the theft of the century.
Citizens do not yet trust the political class, which means that the vision of freeing Moldova from corruption and oligarchy is a major step towards a democratic future.
Will the Moldovan President (re)join the dark side?
Following the political events that took place over the past few days, President Igor Dodon summoned a meeting with the counselors and heads of the President’s office.
“I mentioned the necessity of updating the composition of the Supreme Security Council and calling it urgently. Moreover, today, I will invite the diplomatic corps accredited to the Republic of Moldova to discuss the current situation in the country. We reiterated the importance of promulgating the laws recently adopted by the new parliamentary majority composed of the PSRM and ‘ACUM’,” wrote Dodon on his Facebook page.
The meeting was convened by Igor Dodon in the context in which, this weekend, the Constitutional Court took several decisions criticized by lawyers, which declared the government led by Maia Sandu unconstitutional, but also by which Igor Dodon was temporarily suspended from office.
Will the Moldovan President (re)join the dark side? Dodon has already claimed that Plahotniuc will try to get rid of him, perhaps just like he got rid of Vlad Filat back when the ex-PM betrayed their “friendship.”
In conclusion, the president claims there are three ways that Plahotniuc can get rid of him:
“What the General Prosecutor’s Office is doing and what is going on, Shor, others who now write to the Prosecutor’s Office … According to the law, they have the right to waive the immunity of the president, only by Parliament’s vote,” Dodon said.
- family threats
“There are messages that he’ll arrest my family and children so I that could write my leave request for personal reasons. Their hope is that I will take my family and run out of the country. I’d like to let him know that I won’t give in, and there will be no need of writing me any leave request, regardless of all the dirt and blackmail that will come to me in next hours, days. Do not touch the family, Mr. Plahotniuc,” added Dodon.
- “physical liquidation”
“I could also consider physical liquidation,” said Dodon in an interview.
The Russian delegation was readmitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted in favor of Russia’s return to this court. The decision was taken five years after the Russian delegation was revoked from the composition of the Parliamentary Assembly because of the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
Andrei Nastase, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs, voted for the readmission of the Russian Federation delegation to PACE. Nastase declared that “it was not an easy decision,” but he voted for Russia’s return to PACE in order for this institution to have a positive influence on Russia in human rights and rule of law issues.
Russia has voted 118 votes in favor of Russia’s vote in the Parliamentary Assembly, 62 voted against, and 10 abstained. From the delegation of the Moldovan Parliament to PACE, MPs Andrei Nastase (Dignity and Truth Platform, ‘ACUM’ bloc leader) and Vlad Batrincea (Socialist Party) voted for the return of Russia. However, MP Mihail Popsoi (Action and Solidarity Party) opposed this decision.
In 2014, Russia lost voting rights to PACE after taking over Crimea and supporting military separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia responded in 2016 by boycotting the Assembly and refused in 2017 to pay its annual contribution of 33 million euros, about 7% of the Council’s budget.
PM Maia Sandu: Duty-free gas stations, shops, bars and restaurants at the entrance of Moldova and Transnistria will be banned
Today, Prime Minister Maia Sandu announced that duty-free gas stations, duty-free shops, bars and restaurants at the entrance to the Republic of Moldova and the Transnistrian region will be banned.
Maia Sandu mentioned that deputies ought to draft and register as a matter of urgency a bill to this effect. She explained that legal provisions such as those mentioned do not exist in any country in the world and that the national public budget suffers losses of hundreds of millions of lei as a result of the implementation of these laws.
“The duty-free shops beneficiary is a toxic person involved in a dubious business, including theft of the million dollar bill,” said Maia Sandu, making allusions to Ilan Shor.
“The current government not only will not tolerate such initiatives in the future, but also repeal all those adopted by the oligarchic regime that led the Republic of Moldova until June 8,” shows a message from Sandu on Facebook.
Mold-street.com wrote that after the 2019 elections in February 24, and especially after it became clear that the Democratic Party could not form a coalition to be governed, businessman Ilan Shor, leader of the party that bears his name and his family sold most of their businesses in Moldova.
Thus, Dufremol SRL, which until 2018 was the largest duty-free shop operator in Moldova (12 units), became the property and management of Bulgarian Todorov Marko Stefanov.
Democrats leave government to the new coalition
The decision was taken after today’s National Political Council of the Plahotniuc’s party, announced Vladimir Cebortari, vice-president of the DPM.
According to Cebotari, DPM’s decision is a clear signal that the Democratic Party no longer holds power in the country.
“However, our decision will not solve the constitutional blockade,” Cebotari said.
“Regardless of what solutions will be found, as long as we have the decisions of the CC in place, the Government that will be installed will operate illegally, and the officials of the institutions will not be legally able to execute the decisions of such a Government and will be in a situation of legal risk. That is why final elections will be reached, as it’s the only way to solve the crisis created by the binomial Socialist Party–’ACUM’ bloc legally and completely,” finalized the DPM vice-president.
Vladimir Cebotari said that the next move on behalf of the DPM should be expected. However, it might be way too early to call it good news just yet.
Two days ago, the leaders of the bloc ‘ACUM’ Maia Sandu and Andrei Nastase asked the Moldovan citizens to come to Parliament for the “march of the people” on Sunday, June 16th. President Igor Dodon, too, called on the country’s citizens and his supporters to participate in the march, in support of the new government.
Maia Sandu warned that “the Plahotniuc regime will do everything in its power to prevent citizens from coming to the march of the people. They will try to stop public transport, threaten drivers, block the streets.”
“Prepare yourself! Come early, come to your relatives’s place and stay overnight in town. Offer car seats to those who wish, but don’t have the possibility to join. They stop the cars? We walk! They will hear our every step and see that Moldova doesn’t belong to them, but to the people and children of Moldova,” said Maia Sandu at the press conference.
She addressed all police officers who refuse to obey to Plahotniuc’s orders as well as those responsible for national security and citizens to maintain public order and ensure that no citizen of this country would suffer.
Will Plahotniuc’s remaining army find ways to prevent the event from happening? How many of Moldova’s remaining people will attend the rally? That’s for us to find out on the coming Sunday.
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