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Expert: The possible effects of snap elections in the Republic of Moldova

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The Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IEPR) published recently an analytical note that describes the possible effects that the snap parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova could have.

The main conclusion expressed in the note: the decline in the geopolitical character of the recent parliamentary elections, the delay in functioning of the institutional structures of the newly elected parliament, and the uncertainty about the formation of a parliamentary majority capable of appointing a new government, escalates the risk of having snap parliamentary elections.

According to the author of the document, Mihai Mogîldea, an IEPR associate expert, more than 2 months after the parliamentary elections, the political parties that entered the Parliament failed to advance in the establishment of a parliamentary majority. The only rounds of consultations, organized by the Socialist Party of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) and the political bloc ACUM, revealed the diametrically opposed positions regarding a possible coalition formation.

Moreover, the character of the geopolitical vote, used in the previous elections as a powerful tool of dividing the society on the basis of language, ethnicity, geographical location and geopolitical options, has changed. “As less geopolitical discourse during the last pre-electoral and electoral period was present, the attention of the political parties was focused on other areas besides foreign and security policy of the Republic of Moldova,” stated Mogîldea.

At the same time, by analyzing the impact of the mixed electoral system and electoral rhetoric on the results of the parliamentary elections, the author concluded that the current electoral system favoured to a large extent the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM), which with a result of 23.62% of the votes (the results in the national constituency) obtained 30 seats in Parliament (out of which 17 seats were allocated based on single-seat constituencies results). On the other hand, the mixed electoral system clearly disfavoured the ACUM bloc, which received 26.84% of the votes and only 26 seats (12 seats based on single-seat constituencies results). Even if the PSRM obtained the highest electoral score (31.15%) and the highest number of seats (35), it proved to suffer the greatest loss from the mixed electoral system. Due to the configuration of the single-seat constituencies, the PSRM lost its primacy in the regions considered to be pro-Russian.

Therefore, the following effects of early parliamentary elections in Moldova can be highlighted:

Effect 1. Running early parliamentary elections in in a short space of time after the local elections could favor the DPM, which could get a higher score of about 5-7% due to its administrative resources at the local level.
Effect 2. The active involvement of President Igor Dodon in a possible electoral campaign for the snap parliamentary elections would facilitate the wider mobilization of Socialists’ voters.
Effect 3. Keeping the non-geopolitical character of the electoral campaign might disadvantage the PSRM, whose electorate may partially and gradually migrate to the supporters of the “Șor” Party.
Effect 4. The organisation of snap parliamentary elections could cause a lower presence in the polls during the fifth voting process organized in only three years.

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Vlad Plahotniuc risks life inprisonment amid drug trafficking accusations from Russia

No, this isn’t an article about politics. Recently, Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has accused Vlad Plahotniuc, oligarch and former Democratic Party leader, of leading an international drug cartel. According to the Russian investigators, he was involved in providing Moroccan hashish, through Spain, all the way to Russia.

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Because of that, Plahotniuc risks life imprisonment. The same accusations have been brought against former DPM deputy Constantin Ţuţu – the investigation considers that he was an accomplice of Plahotniuc and gave the instructions of the drug cartel, writes RBK.ru.

“Today, investigators of the Department of Investigations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, filed charges with the former President of the Democratic Party of Moldova Vladimir Plahotniuc and his trusted person – a professional athlete Constantin Ţuţu – for committing an offense under Article 210 (1) and (2) of the Criminal Code the organization of a criminal community),” said the Russian Interior Ministry’s official source.

Caption: Vlad Plahotniuc and athlete Constantin Tutu

Plahotniuc is also accused of 28 cases of smuggling and illegal sale of narcotic drugs in particularly large proportions.

In the course of the investigation, it was found that the former President of the Democratic Party of Moldova, Vlad Plahotniuc, “having the capacity to influence the political situation and the authorities in Chisinau, through criminal methods of influencing persons, aiming at personal enrichment, entered into a criminal conspiracy with the leaders of the criminal group in Moldova”.

According to available information, as of 2012, Plahotniuc has become one of the leaders of transnational drug transport.

The investigators also managed to gather evidence of a personal meeting of Vlad Plahotniuc with the criminal leaders Oleg Pruteanu, Alexandr Stegherescu alias Shasha-Sportivul and the Spanish citizen Manuel Silvio de la Paz, alias “Lolo”, in which “during the negotiations of which they discussed the amount of hashish delivered, the cost of purchasing, transit, storage, sale price, and the size of their income.”

Interaction with the organizer of the criminal community, Oleg Pruteanu, as well as direct control over this area of ​​criminal activity, directed by Vladimir Plahotniuc, were exercised by the professional Moldavian sportsman, former deputy in the Parliament, Constantin Ţuţu, writes the quoted source.

This is not the first charge against Plahotniuc in Russia.

In February, the Russian Interior Ministry accused Democratic Party leader Vladimir Plahotniuc and businessman Veaceslav Platon of organizing an international criminal group and illegal withdrawal of money from the Russian Federation. But there is more on that here and here.

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The Russian delegation was readmitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

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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.

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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.

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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.

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