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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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Moldovan Government fell as a result of the Parliament’s no-confidence vote – a full picture of events

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Today, October 12th, the government led by Maia Sandu collapsed. The no-confidence motion submitted by the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) in the Parliament was adopted by 63 Members of the Parliament (MPs) – 34 MPs were from the PSRM and 29 deputies from the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM).

Details about the no-confidence motion here.

The contradictory declarations

Prime Minister Maia Sandu had a speech at the Parliament today, trying to defend the Government’s position.

source: privesc.eu

“Deputies from the Socialist Party build their motion on false accusations about the worsening of the social and economic situation of the country. Why do you lie to people? Where do you see the worsening social and economic situation? The only worsening of the economic situation is for those who have been stopped from corruption schemes. […]

The citizens did not expect miracles in 5 months, they understand and appreciate a responsible government, made up of honest ministers, who came to these functions to make people’s lives better.

The vision of ACUM is known – we want true justice. We want efficient prosecutors and judges who make decisions in the name of law. We want those who stole the billion to go to jail. It’s simple. That is what the whole society wants,” Maia Sandu announced.

“Today, there was not only a betrayal of the Government, but also of every citizen who hoped that justice would soon be done and the life would be better,” Sandu also claimed.


President Igor Dodon made a few declarations in a press conference after the Parliament’s sitting. First of all, Dodon stated that Prime Minister Maia Sandu intentionally caused the fall of the entire Cabinet of Ministers. “Maia Sandu intentionally caused the fall of Government and the crisis of the ruling coalition to distract the citizens’ attention from the inefficient economic and social policies of the last five months. Apart from promises, Maia Sandu was not able to provide any results,” said Igor Dodon.

source: privesc.eu

The head of state declared that he is ready to accept any candidacy for the position of prime minister, proposed by ACUM and PSRM, but he will not accept the candidacy of Maia Sandu again. “If the MPs from ACUM will not accept the dialogue, then their desire to cause snap parliamentary elections, in an extremely difficult period for the Republic of Moldova, becomes evident.”

At the same time, President Dodon invited all parliamentary factions to consultations for the appointment of a new prime minister tomorrow. The president of the country said he could personally submit a candidate for the position of prime minister. The head of state also gave assurances that “the Socialists do not want a coalition with DPM.”

The reactions of Moldova’s international partners

The EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Maja Kocijancic, expressed her concern regarding the situation in the Republic of Moldova in an official statement.

“The vote of no-confidence in the government in the Republic of Moldova over questions concerning the recruitment process of the Prosecutor General sends worrying signals for the reform process in the country.

The coalition had started a number of initiatives to deliver on the key commitments made since June notably in the fields of the fight against corruption, independence of the judiciary and investigation into the banking fraud.

The need for such reforms has not gone away with the voting down of the government.

The European Union’s partnership will remain focused on delivering tangible benefits to the Moldovan citizens. In this spirit, the EU is committed to working with those in the Republic of Moldova who support the reform process that is at the core of our Association Agreement, in particular as regards fighting corruption and vested interests irrespective of the political affiliations, ensuring the independence of the judiciary and de-politicising the state institutions. We will continue to base our relationship with the Republic of Moldova on the principle of conditionality and respect for the rule of law and democratic standards,” is mentioned in the statement.

Dragoș Tudorache, the rapporteur of the European Parliament (EP) for the Republic of Moldova, also made a statement about today’s events in Moldova: “Politicians in the Republic of Moldova should never forget the only objective that matters both now and in the future: the European route of their country. […] Rapid action is therefore needed to provide the necessary assurances that the pro-European route is not derailed in any way. We are waiting for the correct signals that will follow from the negotiations in the coming days and I hope that we will not have any unpleasant surprises from the Moldovan politicians,” the EP rapporteur declared.

The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, argued that the socialist approach to dismiss the Government is against the long-term interests of the Republic of Moldova.

“Romania strongly supported the efforts of the Government of Chișinău, given the clear and determined commitment of the government coalition for the European path. […] In this context, Romania’s support, including financial support, will continue to focus on the interests of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova, as well as on the implementation of strategic bilateral projects, being strictly conditioned by the continuation of the essential reforms for the democratic development of the Republic of Moldova and the advancement of its European path,” it is mentioned in the official statement of the Romanian head of state.

What is happening next?

According to the law of the Republic of Moldova, after the MPs have adopted the no-confidence motion against the Executive, prime minister is obliged to submit to the head of state the resignation of the Government within a maximum of three days. The Cabinet of Ministers will be in office until the members of the new Government are appointed.

During the term of his resignation, the Government cannot make foreign policy decisions and is not entitled to legislative initiative.

The president of the Republic of Moldova is obliged to initiate consultations with parliamentary factions to form a new Government.

After consulting the MPs, the president appoints a candidate for the position of prime minister and, within 15 days from the appointment, the candidate requests the confidence vote of the Parliament on the Government’s program of activity, presenting the full list of the Cabinet of Ministers.

The deadline for forming a new Government is three months. If the Government does not get the confidence vote from the Parliament during this period, the legislative is dissolved and snap parliamentary elections are called.

Photo: privesc.eu

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The message of European and American officials for Moldova’s coalition government

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The representatives of the EU delegation in Moldova, the Embassy of Romania, UK, USA and of Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs have sent messages to the running coalition government of the Republic of Moldova in the context of latest developments related to the justice reform in the country. 

Both Prime Minister Maia Sandu and President Igor Dodon met with heads of diplomatic missions of different countries last week and discussed the crisis political situation created between the political bloc ACUM and the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), which form the coalition government. At the same time, several diplomatic missions and state officials from all over the Europe and USA posted messages on social media, emphasising the need to establish a middle ground and overcome the tense political crisis.

The US Embassy in Moldova had the following message for Moldova’s coalition government:

“The United States supports the efforts of Prime Minister Sandu, President Dodon, and the governing coalition to overcome the current political impasse. Reforms critical to the Republic of Moldova’s democratic development have already been delayed for too long. As a friend of Moldova, we urge the country’s political leaders to quickly reach consensus on a solution that will preserve the path toward justice reform and allow the government to work to improve the lives of all Moldovans.”

The message of the Embassy of Romania in the Republic of Moldova:

“Romania supports the efforts of Prime Minister Maia Sandu and the ruling coalition to overcome the current political deadlock. The reforms are critical to the democratic development of the Republic of Moldova and the maintenance of its European path. As a strategic partner, Romania calls for political responsibility, underlining the need for the political leaders of the Republic of Moldova to quickly identify consensus on a solution that will ensure stability, keep the path to justice reform and allow the Government to improve the lives of all citizens.”

The British Embassy in the Republic of Moldova addressed to the political leaders of Moldova as following:

“As a friend of Moldova with a demonstrable and long-standing record of support for the reform process, the United Kingdom urges the country’s political leaders to reach consensus on a solution which preserves the path towards justice reform and allows the coalition government to continue to work for the benefit of all citizens of the Republic of Moldova. In June 2019, the United Kingdom welcomed the creation of the governing coalition which set a clear agenda of reforms critical to Moldova’s democratic development, including in the important area of judicial reform.”

The Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland Marcin Przydacz also called on reaching a consensus regarding the justice reform in Moldova.

 “Reforms in Moldova must continue. There is a need for consensus on important justice reforms by all stakeholders. We offer full support to these efforts.”

As you can see, consensus is the key word used in all messages addressed to the still existing coalition government.

On Friday, November 8th, PSRM brought a motion of censure in the Parliament against the current Government (ruled by ACUM) after the latter assumed responsibility for amending the Law on Prosecutor’s Office.

Prime Minister Maia Sandu stated that the Government will not withdraw its initiative on assuming responsibility for amending the Law on Prosecutor’s Office, as requested previously by the President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon.

Photo: gov.md

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PSRM brought a no-confidence motion in the Parliament criticising the Government. What’s next?

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Just a few hours ago, the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) brought a no-confidence motion in the Parliament criticising the Government handling of the justice reform, namely the amendments to the Law on Prosecutor’s Office presented to legislature by the political bloc ACUM. 

The discussions in the Parliament

The socialists declared that the amendments proposed by ACUM endangers the independence of the prosecutor’s office and the independence of the justice.

“Maia Sandu ignored all good practices regarding the appointment of an independent prosecutor, ignored the constitution of the country and the opinion of the Venice Commission, preferring not to wait,” said the PSRM member Vasile Bolea.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Maia Sandu gave a speech in front of Members of the Parliament (MPs), in which she argued the position of ACUM regarding the amendment to the Law on Prosecutor’s Office, stating that this is the best solution for selecting an independent prosecutor general.

“We made some compromises. We did it to achieve the main objective – an independent prosecutor’s office, a fair justice. The fight for the prosecutor general is the red line.[…] Moldova has gone through several justice reforms. […] And yet the good intentions did not produce a result, being neutralised by hidden political interests. […] I decided to proceed differently. I assume the political responsibility for the process of identifying candidates for the position of prosecutor general. I will personally identify and verify honest, brave and well-intended people and propose them to the Superior Council of Prosecutors.

In this respect, I am encouraged by the position of the Venice Commission, expressed in other similar situations, according to which the selection of the prosecutor general must be done in such a way as to obtain the public’s confidence, and the selection of the prosecutor general with the involvement of the executive and legislative powers would offer more democratic legitimacy of this procedure.

Therefore, according to the Venice Commission, it is reasonable for a government to want to participate in the selection process of the prosecutor general on the grounds that the fight against corruption is crucial for the proper functioning of the state institutions,” stated Maia Sandu.

After that, the secretary of the PSRM faction, Vasile Bolea, submitted a no-confidence motion in the Parliament, expressing the withdrawal of the confidence granted to the Sandu Government.

The President’s declarations

President Igor Dodon still hopes that ACUM will withdraw the initiative, by which the Executive has assumed responsibility for amendments to the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office.

“There is still a few days for the unconstitutional initiative to be withdrawn. There is still room for reflections and understanding by ACUM that the prosecutor general cannot be politically subordinated, and the coalition should not be sacrificed on the altar of personal ambitions,” Igor Dodon wrote on Facebook after the Socialist faction submitted the no-confidence motion against the Government in the Parliament.

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the prosecutor general is appointed by the President of the Republic of Moldova, at the proposal of the Superior Council of Prosecutors (SCP), for a term of 7 years, which cannot be renewed.

The amendments proposed by ACUM include selection by the prime minister, according to the approved procedure, of at least two candidates for the position of prosecutor general and submission of the list to the SCP. Next, the SCP would select one candidate from the list and would propose him/her to the president.

What’s next?

The Permanent Bureau of the Parliament will meet within the next three working days to decide when the next plenary session will be held, at which the no-confidence motion will be examined.

As following, the motion will be debated and voted. It is considered adopted with the vote of the majority of MPs (51). Thus, given that PSRM has 36 MPs, it must be voted by other factions as well. There is a great probability that the motion will be voted by the Democratic Party MPs and/or by Șor Party MPs.

In case the no-confidence motion is adopted,  the prime minister will submit to the President the resignation of the Government within a maximum of 3 days. If the no-confidence motion is rejected, the deputies who signed it will not be able to initiate, at the same session, a new motion for the same reason.

Protest in front of the Parliament

People have united in a protest to support the Sandu Government in front of the Parliament. They gathered and demanded a fair justice. The protesters came up with placards where it was written: “I support the Sandu Government”, “Checkmate – assumed prosecutor” “Independent prosecutor supported by the Parliament” and “It’s a must to have a fair prosecutor”.

source: TV8

source: TV8

Photo: privesc.eu

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