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The experts’ opinions: What are the possible ‘combinations’ in the future parliament?

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The future Parliament of the Republic of Moldova could be divided between several political parties: The Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM), the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS), the Dignity and Truth Platform Party (DTPP) – that form the electoral bloc ACUM, and the “Șor” Party. No party has the majority; therefore, a political coalition needs to be formed for voting the future Government. That is where the public, media and the political analysts started to speculate on possible options.

The DPM-PSRM coalition

Igor Boțan, the Executive Director of the Association for Participatory Democracy ADEPT, believes that the most probable and realistic option is a DPM-PSRM coalition, as both the DPM and the PSRM have adopted a “pro-Moldova” attitude and already have experience with forming an alliance. “Regarding the Moldova’s foreign relations, Vlad Plahotniuc and Igor Dodon plead for the idea that Moldova should become a sort of bridge between East and West,” as Boțan states for REL/RL. Boțan considers that the DPM and the PSRM have always had common interests.

“When addressing the bloc ACUM for negotiations, the Democratic Party actually makes a proposal to the Party of Socialists.”

The only impediment in a smooth process of negotiations between the DPM and the PSRM would be an eventual disagreement with Russia, which is interested in maintaining the current political situation in Transnistria, in controlling the Moldova’s exports and imports volumes to the EU and keeping its dominance over Moldova through the Orthodox church and Russian media influence, according to Igor Boțan.

The DPM-ACUM coalition

The decision taken by the electoral bloc ACUM to not create any coalitions with any party that passed the threshold of the people’s vote for entering in the parliament has been heavily criticized, especially by the political experts whose position is favourable to the DPM. Therefore, the political pundit Corneliu Ciurea, declared for PublikaTV – a channel controlled by the Democratic Party that “the bloc ACUM does not want to sit at the negotiating table.” He believes that without a support from the Western partners that would encourage those from the bloc ACUM to have a dialogue, they won’t be willing to negotiate with the Democratic Party, as IPN reports.

On March 1st, the DPM deputy chairman Vlad Cebotari announced during a press conference that the Democratic Party sent letters to the DTPP and the PAS inviting them to negotiate a parliamentary majority, so as to ensure effective government of the Republic of Moldova, in line with people’s expectations, as the DPM press release states.

On the other hand, Andrei Năstase, one of the leaders of the bloc ACUM, declared for ProTV that the DPM is trying to imitate the process of forming an alliance. “From that letter, I deduced the hurry in which the Democrats try to mimic the process of forming an alliance. The bloc ACUM will never form an alliance with the thieves, the ruling mafia, those who degraded the country and its people. One of our main commitments was to not form an alliance with the party of Plahotniuc (the DPM), the party of Dodon (the PSRM), the party of Șor or the party of Usatîi – all the oligarchic and anti-European parties”, stated Năstase.

The PSRM-ACUM coalition

Discussing a possible temporary coalition between the bloc ACUM and the PSRM is an idea promoted by some analysts as the most relevant possibility of the majority creation in the Parliament.

In the opinion of Alexei Tulbure, a political commentator from Moldova, a temporary coalition could be created, based on the fact that more than 60 mandates were obtained by the parties that, at least formally, declared themselves against the current system. “I understand that it is impossible to have a long-term, stable coalition between the PSRM and ACUM, because the priorities are very different, but it is a possibility for a ‘stalemate’ against the DPM in an attempt to free the state institutions from Plahotniuc’s people,” said Tulbure for JurnalTV.

In the same time, Igor Boțan declared that “if there is no trust between the partners, even if the partners have different visions, no provisional coalitions are possible. The part who swallows the bait will suffer afterwards.”

Such a combination would mean a ‘political suicide’ for ACUM, according to the publicist Vitalie Ciobanu. “The socialists are just as rotten and corruptible as the democrats. In addition, the PSRM is a Kremlin’s ‘remote control’,” said Ciobanu.  He asks himself how an alliance of the bloc ACUM with those who want the federalization of the Republic of Moldova would look like. “To make all these sacrifices for the sake of an alliance that would break at the first turn – ACUM would be a political loser and a traitor in the eyes of the people who set their hopes on them,” commented Ciobanu.

Calling snap elections or other ‘creative’ alternatives

In the same time, the political analysts admit the possibility that the DPM would ‘convince’ some politicians from other parties to adhere to the DPM, just like it happened in the previous parliament.

According to the political analyst Dionis Cenușă, the Bloc ACUM needs to decide, whether to influence the governance process or to hold the opposition role in the parliament. “The difficulty of such a decision depends equally on the success of the Democrats’ ultimate establishment of a coalition with the “Șor” Party, the three independent candidates, and necessarily at least 11 representatives of the Socialists (PSRM). If the slightest risk of such a scenario persists, then the Bloc ACUM needs to prepare for early elections or for the forced prolongation of the current government,” stated Cenușă for IPN.

Recently. all 35 members of the PSRM, elected in the national and single-seat constituencies, presented a statement obliging them to work  within a single faction in the future legislature.
The PSRM president, Zinaida Greceanîi, declared that at the moment the party does not negotiate any alliances, and the allegations regarding the possible coalitions between the PSRM and other parties are just speculations.

Another possible scenario seems to be prepared by the DPM, as the party member Sergiu Sîrbu filed a petition to the Constitutional Court on February 28th, demanding the transfer of the Parliament’s powers to the Government in case of blocked parliamentary activity. In other words, Sîrbu asked for the settlement of an interim period for the Government in office, where it could issue normative acts, including in the area of ​​regulating laws to ensure the continuity of power.

The best conclusion for this article can be made using the declarations of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (LDPM) former president – Viorel Cibotaru: “There are no suitable options, miracle solutions. We expect a long and hard positional war, close fights in the parliament and other public institutions.” Cibotaru thinks that people must organize strikes, protests, demonstrations, any kind of national resistance, if necessary, to establish the values they share. In the same time, he advises the public to not put pressure on the newly entered in the parliament parties. 

“Let our new politicians invent something new, amaze us with something else. Do not bother them and teach them what to do. Let them manage it by themselves. We will help them not slip into the labyrinth of power … “,

Photo: sputnik.md

Opinion

Romanian historian A. Gosu about the Moldovan crisis: “Russia has found itself on the same side of the table as Americans and Europeans”

On Friday, the Interim Government of Chisinau, formed by oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc’s Democratic Party, gave up the government invested by Parliament, led by Maia Sandu. The formation led by Vladimir Plahotniuc called for early elections and argued that the current executive is illegal, citing precisely the decisions of the Constitutional Court last week, which, not long ago, were canceled.

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Shortly after the Democratic Party announced it was withdrawing from the government, several private planes and charters for Moscow, Odessa, and London (with DPM members in them) took off from the Chisinau airport, writes Digi24.

Moldova’s Prime Minister, Maia Sandu, promised, in the first statement after the Democratic Party left, that all people guilty of the country’s crisis all these years (led by Plahotniuc) will be punished according to law.

Out of fear, the main criminal left the country “for a few days”. According to a press release, the reason is to see his family. His party’s members did not name the country in which Plahotniuc left. However, it is a well-known fact that Plahotniuc has two children living in Switzerland, where the leader of the DPM also owns a villa on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Photo: Plahotniuc’s house in Switzerland // RISE Moldova

Plahotniuc stole $560,000,000 from the Russian banks.

Indeed, Moscow has long ago announced charges against Plahotniuc (February): Plahotniuc has organized an international criminal group with another businessman (Veaceslav Platon) in order to withdraw the money illegally. The last washed tranche – the famous Moldovan “laundromat” – was somewhere between 23,000,000,000 USD. This money – some of them – went to Romania, Latvia, England, the final destination of money being Western banks and the United States.

Plahotniuc got in trouble after he was involved in wreckage between various criminal groups close to Moscow’s power circles. He helped – including through Romania – to launder billions of dollars and ended the friendship with Russia, explained to Digi24 Armand Goşu, a former Soviet space expert.

Russia will internationally trace oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, who in the meantime, escaped the country. The information was confirmed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Moscow, according to statements made by one of the ‘ACUM’ bloc leaders, Andrei Nastase. In the name of the Democratic Party leader, there is a criminal case opened by Russian investigators.

“Oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc could not stand alone in front of this” monstrous ‘coalition’,” says Gosu.

For the first time since the Crimean crisis, Russia has found itself on the same side of the table as Americans and Europeans.

Also because of Plahotniuc, on the other hand, Putin is now conquering the hearts and minds of Moldovans – an essential battle in today’s hybrid war – in which Romania lost, adds historian Armand Gosu.

Plahotniuc, with support from Bucharest, managed, in a fairly good manner, to manipulate foreign embassies for years and Western chancelleries, which gave them the illusion that Chisinau is a pro-Western regime.

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Important

The case for a Moldovan MEP

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“Where is Moldova?”- a commonly asked question everywhere East of Bucharest, and also a British board game. Few know about the existence of the Republic of Moldova, an ex-Soviet republic which got its independence in 1991 and is sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine.

If one happens to know where is Moldova, it is for a bad reason. It is currently competing with Ukraine for the position of the poorest country in Europe with a GDP per capita hovering somewhere around $5000 per capita (PPP). It constantly comes up as a top origin country for trafficked persons in the US Department of State reports. Around 1 billion US dollars, or one-eighth of its GDP, were taken out of the country’s three banks during 2013-2014 through high-risk loans with the help of EU-based shell companies. It still illegally hosts around 1400 Russian troops on its territory and has not achieved an effective political deal for more than 27 years with a separatist republic in its East. Moldova is also a country with one of the fastest shrinking population in the world and one of the biggest shares of remittances in the GDP. Other than the Epic Sax Guy, Ozone’s “Dragostea din Tei”, and the recently rediscovered wine culture, Moldova is not recognized for good in Europe.

Its recent political successes in foreign policy are limited to three major developments in the relations with the EU: the visa-free regime for Moldovan citizens, the Association Agreement, and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). These developments have not only created a framework of cooperation with the EU in areas ranging from rule of law and democratization to market rules and migration but also allowed Moldovan citizens and companies to explore the European Union. Since 2014, around 1,5 million citizens (in a country of 2,9 million) are reported to have traveled to the EU, and the Moldovan companies increased their exports to the EU by at least 10%. In the meantime, the EU also managed to become Moldova’s most important trade and investment partner, overcoming the CIS market by three times in trade value. It is a reality now that the EU is more engaged politically and economically in Moldova than Russia.

But Moldova’s presence in the EU is visible more often in another form: over 600 thousand Moldovans holding the Romanian citizenship. As a result of Romania’s efforts to reintegrate citizens from former Soviet-occupied Romanian territories, more and more Moldovan citizens, mostly Romanian-speaking ones, have started to obtain (or re-obtain, as officially stated) Romanian citizenship for various reasons. After easily proving family roots in the pre-1945 Romania, Moldovans thus could regain their official status of ethnic Romanians, could visit their lost families in current Romania, and, last but not least, travel and work freely in the EU. It has been argued that the latter has been a major motivation for obtaining a Romanian passport, even for those who don’t necessarily identify themselves as ethnic Romanians. This motivation is occasionally criticized in both Romania and Moldova, but one thing is certain: the actions of the “little man” should not be judged and rather be viewed from a very rational perspective in the poorest of Europe’s regions. Consider this: the lack of interest of Moldovan Romanians in Romania’s public life and Romanian politics does worry many “mainland” Romanians. But this assumption does not hold any longer.

At least 2 Moldova-born legislators were elected in Romania’s bicameral parliament, over 30 thousand Moldovans used the ballot box (in Moldova) in the last Parliamentary and Presidential elections to express their voice in Romania’s politics, tens of thousands of Moldovans live and pay taxes in Romania. Most recently, the political integration of Moldovans in Romania has gone to the next level: the European level. Moldova’s former PM Iurie Leancă (whose premiership witnessed the massive bank frauds) is now the third candidate in the list of Pro România, following ex-PM Victor Ponta and the outgoing Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Crețu. With a failed political career back in Moldova, Leancă has the greatest chance of becoming the first Moldovan MEP in EU’s history, considering Ponta and Crețu’s potential comeback to Romanian domestic politics. Another Moldovan on an EP election list is Daniela Șerban, capital markets professional, but the chances of her getting an MEP seat are quite low, despite Alianța 2020’s potential high score on 26 May.

It has to be said that Moldovan do not vote only for other Moldovans in Romania. People’s Movement led by Ukraine-born Eugen Tomac has maintained appeal amongst Moldovan Romanians due to the policy of reintegration and assistance formerly promoted by ex-President Traian Băsescu in regards to Moldovans and the Republic of Moldova. Băsescu might win his MEP seat largely thanks to the support of Moldovans. Although not able to integrate Moldovan Romanians in their EP election lists, the traditional Social-Democrats and National Liberals are likely to gather support in Moldova only with the help of party links with the governing Democrats and the opposition ACUM bloc in Moldova.

Voter turnout numbers from 26 May will show whether the Moldovan Romanians feel relevant to raise their voice in the second biggest election in the world. More importantly, it will reveal (or reconfirm) a relatively new aspect of the changing EU polity: its permeability for voters who have never lived in the EU but are nevertheless attracted to its norms and prosperity.

On the other side of the “fence”, the EU has to embrace Moldova and Moldovans now more than ever. This deepening of the relations should not happen at the expense of the reform conditionality on EU’s help, nor should it be seen as a geopolitical challenge to Russia. Overlooking the slow progress of reforms has led to the demise of the Eastern Partnership’s “success story” and the democratic backsliding in Moldova’s political system, where the ambiguously “pro-EU” government does not bother cooperating with the “pro-Russian” systemic opposition on the basis of power-sharing.

Overlooking Moldova now would be a mistake the EU could not afford. Overlooking Moldovan Romanians would be something the EU could not avoid. Moldovans might integrate faster into the EU than their own Republic.

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Culture

East or West? Celebrating Victory Day and Europe Day at the same time

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For 3 years, people in the Republic of Moldova have been debating what is more important: celebrating Victory Day or Europe Day on the 9th of May? In 2017, the Parliament of Moldova adopted a law to make Europe Day an official holiday in Moldova, along with Victory Day.

Every political party, regardless of the political views, organize a celebration on this day. This year, the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) and the Șor Party organised concerts, parades and demonstrations for celebrating Victory Day, whereas the political bloc ACUM, the Liberal Party (LP) and the National Unity Party (NUP) celebrated Europe Day. Another political actor – the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) tried to please everyone and organised a holiday of “peace and prosperity for Moldova”.

At the same time, the Moldovan Government decided to focus merely on Victory Day and postponed Europe Day for the following weekend, on May 11th-12th. In such a way, they considered the conflict of interests resolved.

Now it’s the proper moment to ask: what is the problem with having 2 different holidays on the same day? In fact, they are not even contradictory. On the contrary, they are related, as the end of World War II and the surrender of the Allies armed forces (which is celebrated on May 8th in Europe) represented an important drive for the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community – the forerunner to the European Union. Actually, the only problem with it is the context of the Moldovan social and political behaviour.

First, both holidays are politicized and are transformed into an apple of discord deliberately, as the Moldovan politicians, especially those who are in power today, understand very well that a divided society means a weaker society; therefore, an easier to control society. The debates about directing Moldova to West (the EU) or East (the CIS) never stopped in Moldova. On May 9th, everyone argues about that: the governors, official representatives of the civil society, activists and, consequently, common people that instead of taking time to discuss their real problems, new businesses, initiatives, projects, protests against the injustice that is done to them, most of them are dividing in groups, spreading hatred and treating superficially the true meaning of both celebrations.

People forget that Victory Day is not about expensive concerts organised by the socialists or buckwheat with pickled cucumbers served in the city centre by the democrats. It is not about pompous demonstrations that involve children who are forced to dance synchronously instead of listening from their parents, grandparents and teachers about the tragic consequences of the Second World War.

Children singing and dancing on Victory Day| Photo: ZdG

On the other hand, Europe Day is more than classical music concerts organised in the central park of the Moldovan capital. Behind the exposed photo galleries are people that have been working a lot, searched and applied for European funds, people that didn’t expect somebody to simply come and save them from the poverty, corruption, injustice, etc. Unfortunately, such people are still not enough in Moldova and Europe Day is treated by the majority just as superficially as any other holiday in Moldova: an occasion to eat out, listen to concerts’ music and have fun.

Moreover, the governmental institutions and some big media outlets present the events happening on May 9th as a natural occurrence. So, the fact that several political parties ‘marked’ their territories in the city centre of Chișinău, organizing their own events for their own electorate is considered normal. The direct use of propagandist methods combined with avoidance to declare the events’ costs by the political parties is not a problem in Moldova.

We live nowadays in a country stuck between Eastern and Western worlds, which can perfectly make it without our existence. We live in a country with poor people, morally poor first of all, as we don’t really know much about our past and don’t care as much about our future.  None of these two holidays real meaning is interesting for the biggest majority of the population. We just love their symbolism that takes us back in the past or enables us to dream about the future. May 9th is just another reason to celebrate, not more than that.

Photos: Ziarul de Garda

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