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Any kind of radical changes in Ukrainian politics could have repercussions for the Republic of Moldova. Opinion

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The deputy of the political bloc ACUM and the former ambassador of Moldova to USA, Canada and Mexico, Igor Munteanu declared in an interview for RFE/RL that the tense political situation in Ukraine at the moment, as well as the results of the presidential elections could have repercussions for the entire Eastern and Central European region, including the Republic of Moldova.

Igor Munteanu declares that a radical decision in any direction, pro or anti-Russia could influence the situation in Moldova as well. “In case the future president of Ukraine wants to approach a peaceful solution with Russia, that implying worsening conditions for Ukraine’s national interests, I believe it could produce more skepticism in Moldova and could slow down the rapprochement with the EU,” claimed Munteanu.

On the other hand, if the current president remains in power and the relations between Ukraine and Russia worsen, the Transnistrian problem would come into question, according to Igor Munteanu. “In an eventual hot war, which is a very expensive option for both sides, the Transnistrian model could be pursued with more attention for a transplant on the territory of Ukraine. Then, the Republic of Moldova should also make certain corrections regarding the future of Transnistria. So, any kind of change on the Ukrainian politics could have consequences for us,” said Munteanu.

At the same time, Munteanu showed preference for the candidacy of the current president. “Petro Poroshenko, unlike other presidents, including the one of the Republic of Moldova, showed great courage and good management qualities. In extremely difficult situations for the Ukrainian state, he managed to rebuild an army capable of facing a dreaded adversary and he succeeded…”

 “It is clear that the elections in Ukraine are fundamentally important for the whole region, not only for the Republic of Moldova, but also for Poland, Romania and the Black Sea area. So, we will wait to see the degree of this influence.”

According to the results of the first round of the presidential election in Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko will run against comedian and TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the second round on April 21st.

Photo: bbc.com

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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Featured

Why do Moldovans have fewer official holidays but still don’t work more than Germans?

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I am an emigrant. Several years ago, I left my home country – Moldova and, after several changes, I ended up in Germany. No, I am not telling you my life story. You just would need some background information to understand why I decided to call your attention to this sensitive topic.

Every year, I encounter the same situation: a lot of people from Moldova are complaining about too many public holidays in Moldova, empty streets and paralysed public services. Especially during this period: Orthodox Easter Monday (April 29th), Labour Day (May 1st), Memorial Easter (May 6th), Victory Day or Europe day (May 9th) – a reason for one more dissension in the Moldovan society, all of them in just two weeks.

So, in a way, it is understandable why some people are not very happy about it. But are they not happy because of the public holidays’ existence or because of the way things are taken care of during these days?

There are a lot of countries in this world that have more public holidays per year. One of them is Germany. That’s true, one of the most hard-working nations in this world (at least according stereotypes) has slightly more public holidays than we, Moldovans, do. So, does that mean that Germans work less throughout the year? Not necessarily.

Well, let’s take it one by one.

First of all, as compared to the Moldovan people that have 12 public holidays in 2019, Germans, in particular Bavarian people (this is the region where I live in) have 13 officially declared public holidays for the same year. Nonetheless, I never heard that Germans would collectively and continuously complain about that. On the contrary, they love it.

Somehow, they got used to the fact that on national public holidays and on Sundays everything is closed, including the grocery stores. In bigger cities, there is still at least one open grocery store at the central train station. In smaller towns, people have the option of gas stations stores only.

Now imagine how people in Moldova would react if one day the government would decide to implement such a measure and almost all grocery stores would be closed on Sundays. It would be a catastrophe!

Germans learned to plan, to prepare everything in advance. That is one thing that Moldovans need to learn as well.

One more important aspect is that some service industries are still open: public transportation is still punctual, even though, it comes less often, there are enough hotels, cafes and restaurants that provide their services, as well as entertainment and sport institutions like theaters, cinemas, museums, swimming pools, tennis courts and so on, remain open. And of course, the emergency services such as fire, medical, police services are available. People that work in these areas usually receive supplemental pay for working on Sundays and holidays. They understand that their job is important for other people who want to be safe or go out during their free time. At the same time, nobody expects postal services, administrative institutions, fashion shops, travel agencies, family doctors, lawyers to work in these days.

What do I want to actually say through this article? It is not as much about the amount of working time as it is about the efficiency of the effort. It is the government’s job to assure the basic public services during the national public holidays (e.g., public transportation) and it is the people’s job to adapt to the free days setting and plan everything in advance. That refers to Moldovans as well – we should stop complaining and try to be more productive during the working days, so that no frustrations would appear when we have our free days, which are, by the way, not as many as we think.

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Important

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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