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Moldova- EU’s failed “success story”

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Since the signing of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Moldova in April 2014, the EU membership has become a clear prospective for the 25 year-old country. Coincidence or not, the same Agreement was proposed to Ukraine and Georgia in the context of Russian expansion: Crimea annexation and intervention in Donbass.

Perhaps the association deal was a tool for the EU to think of the countries in the very proximity of Russia’s sphere of influence as of friendly partners. Speaking about them, the deal was a generator of hope for future investment, freedom of movement and sustainable economic development.

Meeting little critics, the EU has closed its eyes on the lack of concrete, progressive reforms and then, lack of interest to fight high-level corruption and frauds in Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia.

Taking Moldova’s path in particular, it can be said that the so-called “Pro-European” governing parties (Liberal-Democrats, Liberals and Democrats) actually gave up on continuing promised reforms by promoting the obtained visa-free regime within the EU as the main achievement since the independence. Even the terms and the legal conditions asked by Brussels to be implemented have been applied in a less than 50% ratio. After ratifying the Agreement quickly, the Pro-European majority didn’t just neglect the promises made to both the EU and people. These parties simply immersed into the mud of sharing influential positions, improving the corruption and fraud schemes and then performing Hollywood-ish political shows.

Heroes are to be known, so here are the main actors of the “Moldovan Fail” movie:
1. Vlad Filat- Liberal-Democrat, once the most popular politician. Reportedly, from 2009 until now he had control over the Customs Office, the Ministry of Healthcare, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finances, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Arrested for bank frauds and huge extortion from a businessman, involved in the insolvency of three big Moldovan banks.
His party is now out of the coalition and is about to enter a state of opposition.
2. Liberals led by the eccentric Mihai Ghimpu, supposedly Pro-Romanian and Pro-NATO, besides Pro-EU. The party members close to him still have control over the Transportation Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the Education Ministry and the city council of Chișinău. Ghimpu broke the coalition once by asking a reform of the prosecution and justice system. Joined back, gave up on the old principles and is open to cooperate with the Liberal-Democrats on one hand, and the Communists (diametrical enemy), after being kindly asked by Democrats, on the other.
3. Democrats owned by the oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc. Key role in the coalition due to the great financial and political power. Despite having few MPs, Plahotniuc managed to have in his hands key institutions: Speaker of the Parliament, the Ministry of Economy, the Secret Services, the General Prosecution Office, several high-profile judges and prosecutors and the Anti-Corruption Center (that arrested Filat). He has been showing secrecy and strength at the same time by threatening and blackmailing political opponents. Nevertheless, he’s able to control even the Pro-Russian opposition.
4. Opposition- the Communists and the Socialists. The latter supported the voting of a Pro-European President, but now are criticizing him and the majority through protests. Communists tend to adapt to the Pro-European idea, in order to survive on the political ring. Neither of these represents a real, trustworthy opposition.Just before the end of 2015, some 14 Communists MPs left the party and joined the Democrat caucus to form the so-called Social-Democrat Platform, supposed to compete with the extreme leftist Socialists.
5. People. Fed by promises and European future, they forgot to claim them even during relatively good governments. The mass-protests began only in spring 2015, when the famous one billion fraud from the banks was discovered and the public opinion realized that Moldova is about to be bankrupt and financially unreliable. They are struggling now to form some specific claims, but cannot find a clear national leader. Even the protest movement organized by the Civic Platform “Dignity and Truth” galvanized too little in the minds of the governors and made no change in the policies or the quality of life in 2015. It barely showed leadership, unity and clear determination.
6. European Union. The multiple visits of European leaders and the investment done has fed too much the trust of the parties from the Government. The EU has managed to show the light at the end of the tunnel for Moldova, but it didn’t tell Moldovans to stand up from the knees by themselves, even in pain. Even if that pain is a sweet-lying one.

The recent attempt of the President Nicolae Timofti to designate Ion Sturza as a technocrat Prime-Minister was met with overwhelmed coldness by the Democrats and the former Communists, later by the Liberals, let alone the Socialists and the core Communists. The extraordinary session from the 4 of January this year, supposed for giving the confidence vote for the new Government, failed due to lack of quorum: 53 MPs out of 101 prefered to stay home rather than examining a reforms program in a period of deep crisis. This directed rejection of a reformist Government was the last of drop in the cup of disgrace of the citizens, who were asking themselves whether a lack of quorum means a rejection according to the Constitution. The second and the last legal round of negotiations for forming a new “Pro-European” majority and for voting a new Government started, but the probability of announcing preliminary Parliamentary elections is higher as the parties are too stubborn to give up on occupied profitable state institutions to make some space for independent, “too” reformist professionals. High is the probability that the Pro-Russian Socialists and the partisans of the eccentric Renato Usatîi (and why not, the members of the Social-Democrat Platform) would get enough votes to form a Government in case of preliminary elections in spring, as the centrist and the right-wing voters show little interest or big repugnance for their parties. New Pro-European alternatives appeared: the Dignity and Truth Party, helped by the civic movement, and the Solidarity and Action Party, led by former World Bank consultant and Education Minister. The problem is that the current governing political class from the Parliament doesn’t want to allow any outsiders from the civil society and the professional groups to seize power. There is no doubt or surprise that the Democrat Plahotniuc and his allies are interested in keeping the status-quo. And he does think he can control the situation. The insiders thus want to control the permissive democracy of Moldova.

Now, when EU’s success story is about to fail as a democratic state because of the failures of the political class, people of Moldova see no hope for a better life or even peace. The region is in deep crisis: Ukraine is at war, European Union tries to cope with the migration flows, Russia thinks too much of its military position and too little about its economic struggles. Not even the Association Agreement has managed to ensure Moldova’s stability and integrity, taking the separatist Transnistria in account. It failed from inside.
Romania also reset its brotherhood policy with Moldova: reforms or no money given, transparency in the Pro-European Government or no support in the European Parliament, fair justice or no technical assistance, etc. Still, Romania has not closed its arms to a hug with Moldova, a economical and political union, as it occurred in 1918. It generally (65% acceptance of the Union) accepts and welcomes Moldova as a integral part, while in the “Republic” the idea is clearly supported only by some 20% yet.

So, let the people decide whether Moldova is in a dead end or in a crucial point for change.

Later edit on 9 of January 2016.

Correspondent reporter of Moldova.org Focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Eastern Partnership. Inquiries at [email protected]

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Politics

Moldova has a new Government: Ion Chicu is the prime minister of the country

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Things are happening in Moldova from one day to the next. The Government headed by Ion Chicu, the adviser of President Igor Dodon and former Minister of Finance in the Government led by the democrat Pavel Filip, obtained the confidence vote of the Parliament.

Members of the Parliament (MPs) representing the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) and one independent MP, in total 62 voters, supported the Cabinet of Ministers proposed by President Dodon. The members of the political bloc ACUM left the room before the voting procedure, while the MPs from the Șor  Political Party abstained.

Ion Chicu, Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova |Source: privesc.eu

Today, the newly voted Cabinet of Ministers already managed to attend the ceremony of taking the oath of office.

“The Republic of Moldova has obtained a technocratic Government that is committed to solving the state’s problems. I thank the president for bringing me into this position,” said Prime Minister Ion Chicu.

Shortly after the new Government was instituted, the Executive’s website has been updated with the names of Prime Minister Ion Chicu and of the other members of the Cabinet.

Beside Prime Minister Ion Chicu, there are five more advisers to the head of state who are Ministers in the new Cabinet, as well as the PSRM lawyer. They are as following:

  • Victor Gaiciuc – adviser to President Dodon in the field of national defence and security, secretary to the Supreme Security Council;
  • Ion Perju – adviser to President Dodon in the field of agribusiness and public administration;
  • Corneliu Popovici – adviser to President Dodon in the field of education, culture and research;
  • Viorica Dumbrăveanu – adviser to President Dodon in the field of social development;
  • Aureliu Ciocoi – adviser to President Dodon in the field of foreign policy;
  • Fadei Nagacevschi – the lawyer of PSRM.

Source: privesc.eu

Therefore, as being confirmed by the political experts, it became clear that the new Government is more or less (rather more) connected with PSRM.

“It is difficult to qualify the new government as technocratic, because the future ministers, even if they are not party members, have very close relations with the Presidency and with socialists (PSRM) respectively, but also with DPM,” stated Dionis Cenuşă, associate expert at the Independent Analytical Centre ‘Expert Group’.

“It is clear that the government will strengthen the position of Igor Dodon and that of the Presidency,” claimed Ion Tăbârță, political expert at IDIS Viitorul.

“A technocratic government means that ministers are non-party figures. In this case, President Dodon is trying to prove that a technocratic government is formed of ministers who are not members of the party, but who, at the same time, are part of the president’s team. […] In these circumstances, I would say that this Government is only half technocratic,” said Victor Juc, the director of the Institute of Legal, Political and Sociological Sciences within the Academy of Sciences of Moldova.

The candidacy of Ion Chicu was proposed by President Dodon after the members of the bloc ACUM declared that they will not propose and will not accept another candidacy for the position of prime minister, other than the one of the ACUM leader and already former Prime Minister, Maia Sandu.

Photo: privesc.eu

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A new option for Moldovan politics? The minority government

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The Socialist Party of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) announced today its support for the President’s initiative to establish a minority government, consisted of apolitical and technocratic people. “In this regard, we will enter into a dialogue with all the deputies and with all the parliamentary factions in order to identify the optimal formula for investing a technocratic Government,” is mentioned in an official statement of PSRM.

President Igor Dodon had consultation meetings with all parliamentary factions representatives, but no consensus was reached between them. “Our proposal is very clear: Maia Sandu – prime minister, the Cabinet of Ministers and Government’s agenda – stays the same. We do not accept any other candidate,” declared Igor Grosu, the representative of the political bloc ACUM after meeting the President.

At the same time, the remaining two parliamentary factions declared they will form no government coalition either, the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) stating that it’s not prepared, while the Șor Party saying it won’t participate in the current “simulation games”.

Mutual accusations

“Today, we discovered the unwillingness of the colleagues from the political bloc ACUM to maintain the governing coalition. They categorically rejected the proposal to establish a new government, following the same principles, with the same vision of government, but with new people, elected via consensus. The proposal of ACUM to establish a similar government to the one that was dismissed, with the same prime minister, is ridiculous. It denotes political infantilism and lack of constructive approach. You can’t make the same mistakes twice,” according to the PSRM statement.

We cannot reset the Government with exactly the same people who led to the dismissal of the previous one.


On the other hand, Maia Sandu, interim Prime Minister of Moldova, said for RFE/RL that, when she assumed the responsibility for amending the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office, she did not imagine “that Igor Dodon would be so irresponsible as to descent the country into chaos, before the 2020 budget approval and before the country obtained additional external financing instalments for the budget”.

Maia Sandu declared that the de-oligarchisation cannot continue without the reform of the General Prosecutor’s Office, which did not have political support.
“We focused on the appointment of an independent General Prosecutor because it was clear that we would not be able to go on with the rest of the reforms related to the Supreme Court of Justice or the cleansing of judiciary,” explained Sandu.

“I was aware that Igor Dodon is afraid of an independent prosecutor and I was aware that they want to stop the implementation of justice reform at this stage or at a later one.”

“The so-called technocratic government, which has no reason to be technocratic, will be an interests-sharing government between PSRM and DPM. That was what upset PSRM: we did not allow them to get involved in ministries,  we did not allow them to do their schemes or take over those of the DPM (previous government),” stated Sandu in the interview.

No other coalition

The PSRM representatives stated that it will not form any coalitions with other parliamentary factions, the only long-term coalition that was possible was between PSRM and ACUM. President Dodon announced he saw “no chance for forming a majority government.”

At the same time, he claims that he does not want snap elections, so if a consensus is not reached, he would submit a candidate to the position of prime minister. Beside the option of creating a majority government, the president took into consideration the option of forming a technocratic government. “Therefore, starting from today we announce that the PSRM faction is moving towards voting a new Government, with the participation of the Presidency and other parliamentary factions,” socialists declared.

Justice reform

In the given circumstances, the future Minister of Justice should announce a new contest for selecting a Prosecutor General, or return to the results of the contest cancelled by the ex-Minister of Justice Olesea Stamate, according to President Dodon.

“The justice reform will be further implemented. No matter what formula will be reached, majority or minority government, I will insist that all recommendations of the Venice Commission would be taken into account and that the justice reform would be implemented exactly as society expects,” said President Dodon.

A new prime minister?

Even though the term of 90 days is long enough, President Dodon already submitted a candidacy for the position of prime minister.  Surprisingly (or not), the newly proposed candidate is Ion Chicu, adviser in the legal field and institutional relations, representing the President of the Republic of Moldova in relations with the Parliament and the Government, former Minister of Finance in the Democratic Government led by Pavel Filip.

Igor Dodon has already signed the presidential decree.

“He is a professional, technocratic person, who was not part of any party and could face any challenges. I submitted this application hoping that a professional candidate will be voted,” argued the president.

The head of state warns the MPs that they must take the risk of snap elections, if they do not vote for the candidacy of Ion Chicu: “You will have to assume the expenses and the risks related to snap elections,” he claimed during his second press conference held today.

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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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