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Snap election: is it a practical solution for the political crisis in the Republic of Moldova?

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Today, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova has an anniversary – 2 months since both the first and the last meeting of the newly elected Parliament was held, 2 months of discussions, negotiations (or their avoidance), declarations and attempts (which were more or less trustworthy) to solve the standstill the Parliament and the entire country has been brought to.

No significant advance was reported since March 21st. There is one more month to go until Moldova’s president would dissolve the Parliament and would call a snap election.

In a last-ditch effort to avoid a snap election, the political bloc ACUM invited the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) to the Parliament’s special session, on 21 May 2019 at 14:00, in order to elect the Parliament’s leadership and vote on the anti-oligarchic legislative initiatives.

In response, the socialists published a press release on their official page where they mentioned that the ACUM proposition is unfounded and does not deserve to be taken into consideration. “This populist initiative of the representatives of the bloc ACUM can not surprise neither the PSRM faction in the Moldovan Parliament nor the majority of Moldovan citizens.” At the same time, the socialists highlighted the fact that in order to overcome the political crisis, it is necessary to create a parliamentary majority or to agree, at least, on the first election of the parliamentary leadership.

In short, none of them is willing to reach a compromise. Therefore, it is very probable that a snap election will be conducted in Moldova soon.

Nonetheless, people are not prepared for it. They already seem disappointed and less motivated to vote again. Over the last few years, the voter turnout in the Moldovan elections became lower and lower. During the 2014 parliamentary election it represented 57.28%, whereas during the 2019 parliamentary election it lowered to 50.57%. It could drop even more in case of snap election.

Moreover, a snap election would not change too much the configuration of Parliament, according to a survey conducted by the Association of Sociologists and Demographers from Moldova. Only 15% of respondents believe that this political crisis could be overcome by snap elections. One third of respondents consider that if snap election were organised, no political party would gain the majority, and the results would be similar to those of February elections.

“We have noticed that the population is tired of elections. If there were snap elections, 48.7% of respondents said they would participate in the elections, whereas one third of the population is uncertain about what to do. This demonstrates once again that people have been disappointed with so many choices and political parties, which could not reach a consensus,” declared Eugen Ştirbu, the director of the International Institute for Monitoring the Development of Democracy, Parliamentarianism and Respect for the Rights of the Citizens of the Member States of AIP CIS.

Experts claim that political uncertainty also affects Moldova economically. Adrian Lupusor, the director of the Independent Analytical Center Expert-Grup claimed that the period of standstill leads to delay of financial support programs and early elections would hit the state budget, as the adjustments after the elections would be painful. The costs of organizing elections in Moldova are inversely proportional to the citizens’ trust in politicians. Therefore, whereas the parliamentary elections in 2014 had a budget of 52 million lei, in 2019 – this budget amounted to more than 110 million lei and it could raise even more in case of snap election.

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Parliament asks prosecutors to indict Moldova’s ex-PM, central bank governor, and 2 ex-ministers for negligence over 2014 frauds

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The Parliamentary committee on the investigation of the circumstances around the devaluation of the baking system requested the Moldovan prosecutors to initiate penal cases against the former PM Iurie Leancă, central bank ex-governor Dorin Drăguțanu, former Parliament speaker and economy minister Andrian Candu, as well as the ex-minister of finances, Anatol Arapu.

The committee found that the above-mentioned officials can be charged with negligence at work (329th article of the Penal Code).

Acording to committee head Alexandru Slusari, the three banks involved in the 2014 frauds did not have any special state management and siffoned millions out of Moldova’s banking system, even after the Government covered the 9,5 billion lei of emergency loans given by the National Bank to these banks.

“Thus, the leadership of the Government and the National Bank acted during that period with negligence, to say the least, without imposing state control over BEM, Unibank and Banca Sociala immediately after the issuance of the state warranties. We would like to remind that the warranties were eventually transformed into state debt with a 5% interest rate on the shoulder of citizens”, Slusari declared.

Concidence or not, former PM Iurie Leancă was stopped on 1 August by the border police from crossing Moldova’s borders after attempting to physically transfer 50 thousand euros to Romania. Leancă claims that the money is mentioned in his property declaration.

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Maia Sandu urges Tiraspol to lift the travel ban for officials of the Republic of Moldova

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Prime Minister Maia Sandu had a meeting with representatives of the mediators and observers in the “3+2” negotiation format. The discussions focused on the evaluation of the current stage of the Transnistrian settlement process.

Maia Sandu requested assistance from the “3+2” representatives in determining the Transnistrian party to eliminate in the near future the ban on traveling to the left bank for all citizens of the Republic of Moldova.

According to a government communiqué, the prime minister stressed that the “5+2” negotiation format for the Transnistrian settlement should become a platform to help fight corruption and smuggling.

“We have also discussed this in Kiev and I am glad that we have the same position in relation to this issue. The fight against corruption and smuggling in the Transnistrian region must be a priority. We will ensure that both state institutions and government officials will no longer be involved in corruption and smuggling schemes with Tiraspol, as it had happened in the past. As long as the Transnistrian region will be a major source of illegal enrichment for some people, there will be no real progress in identifying a political solution.”

In this context, Maia Sandu mentioned the need to prolong the EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM).

The head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Claus Neukirch, reiterated that securing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova, with a special status for the Transnistrian region, is the key factor in the mission’s work, but also the main goal of the “5+2” format.

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Financial support provided by USAID will be increased by $29 Million

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Yesterday, Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, and the Deputy of the USAID for Europe and Eurasia Bureau, Brock Bierman, signed two letters confirming the intention to increase the contribution to the development assistance agreement with the value of 29 million US dollars.

According to Maia Sandu, the money offered by the American people will be used for good governance, tourism, information technology, and media projects.

“Support from the US over the years has been important for strengthening democratic institutions and processes in Moldova. US support has been and is important for building the rule of law for reforming justice, building a state to represent and defend Moldovan citizens. This financial support will be used as efficiently, transparently and correctly as possible, especially in the interests of all citizens,” said Maia Sandu.

The expected funding for democratic governance will facilitate the creation of functional institutions and involve citizens in decision-making, promote the efficiency and transparency of local governments, improve access to municipal services, and promote decentralization and judicial reforms. Other key areas are creating favorable conditions for civil society organizations and the media.

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