Entering a New Year with the Old Authorities. 5 Reasons to Move Parliamentary Elections in Moldova to December

Home / Analytics / Entering a New Year with the Old Authorities. 5 Reasons to Move Parliamentary Elections in Moldova to December
Sergei Ceban A few days earlier, RTA experts elaborated on how the chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova, Vlad Plahotniuc, is directing the electoral campaign for the parliamentary elections. The permanent author of the Regional Trends Analytics Dorin Mocanu noted that the coordinator has brought into play and proactively exploits trusted people – Ilan Shor and Silvia Radu, and is preparing the most powerful trump card for the dessert in the upcoming battle for power. This unexpected step is likely to be change of the date of parliamentary elections to December 2018. Vlad Plahotniuc has at least 5 reasons to do so. Reason 1. February 24 is a provisional date According to the current legislation, regular parliamentary elections must be held no later than 3 months after completion of the mandates of the acting deputy corps or the date of dissolution of the supreme legislative body. Guided by this rule, the acting authorities set the most extreme, the most distant date from this time period. A reasonable conclusion is that the governing authorities were initially guided solely by formal time frames, not particularly ‘reflecting’ on the arguments in favor of a particular date. This suggests some conventionality and temporality of this decision that symbolically outlines the formal time frame of the main pre-election battles. Some experts are convinced that the deadline was chosen with only one purpose that is to suppress the September protests of the right opposition led by Maia Sandu and Andrei Nastase. The latter were simply forced to save resources for the forthcoming protracted campaign and postponed the main battle ‘in the squares’ for a protest leap in January-February. Ironically, while the opposition gathers strength believing that there is still time, the democrats will conduct an active part of their election campaign without hindrances and will schedule the elections exactly to its completion in December. In fact, the main purpose of setting the election date for February 2019 has already been achieved: current authorities have spoiled opposition’s game, forcing it to regroup resources and plan the campaign for several months ahead. Scenarios of the pre-election struggle have already been written and now Plahotniuc will destroy them. Reason 2. Welcome home! Pendular migration of the electorate is a convenient basis for all kinds of frauds with the number of voters. December is the time when hundreds of thousands of our compatriots who are forced to work abroad return home ‘thanks to the government’s successes’ in combating unemployment and raising living standards. Labor migrants in most cases are adults who have the right to vote. This means that in December the number of voters in the country will increase by several thousand people. As they say, we can work with that now. On a rough estimate, the return of people to their homeland can be an explanation for: - fraud with the number of external polling stations. The more citizens in Moldova, the less of them are abroad; - invalidation of elections at a particular station because of violations in the voters list; - on the contrary, an extra-large list; - voting of people who have not been in the country for a long time (“Came to visit”, the neighbors will think). We should not forget that the electoral system of the Republic of Moldova was changed to a mixed one at the right time: when voting in single-mandate constituencies, the votes of just a few “those who came to visit” from Romania, for example, can be decisive. Reason 3. Christmas tale The distinctive features of the Moldovan society are traditionalism, conservatism and religiosity. Most of our citizens are brought up with family values, being very sensitive about well-being of relatives and friends, peace and happiness of their children. Christmas and New Year are family holidays. They symbolize all the values that are close to a resident of Moldova, and these values are absolutely the opposite of everything associated with Moldovan politics – deception, corruption and lawlessness. Politics is the last thing that the average Moldovan who has returned to his/her family from abroad after long absence wants to be engaged in the pre-holiday period. The probability that they will protest these days tends to zero. In addition, emotions prevail over rational judgments in the society in December, especially in the second half of it. To tell the truth, at this time of the year we are all waiting for the holiday, and we hope that in the New Year, life will definitely be better. At this point mega-projects launched by the Democratic Party, such as the First Home, expanding access to mortgage lending, or the Good Roads for Moldova come pat. The entire set of electoral bonuses that will create the illusion of a New Year’s miracle will be presented by the government and the PDM within the framework of the announced “pro-Moldovan policy” and awakening national pride in society, opposing it to the pro-Russian and pro-European vector of the right-wing opposition and socialists. Reason 4. The path to power lies through the show The penultimate reason is somehow connected with the previous ones and is that the winter holidays are the best time for a large-scale political performance by the authorities. And the show is the best way to distract people, and to win their sympathy at least for a short time. The Ministry of Health, which Silvia Rada has headed just recently, has already offered to make December 24 and 31 non-working days, that is to arrange a mini-vacation for citizens. As part of the electoral show, the authorities will continue to generate various good ideas in the spirit of various “pro-Moldavian” initiatives, imbued with patriotic appeals, “go to the people”, announce one populist initiative after another and generally maintain a high degree of optimistic intoxication. The format of such a political attraction will be a significant help for the authorities’ candidates in single-mandate constituencies – distribution of New Year presents, children’s school and kindergarten plays, smiles of children make it easier to get to parliament in the wake of this colorful December political carnival than in a dank, post-holiday depressive February. The current Moldovan leadership, led by PDM, has all the resources for this, from financial to administrative, to organize a bright pre-election show. The authorities are able to offer the viewer an expensive interactive performance, unlike the opposition, which simply does not have sufficient financial resources for that. The rally activity of buckwheat porridge lovers from the Shor party is a clear confirmation of this. Reason 5. Sprint race The current pro-European government of Moldova is rapidly running out of European money by the end of the year. Brussels is dissatisfied with the anti-democratic behavior of the PDM, invalidation of the election of the Chisinau mayor, corruption and other delights of the Moldovan political routine. Apparently, before the elections, the trend for the reduction of Europe’s sponsorship of Moldova will not stop. This means that by February Chisinau may face a serious shortage of funds necessary for the maintenance of the country and the electorate. The last winter months will most strongly exacerbate all claims that have accumulated among the population of Moldova to the current authorities. This is well understood by the opposition, which by then will be well prepared for a new round of protests. The government of Plahotniuc has neither a reason nor, probably, a special desire to wait with the elections until February. To retain the power is a task that the Democrats need to solve as unexpectedly as possible, sooner and safer, with a well-defined wind sprint. ‘Coordinator’, according to many analysts, is a good strategist, but in this case it is much more profitable for him to plan a sparkling performance playing there a central role than to play along in a long soap opera with an unpredictable ending. And this means that the reschedule of the elections for December 2018 may be a very tempting step for him. The rest get ready.