The other day, Andrian Candu, the Chairman of the Moldovan Parliament and one of the closest associates of the leader of the Democratic Party oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, gave an interview to the Ukrainian news project Yevropeyskaya Pravda (the European Truth). The most significant aspects of the interview were discussed with RTA permanent expert Sergey CHEBAN.
This is the first time, when the representative of the Moldovan Democratic Party openly calls for a coalition with the ACUM political bloc led by Maya Sandu and Andrei Nastase. Why now? And will the pro-European opposition go for such a union?
Sergey CHEBAN: Mr. Candu seems quite sincere in his call upon uniting with opponents from ACUM. I am sure that the speaker is guided by quite pragmatic considerations and strictly follows the course of the party.
First of all, the union of democrats with the pro-European opposition will allow us to talk about shaping a powerful structure, which Chisinau’s partners will have to consider legitimate. If the favourites of Brussels Sandu and Nastase will be in power, the Republic of Moldova could receive funding from the European Union again and maintain partnerships with the United States. Elections to the European Parliament and shakeup in the European Commission will make it possible to completely change the pretty shaky relations between Chisinau and Brussels and forget Europe’s numerous claims to the Moldovan authorities. In turn, Washington would be happy if Moldova will keep the Euro-Atlantic vector of development, and the pro-Russian forces in the region will lose again, when the PSRM will be in opposition.
The alliance between PDM and ACUM reduces the possibility of protests after parliamentary elections and the formation of a government. Actual opinion polls say that even with the mandates of Ilan Sor’s party, it will be difficult for the right powers and the democrats to form a Cabinet, but it is significantly simpler to buy 2-3 votes instead of 20-30 votes using the traditional methods of the Democratic Party.
Future elections will test backbone of the pro-European opposition. Democrats, through Candu, invite its leaders to the “mess”, and their temptation to join the longstanding schemes of the semi-legal earnings used by the Moldovan oligarchs will be very high. This is a clear deal – ACUM’s authority in the eyes of Europe in exchange for power, influence and money.
This is precisely the danger for ACUM, i.e. to discredit and destroy the movement as an independent political unit. If the right leaders agree on a coalition, the partners from the EU will cooperate with the Government of Moldova, and not with Sandu and Nastase, as it happens today. This will help Vladimir Plahotniuc partially loosen or completely dismantle the ACUM. We have to ask the Our Moldova alliance, Moldovan Communists, Liberals and Liberal Democrats how the autocratic oligarch can cope with it.
In the end, ACUM will lose the support of the most enlightened and politically competent part of Moldovan society, which stands for the European perspective of Moldova and against Plahotniuc’s oligarchic rule. Voters are unlikely to forget such a betrayal, so joining forces and resources with the PDM for ACUM would mean political suicide by a thousand cuts.
Such a union would be beneficial for the Democrats offering external legitimacy, political stability hiding total corruption, and “new blood” for solving new problems. Probably, they will still have to cede to Chisinau, either by acknowledging the results of last year’s elections or by arranging a new vote. But the game is worth the candle.
Andrian Candu openly demonstrates in an interview disregard for Igor Dodon, including the position of the president on Russian-Ukrainian relations. What does it mean: a political trick, an attempt to discredit an opponent or an inability to soberly assess the electoral potential of PDM?
As I have already said, external legitimacy is absolutely important for Vladimir Plahotniuc, who is on the top of anti-rankings. Igor Dodon is of an important instrumental significance with regard to this issue. The Moldovan president personifies the spectre of socialism haunting Europe and the revenge of Moscow. The anti-Russian, especially the military-political actions of the current government mentioned by Andrian Candu are pleasant for the partners of Chisinau in the United States and NATO.
Relations with Ukraine and Petro Poroshenko are also very important personally for Vladimir Plahotniuc. They got ties for different reasons: fabulous wealth, anti-Russian mindset, upcoming fateful elections and an uncertain political future. Ukraine is also a key partner of Moldova in the framework of the Transnistrian settlement. As long as Igor Dodon will politically exist in Moldova, Vladimir Plahotniuc will have a special relationship with any leader of Ukraine.
Speaking of the Transnistrian settlement. Andrian Candu seems to have paid some special attention to this issue…
I agree, the speaker hasn’t spoken so much about the Transnistrian problem for a long time. The point, apparently, is that the Democrats do not have a coherent strategy on Transnistria. There is a set of wishes without an understanding of what the Moldovan authorities are willing to sacrifice for the sake of territorial integrity. Guarantees of Moldova’s refusal to join the NATO and unification with Romania, promises to protect the rights of national minorities in Transnistria are the old battered slogans that Candu borrowed from Igor Dodon, and Dodon from his predecessors who had ever tried to solve the Transnistrian issue. Candu also “borrowed” the idea to recognize Vadim Krasnoselskiy as the “Transnistrian leader elected by the people”. Previously, only pro-Russian Igor Dodon could afford such curtsies to Transnistrian separatists.
All this is not new, and such approaches can hardly satisfy the appetites of Moscow and Tiraspol. It seems that Mr. Speaker himself realizes it and states that the settlement “will come not tomorrow… and not in the near future.”
What exactly can we expect in the end from the PDM in the elections?
Attempts to take as many mandates as possible using administrative pressure, bribery of voters and unfair campaigning; using violations in single-seat districts, pressure on political opponents, dirty technologies and a sleaze war.
The main task of the PDM is to consolidate its own electorate and administrative levers, squeeze votes from wherever possible, weaken and embroil opponents as much as possible. For Vladimir Plahotniuc, the situation is unacceptable when one political formation (PSRM or ACUM) can dictate its conditions to the PDM alone or in cooperation with a minority party.
All other troubles are surmountable. The PDM does not have a clear strategy today, but all options will be worked out: the dissolution of parliament and re-election, minority coalitions, tactical alliances. The most important aspect for the PDM is that the government led by Pavel Filip will keep the temporary authority during the period of the constitutional crisis and protests. And we know that there is nothing more permanent than temporary. Moreover, this technology has been successfully tested with regard to the position of the general mayor of Chisinau, which has temporarily been taken for six months by Ruslan Codreanu as the PDM’s protégé.
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