The Age of Coalitions. How to Share Power in Moldova

Home / Analytics / The Age of Coalitions. How to Share Power in Moldova
RTA expert Sergey Cheban commented on the February 24 election results. The analyst is sure that the results of the voting practically exclude the possibility of protests, and the main intrigue is the shape of the future coalition.The results of the Moldovan elections have already shown the usual situation in which victory is not quite a victory, and defeat is not quite a defeat. The Party of Socialists of Moldova generously gave promises and hopes, and seemingly had good reasons to claim the first place. But such forecasts, apparently, did not fully take into account the factor of the new “mixed” electoral system, which, by the way, democrats and socialists voted together for. Now, if we sum up the interest received on party lists and in single-mandate constituencies, then the first place in the aggregate may well be the Democratic Party of Plahotniuc. It turns out that the “mixed” system won all”, says Cheban. According to the regular RTA author, the first place on the party lists of the Igor Dodon’s PSRM together with the loss of the positions of single-mandate socialists create an uncertain situation. Following the elections, the Party of Socialists is faced with a fundamental choice between the recognition of the legitimacy of the election results and mass protests. “Both options are bad for the PSRM. If in 2015-2016 the socialists had a situational ally in the face of the right opposition, now the ACUM bloc already has about 25 seats in Parliament and good prospects for bargaining on the future coalition, and for further support from the European Union. By and large Sandu and Nastase don’t need to protest for months as before, and the socialists ultimately risk being alone on the barricades. On the other hand, to recognize these elections for the PSRM is tantamount to a session of self-denunciation with the ‘burning’ of the image of uncompromising fighters with the ruling regime created by themselves. But, as the history of the Moldovan political ‘games of thrones’ shows, this option is the most realistic today. It is always possible to find rational justifications and explain the choice of a thorny way of creating coalitions with their ‘genetic’ commitment to law and order, concerns about the stability of the country,” the expert notes. Sergey Cheban draws attention to the fact that the situation, in which the leading political forces gained approximately equal votes, almost excludes the possibility of protests. “Every party has something to lose. In addition, now there is a risk that careless statements may provoke a coalition between opponents and leave the party on the sidelines of the coalition bargaining. No one will volunteer for this, because everyone wants to be in power. It is also important that there are no serious distortions in the election results, which means that no one will believe in the rhetoric about “mass violations”. Most likely, the parliamentary parties have only one way out – to negotiate,” the analyst emphasizes. According to Cheban, the coalition remains the most likely outcome of the election, as a new round of voting for all looks unpredictable. “Despite the active campaign, the turnout was the lowest in the history of the elections on February 24. It is noticeable that many residents of Moldova are tired of politics and do not believe anyone. The results of the new vote may be even worse, and this is a serious risk for all political forces. Besides, re-elections may not bring a convincing victory to anyone. Think about the already sunk into oblivion Voronin’s Party of Communists, which in every election since 2009 loses more support. The PCRM case is demonstrative, and the fate is unenviable,” recalls the regular RTA author. Sergey Cheban said that the Plahotniuc-Shor alliance literally lies on the surface, which will bring the PDM about 40 votes. In this case, according to the expert, the Democratic Party will easily repeat the trick of 2015 and will get the necessary number of seats at the expense of independent candidates and defectors. Moreover, before the Democrats began their political ‘packing up’ from significantly fewer mandates. “ACUM, for example, is a rather heterogeneous movement with internal contradictions that can push individual members of the bloc to a coalition with the PDM. This option is in some sense preferable for Sandu and Nastase, who publicly promised not to unite with the PSRM and PDM: the deputies will defect without their knowledge at fault the Almighty Plahotniuc”, draws attention Cheban. “Another option is the so-called minority government of the Democratic Party, with no coalitions at all, but ACUM members will get some posts or part of the powers for dialogue with Brussels. This option is not the easiest for Sandu and Nastase, as they will have to deny cooperation with Plahotniuc in every corner and prove that formally there are no coalitions with the PDM, as promised. On the other hand, the EU would like to see its fosterlings from the ACUM as authorized officials and ‘do business’ with them. Therefore, I do not exclude the “government of national stability” with no coalitions, but the powers shared between the parties according to their agendas”, says Cheban. “The socialists in this scenario will keep the Russian track, which, however, belongs strictly to no one. The main question is what conclusions will Moscow draw after the elections, when the PSRM showed an unexpectedly weak result. Will there be a reformatting of the Russian strategy and mechanisms to support Igor Dodon with an eye to the long game – we will see soon,” said the expert.