The events of the last weekend in Moldova are already called historical. Long-standing ideological opponents, the pro-European bloc ACUM and the Party of Socialists, have forgotten their disputes for a while and united for the sake of detoxifying the political system of the country from Plahotniuc and the government under his control. However, it is too early to celebrate the victory over the oligarch, there are many serious challenges ahead, which need to be addressed as quickly as possible.
Vladimir Rotar, RTA regular expert:
It seems, the experienced Moldovan puppeteer have outplayed himself. Democrats in the last week clearly felt masters of the situation, keeping in mind two equally convenient options: early elections or a coalition with the Socialists. In this sense, the lightning-fast formation of a new power dictated by ACUM and the PSRM was a bombshell for them.
The right-wingers and Socialists long went to the alliance. RTA colleagues from the first days assumed such an outcome of the post-election situation in Moldova. Many experts spoke ironically about such a scenario, easily assuming no drastic changes at the Moldovan front. The reality is much more interesting.
As we said, such difficult compromise in conditions of scant trust was the only chance to change the global dispositions in the Moldovan policy.
That’s not a secret that the alliance of two essentially antagonistic forces has developed by the international players. Now it is clear that the visit of foreign envoys was clearly not ‘idle’. Special representative of the President of Russia Dmitry Kozak played an important role and managed to set the PSRM and ACUM both for the continuation of negotiations and for mutual concessions. Communication with the Russian official received positive and even enthusiastic assessments in the camp of the pro-European bloc.
It is logical that the new Moldovan authorities almost immediately were ‘recognized’ both by Moscow and Brussels. Washington took a more neutral attitude, which called all to “show restraint and to agree on a path forward through political dialogue”. Nevertheless, the Deputy Head of the US Embassy in Moldova, together with the Head of the EU Delegation and the Russian Ambassador, was present at the fateful Saturday meeting of the Parliament, which can be considered a certain ‘curtsy’ towards the new government.
However, despite the international legitimacy and hastily approved speaker and the government, pro-Europeans and socialists, first, should not relax yet, and second, they simply won’t be let to. Plahotniuc still has the real power: he retains control over the law enforcement agencies and the Constitutional Court, as well as overall control over the situation in the regions: districts of Moldova began to announce support for the old government – although there are opposite statements, for example, from Gagauzia.
The oligarch responded to the actions by ACUM and PSRM: he personally led the protests of supporters of the Democrats in the Moldovan capital, and the media resources of the PDM began to persecute the head of state, who was accused almost of high treason. Furthermore, the Constitutional Court has managed ‘to dissolve’ Parliament and ‘to suspend’ Igor Dodon, while the ‘acting President’ Pavel Filip called for early elections on September 6.
Now the country is at a crossroads – with two governments and presidents, as well as a ‘half-dissolved’ Parliament. Today, the ministers and officials approved on Saturday should start exercising their powers, which means that we can expect an escalation of political confrontation: the Democrats are unlikely to surrender without a fight. On the other hand, Plahotniuc should understand that the price of a fierce confrontation for him will increase every minute. The more he delays negotiations on the transit of power, the less chance it is that he agrees with international players on the conditions of political life of the PDM and in general on the existence of Plahotniuc outside the ruling framework.
Democrats are used to testing the patience of foreign partners. After all, they have been quite comfortable for the past two years, despite strong discontent and criticism from the European Union. But now the PDM risks being in total isolation — its allies have either left the political arena (as in Ukraine) or are rapidly losing power (as in Romania). It is unlikely that Plahotniuc will be able to resist the whole world alone, even with all his financial and administrative resources. He still has a difficult choice. Either fight to the end for a long chance to stay at the top of the Moldovan political chain, or start a peaceful transit of power – while there is still an opportunity to bargain for a ‘honorable surrender’. Otherwise, the PDM is highly likely to face a political defeat and be consigned to the dustbin of history, and its leader – to go to a prison cell.
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