The election of the capital’s mayor confirmed that none of the parties of the ruling alliance will succeed governing the country alone
Dorin Mocanu, RTA:
Almost all attention was focused on voting in the capital in the second round of local elections in Moldova. It ended with a small sensation: for the first time in many years, the left-wing politician, a member of the Party of Socialists Ion Ceban became the mayor of the capital. Unlike last year’s election, he won a fairly convincing victory by a margin of almost five percent. Perhaps that is why the results of the vote were not challenged on the right flank of the ruling coalition: even Maia Sandu has already recognized Ceban as mayor and expressed hope that he will carry out his election promises.
The ‘battle for Chisinau’ again showed that despite all the internal problems, democracy still exists in the country. We saw a really competitive struggle, albeit quite dirty. It was not like voting ‘one party, one leader’, as often happens in the post-Soviet space. In addition, after the overthrow of the oligarchic regime, the general background of the elections improved: at least, hopes for a fairer outcome of the vote have become much higher.
On the other hand, the elections in the capital showed the disunity of the Moldovan society, which is almost equally divided along ideological lines. Ceban won, but the margin of ten thousand votes in Chisinau is nearly nothing. In fact, everything was decided by a small number of swing voters who elected their candidate at the last moment, as well as those who simply did not come at the polls. If the situation had changed a little in one way or another, the outcome of the vote would be quite different.
One thing is clear: neither the ACUM nor the PSRM can satisfy the interests of the entire Moldovan society alone. None of these political forces, no matter how hard they try, in the current conditions has any chances to turn into a ‘party of all Moldovans’, which, for example, the ‘Servant of the People’ has become in neighboring Ukraine. And there is nothing to suggest that this state of affairs may change in the future.
It turns out that the seemingly unnatural alliance of the pro-European bloc and the pro-Russian PSRM remains the only viable structure of the ruling power, which is able to govern Moldova in somehow democratic conditions.
The election campaign in Chisinau exposed many of the coalition’s problems. Both candidates did not hesitate to shower each other with streams of accusations and compromising material, noticeably heightening tensions within the ruling alliance. In the last week, even the usually restrained Igor Dodon began to make threats to the coalition.
In these circumstances, the victory in Chisinau may encourage the PSRM and inspire further pressure on the ACUM allies over the redistribution of ministerial portfolios, as well as other issues such as justice reform and the Transdniestrian settlement. Therefore, it is now important for socialists to critically evaluate their victory and not give in to dizziness with success. It should be understood that Ceban’s victory was due to many factors, and not all of them depended on the PSRM: as, for example, the unsuccessful activities of Andrei Nastase as head of the Interior Ministry, and his failed aggressive election campaign.
Although the first step of gentlemanly struggle was the hardest, they need to put their mutual resentment aside and sit down again at the negotiating table. If now one of the parties continues to hog the cover, it will not end well.
Therefore, the main conclusion that can be drawn based on the elections in Chisinau: the ruling coalition must be preserved at all costs. Whatever it is contradictory, clumsy and unstable. There is simply no other way to govern the current Moldova. Unless, of course, someone has plans to take advantage of Vlad Plahotniuc’s rich experience in sole command of the country.
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