Sergey Cheban, RTA:
After the defeat of Andrei Nastase in the second round of the Chisinau mayoral elections, Moldovan Prime Minister Maia Sandu was one of the first to recognize the victory of socialist Ion Ceban and expressed readiness to cooperate with the municipal leaders of any parties. At the same time, Sandu thanked Nastase for running and kindly invited him to return to the government, and banally accused Igor Dodon of cunning, intrigue and sabotage of reforms.
A little time passed, and the already elected mayor of Chisinau Ion Ceban hastily expressed his readiness to cooperate with the ACUM bloc and the coalition in the Chisinau City Council. That’s democratic, friendly and serves for the future of the entire ACUM-PSRM coalition.
Andrei Nastase himself dropped out of the media scene for a day and looked like a loser in every sense: after his humiliating defeat, a new feast of life has already begun in the ruling coalition, where all are friends and doing great.
The post-election situation in Moldova clearly shows the heterogeneity not only of the ruling coalition, but also of the ACUM bloc specifically. The ritual compliment from Sandu to the losing ally is only a tribute to formal politeness, in fact, the processes are developing in an absolutely favorable way for the Moldovan Prime Minister.
It is worth remembering that long before the elections to the Moldovan Parliament in 2019, the political forces of Sandu and Nastase existed separately and did not hesitate to actively criticize each other. PAS and DA competed for the title of the most handshakeable, pro-European, democratic and untainted political forces of Moldova. For a long time Sandu and Nastase were united only by a pro-European vector, sympathy for Romania, as well as regular criticism of Plahotniuc and Dodon.
The Moldovan pro-Europeans were pushed into each other’s arms by the need and for the purpose of political survival. The consideration was correct: as ACUM the Sandu and Nastase parties received a dramatic result in Parliament, and then became part of a single ruling coalition. It is unlikely that PAS or DA could achieve this separately. However, the disagreement between Sandu and Nastase has not disappeared, and the current elections of the mayor of Chisinau showed that the Moldovan Prime Minister was not particularly upset by Nastase’s defeat.
It must be understood that the problem is not so much the personal contradictions between Sandu and Nastase, but a good political judgement. During the mayoral elections, that is, at least a few months, the PSRM and the DA platform of Andrei Nastase were passionate about competition. While the Dodon and Nastase parties spent resources, the other part of the ACUM bloc saved them.
In the end, both the socialists and rival pro-Europeans of Nastase came out of the election campaign with losses, and Maia Sandu will still get a part of the positions in the Chisinau City Council and will lead her people to the administration of the capital.
At the same time, the competition between the PSRM and the Nastase party opens up for Sandu the widest scope for criticism of Igor Dodon personally. Absolutely any negativity to the President in the framework of the election campaign can be called the support of allies in the ACUM bloc. Of course, both sides are caught up in the current skirmish between the socialists and the right, but only Maia Sandu benefits from it.
After all, today’s press conference of lost Nastase opens a new horizon of confrontation between the DA platform and the Party of Socialists – the upcoming presidential elections. If Nastase does not accept defeat and risks becoming a rival of Dodon in the struggle for the presidency, the degree of mutual ‘destruction’ between the DA and the PSRM will grow many times.
Against such a favorable background, the political force of Maia Sandu will have the opportunity to repeat all the same as in the mayoral elections, but multiplied by two: competitors from both flanks will weaken, Sandu will be able to ‘legally’ criticize Dodon and in general will look a restrained, technocratic and purposeful Prime Minister against political showdowns of DA and PSRM.
“They talk, she works” is a political credo already tested in the neighboring country, which fits the realities of the current Moldovan policy.
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