Gifts of the New Government: What Are the Socialist Government’s Calculations?

Sergey Cheban, RTA:

On Monday, President Igor Dodon at a press conference announced a number of initiatives of the Chicu’s government, which should, according to the plan, improve the standard of living of the population.

So, the government will give 700 lei to pensioners by the New Year, promised to adjust pensions twice in 2020, increase governmental aid to pay for heating, raise public sector salaries and pay them a bonus before the New Year holidays. The Chicu’s government should also increase allowances for veterans, pharmacists who leave to work in the villages, as well as preserve the right of citizens to receive the pension of a deceased spouse who has just retired.

Experts were quick to judge that Igor Dodon and the PSRM had already begun the presidential election campaign and preparations for early parliamentary elections. According to analysts familiar with the situation in Moldova, the socialist government, supported by the Democratic Party, has a predetermined and limited ‘working life’. This can be evidenced also by the fact that the new Prime Minister Chicu presented the program of the Cabinet for exactly a year.

It is easy to assume that Igor Dodon sets the government the only task that is to keep the country afloat until the elections and to strengthen its image of a successful politician, a unifier of the country and the leader of the nation, who took over power in time and did not lose. Probably, the President knows well the values of the Moldovan people and is rightly sure that the demand for a strong hand will never subside in the country of eternal political crisis.

The uncertainty in the issue of preserving European funding also proves that the government must just ‘hold out for a day and a night only’. Former Prime Minister Maia Sandu pointed out that it was she who managed to resume macro-financial assistance from the EU, and the socialist government would not get a penny from Brussels. It is not known whether Sandu can speak so confidently for European officials, but she is right that the EU is not too happy with the cynical throw over the hip of their direct allies and wards in Chisinau in the person of the ACUM bloc. The new government may not get any money, and without it the Moldovan economy will simply not be able to survive for a long time.

It turns out that the New Year’s gifts to the new government are really a groundwork and preparation for the elections. However, these steps of the Dodon government have another, not so noticeable goal, which is not directly related to the elections.

Igor Dodon seeks to win the maximum popular love to protect himself and his government from the fate of the Cabinet of Ministers of Sandu. The President needs strong popular support, which will not allow his current tactical allies from the PDM to steamroll a vote of no confidence in the government of Chicu before new elections.

When the PSRM and PDM dismissed the Sandu’s government, a not very active and impressive ‘support team’ of the ACUM bloc protested outside the window.

Igor Dodon needs an angry crowd of allies of the Party of Socialists, state employees, doctors, pensioners, residents of villages and cities, ready to stand up for their leader and benefactor, in case of anything. In order for the President to have such an image, the government supposedly will try to make a maximum of populist moves and direct monetary ‘injections’ into the Moldovan society.

There is definitely cynicism in this ordinary political situation: the PSRM understands that in the context of ongoing political strife, the standard of living of the population does not change, and if it does, then for the worse. Socialists perfectly understand that ridiculous 300, 200 and even 100 lei for many pensioners will become literally a gift before holidays, and the Moldovan society is used to thank for gifts. And let gratitude be delayed for a year, it will nevertheless be asked.

The end of this long game will show whether the PSRM and the Chicu’s government will be able to win popular love for their political leader – we must not forget that something similar in the form of high-profile programs has already been undertaken by the predecessors of the current Cabinet. However, in the end, not those for whom the authorities tried hard had the decisive word for the fate of the Moldovan politics.