The Imaginary PDM Split - a Promising Plan for Plahotniuc’s American Patrons

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Vladimir Rotar The so-called split in the PDM resembles a performance of a quite average in its talents provincial troupe, designed to give Democrats the “golden share” and return the party together with oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc (staying behind it) to the center of Moldovan politics. Over the past week, the country's political news resembled front-line reports where the situation changed unpredictably almost every day (at least for ordinary observers). The protagonist was the Democratic Party which apparently received its American patrons’ green light command. Recall that after the unexpected political PSRM “castling move” which consisted in tossing over government’s board its coalition-colleagues from the pro-European bloc ACUM and changing its political partners in favor of Democratic Party, the American development partners’ activity intensified. The December visit of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent to Moldova was significant, he met with everyone except President Igor Dodon. Judging by the press releases and photographs the American diplomat’s communication was especially warm with the leadership of the Democratic Party which managed to accomplish the impossible in record time and “cleared” itself off the negative oligarch Plahotniuc’s toxic legacy. Apparently, the first act named imitation of political PDM “reorganization” was successful. Yesterday we witnessed the next act of the provincial performance, which is characterized by the expansion of Democrats on different political flanks. Until recently, colleagues reasoned upon PDM prospects and what the future expectations are: an officially formed coalition with the socialists, an alliance with ACUM or an internal split. Paradoxically, over the past weeks all three scenarios have been realized. At first, the Democrats noted an imitation of rapprochement with the opposition pro-European bloc and it was so good that they even believed in PAS, whose representative announced some “strategic points of cooperation”. The reason for the cooperation was to adopt a document that would clearly confirm the country's pro-European course. The action was initially seen as deeply symbolic - after all, neither the president nor the socialists have long argued with the priority of vector for European integration. But, apparently this move could “sell” to ACUM voters the very idea of ​​cooperation with the Democratic Party and lay the foundations for future cooperation. However, none of this happened because literally a few days later a sensational meeting with the socialists took place, considered by many to be the actual recognition of the informal PSRM-PDM connection. And the crown of these events was the latter’s split in the ranks. First, the ex-speaker of the parliament Andrian Candu played a show of dissatisfaction with the very fact of the meeting and a couple of days later he left the PDM faction (and the party actually) followed by five colleagues. As Candu explained his decision, "The Democratic Party has lost effectiveness and disappoints its electorate." Subsequently, new revelations followed, for example, the statement that in reality more people wanted to leave the ranks of the Democrats but they were intimidated or that Candu discussed his actions with Vlad Plahotniuc. Each step in this story seems to be logical and consistent and within Moldavan reality it convinces even more of its staged nature. The Democratic Party is now in the best position since June, and takes full advantage of this. Being one of the three main forces in Moldovan politics, namely they have the widest room for maneuver. Their help is very necessary both to the right in the person of PAS and DA who are not averse to staging early elections, and to the ruling PSRM party, whose present stability depends on PDM’s position. That is exactly why Democrats are so clever in communicating with one or another; recent contacts with ACUM being most likely intended only to scare the socialists and make them more accommodating. Apparently, it turned out - it is expected that in the near future several ministries will come under the PDM control. In this regard, there was no point to leave the party now, when each of its representatives from the leadership could count on considerable dividends. Therefore, the current PDM “split” is a planned step. The starting point was holding the party’s political council where Candu is not among the vice-chairmen; key plot twist or the act of “betrayal” – the open meeting with socialists, the ex-speaker allegedly did not know about; and the dramatic ending – the withdrawal from the formation they “lost trust” in. The fact that the “golden” democratic action disintegrated in a very convenient way is also convincing of the artificiality of current events. On the one hand, the PDM still has enough deputies to form an effective coalition majority with the socialists. On the other hand, their number will not be enough to, for example elect a president in case the Constitutional Court decides to return the election of the Head of State to parliament. But it was expected that this would be an additional option for Igor Dodon if an unfavorable development of his presidential campaign. The second important point is that odious deputies, including Andrian Candu (Vlad Plahotniuc used to be his best man) left the PDM, thus allowing the Democrat leaders announce the end of the “cleansing” party process from the former Moldova’s owner influence. And at the same time it will be a great excuse for starting official cooperation between socialists and democrats. At the same time, under the conditions of the Social Democratic majority, six “schismatic” representing “Candu & Co.” will have no choice but to join the opposition front led by PAS, since the ground has already been prepared. It is possible that the pro-European declaration will be the first joint project of the two forces. Washington’s influence can be traced in all this combination since it wants no control loss over the political processes in Moldova, especially in the context of the election prospects of the current Moldovan President Igor Dodon. Therefore, to guarantee control, it is necessary to fill all political niches as densely as possible with your clients in the form of PDM; constructing coalition models with their participation on the left, centrist and right flanks. Well, very reasonable and effective tactics. As for the toxic oligarch’s role, it turned out that Interpol has not yet put Plahotniuc on the international wanted list. He has no reason to abandon plans for Moldova through controlling his brainchild represented by PDM. The current PDM “spore division” resembles the process of Vlad Plahotniuc’s laying out his political “Faberge eggs” in different baskets, thus, infecting Moldovan politics on both flanks aiming to step by step regain his influence on Moldova’s politics and economy.