The still ruling coalition has today finally lost its nominal majority in parliament. The opposition’s long-promised vote of no confidence in Ion Chicu’s government will probably follow soon. But will it find the necessary support?
The opposition’s crusade against the ruling coalition and the current government is approaching its peak. Today, an important psychological milestone has been taken: the socialist Stefan Gatcan, the one who won the notorious by-elections in the Hincesti district, has gone over to the Pro Moldova faction. Until this day, I recall, the Candu-Shor group in the parliament was “fueled” exclusively by democrats. The separation of the deputy from the previously monolithic Party of Socialists takes the confrontation to the next level, which means that we should soon wait for a logical continuation and that is the vote of no confidence in the government.
Among those who continue to “dig” intensively under the current Cabinet, stand out distinctly two wings with their leaders. The first is of course Andrian Candu, who organized the PDM split and deputies’ transfers from the party ranks at the behest of his patron Vlad Plahotniuc. Candu is primarily responsible for power accumulation. “gold loaded donkeys” (the sum hundreds of thousands of euros for one such transfer was announced) they took quite a number of “fortresses” from Pro Moldova to the Moldovan parliament, now they reached PSRM. At the same time, a group of renegade democrats are massively dispersing the topic of the vote of no confidence. Over the past months, there have been considerable successes in this field: even if the blitzkrieg did not succeed, Candu was nevertheless able to begin negotiations on this issue with the pro-European opposition, previously not interested in such contacts. The main trump card of Pro Moldova is its demonstrative “disinterestedness”: the formation (in word) does not pretend to be in the new cabinet, thereby smoothing out the negative effects of potential cooperation for partners.
Last week, Andrian Candu called on the opposition parties again and on PDM, to discuss the work of the government (the sense is obvious). The first round of negotiations was already held on Monday: Pro Moldova and the Shor party attended them as well. As you might guess, the political forces supervised by the same oligarchs came to a general consensus about the need to resign the Chicu government.
The second attack wing is led by Andrei Nastase, for whom this is perhaps one of the last chances to play big. The once popular politician’s rating fell to a few percent, approximately the same thing happened with the platform “Dignity and Truth” that he led. As already noted, along with the oligarchic factions, DA is least interested in early elections since it will inevitably cut its current representation in the legislature by at least a half.
At the same time, Nastase gives a certain pro-European gloss to the ongoing processes, being responsible for the second phase of the operation: the formation of a new government. At this stage, it is planned to compose it either entirely from DA natives or in cooperation with colleagues from PAS. Last week, the party even presented a plan of action for the first hundred days. Its main priority is the fight against the coronavirus spread and mortality from COVID-19 reduction, including measures to protect medical personnel and encourage doctors. In addition, it is proposed to separate the Ministry of Health from the Ministry of Social Protection and review the work of the health system in the country. The party also plans to stimulate local producers, revise the state budget, reduce all non-urgent expenses, increase allowances or exempt from taxes agricultural producers affected by natural disasters.
In fact, Nastase is going all-in now, risking the remnants of his rating and party reputation hoping to break the jackpot represented by his own cabinet. Although the former Interior Minister publicly denies any ties with the Candu-Shor group, every day these ties become more and more obvious in fact. And even the DA vice-chairman, Alexander Slusar, discussing the Chicu government resignation, no longer hiding relies on Pro Moldova votes.
In light of Stefan Gatcan’s last dash, the opposition is closer than ever to the final assault. Oddly enough, the opposition’s colleagues in the person of PAS are the only obstacle on this path. The party of Maia Sandu tried to maneuver for a long time, either declaring the need for the cabinet to resign or taking a step back and saying that “a bad government is better than nothing.” Nevertheless, the field for maneuver is rapidly narrowing, and the moment to make the final choice is getting closer. Under these conditions, Andrei Nastase is increasingly putting pressure on former ACUM partners through the media, demanding support and turning to direct accusations against Sandu stating that she sets election goals above the country’s interests.
This is partly true. For Sandu, things are not going the worst. All the failures of the current government only increase her political capital before the fall presidential election. On the other hand, in fact it is the PAS position that now keeps the Social Democratic coalition afloat and that may not appeal to the pro-European electorate target. Moreover, according to rumors in the party itself is also growing dissatisfaction with the current general line. Many of its members are not averse to occupying grain positions in the Moldovan government and starting a new post and departmental feeders’ redistribution.
At the moment, it is PAS that owns the very “golden share”, that can decide the fate of the current domestic political crisis. In fact, the party faced a difficult choice. On the one hand, it is quite understandable Maia Sandu’s reluctance to somehow tarnish herself cooperating with oligarchic groups in parliament and take risks being the country’s leadership in such a difficult period. She absolutely takes also into account the position of the European Union that has already voiced its opinion about dysfunctionality of the current parliament and the need for early elections. On the other hand, taking into account the latest changes in parliament, the moment of the vote of no confidence in the government is getting closer and its failure due to PAS and Maia Sandu’s personal position might cost them a lot.
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