Vladimir Plahotniuc is consistently regaining his grip on the Democratic Party, while the SOR party is preparing to become part of the ruling coalition
The election campaign launched last week and the parallel storylines around it once again convince of the forthcoming exciting period of rapidly alternating internal political battles. The latter will definitely be fueled by external stakeholders who openly demonstrate their concern for the final outcome of the current electoral cycle.
The ruling government is actively seeking Moscow’s political and practical support through online meetings both at the presidential level and within the Russian-Moldovan intergovernmental dialogue. The opposition, in turn, more and more often appeals to the West, focusing the European capitals’ and international democratic institutions’ attention on the upcoming elections. Therefore, various declarations are likely to become commonplace during this month, following the recent example when 19 EU countries urged Moldovan politicians to hold free and fair elections.
Meanwhile, the country is witnessing political forces reshuffle and informal alliances establishment to solve (post)electoral problems. In particular, there were clear signs in the past period that Igor Dodon’s entourage has succeeded in reaching consensus with the fugitive oligarch Ilan Sor. This is primarily evidenced by the recent data that several defendants and two Sor party MPs, close to its leader, were withdrawn from the prosecution in the notorious theft of a billion case. It is still difficult to say whether the Sor faction deputies are expected to officially consolidate the ruling majority. However, it is obvious that this political force is going to be incorporated in one form or another to ensure stability of the current power configuration.
No less striking events should be expected also in relation to the Democratic Party of Moldova, which has been going through a difficult period in its history throughout the year. We have recently reflected on the “old guard’s” revenge and attempt to seize control over the DPM. Therefore, no one was surprised at last week’s news that Vladimir Plahotniuc is in nearby Turkey (in fact, the only country today which Moldova has regular air traffic with) and almost daily receives delegations of Moldovan officials, deputies, businessmen and various confidants.
Against this background, the incumbent DPM leader Pavel Filip’s timid efforts to consolidate the political formation proposing a new internal agenda through not entirely plausible initiatives look like a gesture of despair. It is known for certain that DPM’s current configuration is extremely unstable, and one of the party “shareholders” Dumitru Diacov openly declares the desire of several more deputies to leave the coalition with the PSRM. In this regard, there should probably be no doubt that Plahotniuc will complete the raider seizure of the party and put a political brainchild back under his single authority, regaining lost positions.
A small “Plahotniuc” dose injection into the unfolding electoral race might have been sanctioned by Washington and Brussels, who see this as an opportunity to increase Maia Sandu’s rating, since she is in no way associated with the Moldovan oligarchs. It is possible that bringing such a toxic factor back to the Moldovan internal politics can hit Dodon’s electoral campaign hard, who throughout the year tried to expunge himself from the country’s oligarchic past and obliterate certain provoking episodes of his 2016-2019 presidency. For that reason, the president may be subject to methodical pressure from the two flanks in the near future – that is, not only from the opposition, but also from the Moldovan oligarchy eager for revenge.
An increasing number of COVID-19 cases among MPs and the Moldovan parliament staff draws particular attention. As a result, the next plenary session will apparently not take place before the first round of the presidential elections, thus helping eliminate surprises unwanted for the Moldovan leadership ahead of November 1 (in the form of the government’s resignation, for example). In this regard, experts began to notice more and more often that the president has noticeably toned down his rhetoric about early parliamentary elections and is increasingly synchronizing himself with the Democratic Party leaders, who openly reject the idea of dissolving the parliamentary corps, which, in their opinion, could lead to disaster.
The impending acute phase of the electoral struggle is forcing the main players to gather into “political flocks” in the hope that they will successfully overcome the forthcoming election cycle and preserve their party-factional positions. As has been noted more than once, the Moldovan parliament in its current composition is the main support for various oligarchic groups. Therefore, when Dodon is signaling his readiness to them to postpone early elections hopeful of being assisted in his re-election, he takes a risky path that can deprive him of both the presidency and the unity in the socialist faction.
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