The Moldovan political system development came to a dead end and it is almost impossible to get out of it without a serious shake-up
Lack of rules and of control on the part of society, “selfish” interests’ pursuit and an acute shortage of people with truly state thinking have long become integral companions of Moldovan political life, which is almost constantly in a state of anarchy within the struggle of all against all. After the Vlad Plahotniuc regime’s collapse, who temporarily managed to centralize the administration of the country around his person, and the onset of the “freedom” period, the political crisis entered a new round. Since that moment, we have already seen several governments, three ruling coalitions, numerous parliamentary rushes, intrigues, betrayals, etc.
Once the presidential campaign ended, the domestic political situation has finally reached a dead end. There is acting a legitimate but powerless president who is desperately trying to reshuffle the parliamentary corps through early elections and mold the government and the ruling coalition “at a customized fit”. There are opponents, mainly in the person of ex-head of state Igor Dodon and the Socialist Party, as well as a group of legislators from the For Moldova faction, who on the contrary, strive postponing parliamentary elections until their own time. There are political forces like the Democratic Party and the DA Platform, which verbally support Maia Sandu’s plans, but in reality, sympathize with her opponents, since their chances for early elections are minimal.
It seems that all the above players are exclusively engaged now in how to outplay each other more politely and take leading positions, ensuring control over key institutions and resource flows. This is certainly a fascinating sight for political strategists. But this endless tug-of-war only harms country’s interests and leads to populist decisions, public administration system’s paralysis, etc., which is especially fraught in conditions of a multilayered crisis (economic, medical, political, etc.).
There is no need to go far for examples of how internal upheavals do negatively affect Moldova generally. Thus, the political leapfrog has already caused failure to receiving substantial amounts of international aid. Until now, a new program of the International Monetary Fund (for more than half a billion dollars) has not been approved, although it was originally supposed to be signed with the allocation of the first tranche in the fall of 2020. Given the lack of a functional government, this process is likely to drag on and in the worst case, our country will not see the IMF money this year either. Do not forget about the Russian infrastructure loan, which fell victim to “clan” showdowns. As a result, hundreds of millions of dollars that international partners were ready to allocate simply “floated” by Chisinau.
Meanwhile, the country is now probably moving towards the most acute internal political crisis’ phase. The president is practically playing all-in, she ” brushes aside” the prime minister candidate from the PSRM – “For Moldova” parliamentary majority and re-nominates Natalia Gavrilitsa. Perhaps, even acting illegally – the Constitutional Court is to decide, since the corresponding socialists’ request has already been submitted.
The current situation further undermines public confidence in state institutions, which is already “at zero”. The current parliament composition is discredited by repeated deputies’ migrations and by pro-oligarchic elements presence in it. The interim government is tightly empowered and the future will anyway face massive challenges. If this is Gavrilitsa’s Cabinet of Ministers then it’s is obvious it will not be allowed to normally work; if this is Durlestean (or another candidate from the camp of the de facto ruling coalition) then there will inevitably occur problems both on the internal and external perimeters. Moreover, there are already rumors has it of mass protests resumption.
Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court is standing at the heart of all this unstable structure; it remains the key arbiter in domestic squabbles. At the same time, it is the Constitutional Court, that has actually perverted the basic law in the name of Vlad Plahotniuc’s interests, is one of the sources of today’s chaos, since the decisions it has made still does negatively affect the situation in the country even in the oligarch’s absence.
It is obvious, the political system of Moldova is in a deep crisis and it seems hopeless to overcome it without a serious shake-up. Systemic and large-scale changes to put an end to “Plahotniuc’s metastases” in the state body are required, so that it is possible closing all the loopholes previously used by unscrupulous politicians and modernize the country’s socio-political structure, taking into account the experience of previous decades.
It cannot be said that the political class of the republic has completely no understanding of the need for structural changes. For example, last year ex-president Igor Dodon initiated creating a special commission on reforming the Constitution, which included former judges of the Constitutional Court, lawyers, representatives of the highest councils of magistracy and prosecutors, etc. As Dodon noted then, the reform was necessary to “solve problems of political instability that are blocking the work of state institutions and political interference in the constitutional justice.”
Unfortunately, the full contents of planned transformations have never been made public. However, it is known that first of all, it was planned to revise and clarify the powers and parameters of Constitutional Court’s activities, as well as to prohibit political tourism, deputies and officials’ dual citizenship, to register the status of Transdniestria, the name of the state language, etc. At the same time, as some signals show, the commission (among other things) was supposed to prepare a draft amendment to transform the public administration system, including providing for an increase in the status and role of the head of state.
Maia Sandu dissolved this commission shortly after inauguration, thus, abandoning the legacy of her predecessor. However, she cannot but understand that the very idea of reforming the basic law was sound and objectively overdue. In just a couple of months of her presidency, Sandu has repeatedly faced a situation when she had to bypass the Constitution or the Constitutional Court decisions made this way or another under Plahotniuc. It is not to mention the fact that her campaign program’s ambitiousness is in stark contrast to the meager tools she has at her disposal.
Early elections, that the opposition and the president are so hoping for will not become a recipe for all problems. What if PAS doesn’t take on most of the mandates? Whom will they have to enter into a coalition with, sharing portfolios and positions: the socialists, Renato Usatii? Besides, what if such a coalition is to lead to a new round of crisis (and we all know it inevitably will)? This hurdy-gurdy can spin endlessly until the very rules of the game are changed. Well, there’s an opinion that only the president, as the only island of legitimacy in the midst of the Moldovan political chaos can do this – if, of course there really is a desire to change something, and not fit into the already established and such profitable schemes.
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