The public lull associated with the Constitutional Court’s awaiting decision has intensified the behind-the-scenes bidding of key Moldovan players around the new government formation and approval
While the public awaits with interest the Constitutional Court’s decision on the legality of Natalia Gavrilitsa’s re-nomination for the post of Prime Minister, Moldovan politics, as usual, disappeared behind the scenes – into the area of fierce bargaining, negotiations and discussions. One thing is clear: as the next day passes, early elections are increasingly turning into an unattainable mirage, and the main question for now is whose protégé will take the reins of power in the Cabinet of Ministers.
Analyzing some behind-the-scenes rumors, the draft of the Constitutional Court’s decision is already made, and it’s not in president’s favor that it was drawn up. At the same time, a number of signals indicate that as colleagues assumed, the promoting Mariana Durleshtean was only a socialists’ distraction, and the main role in this multi-act play is assigned to the leader of the Dignity and Truth platform, Andrei Nastase.
The latter is still considered by many, if not a comrade-in-arms, then at least a like-minded person of President Maia Sandu. The facts suggest otherwise. The “cold war” between the two leaders of the pro-European opposition has been waged for a long time, and their interests have repeatedly entered the phase of direct collision: for example, at the by-election to parliament in the Hincesti district or during the presidential campaign, where the DA chairman openly “drowned” the future head of state when fulfilling the role of a “spoiler”.
Rhetorically, Andrei Nastase, just as before, continues supporting Maia Sandu’s initiatives, but de facto has long been playing his own game aiming at re-actualizing himself within the Moldovan politics through the government leadership. The ex-head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was literally offering his prime minister’s services at every turn of the internal political confrontation. And now, when criticizing the actions of the president, he leads to the idea that for the good of the country and in order to avoid the approval of the Cabinet by the PSRM and For Moldova factions, it is necessary for the DA platform to form a minority government.
It is natural for the next question to immediately arise here: where exactly is Andrei Nastase planning to get 51 votes from for “his” cabinet in parliament? He clearly does not intend to cooperate with the Shor party. At first glance, cooperation with the PSRM can also be ruled out. Or cannot?
Despite the fact that Nastase’s party and PSRM remain antagonists in terms of media, rumors have multiplied recently about active negotiations between the DA and the Socialists and Democrats regarding the formation of a broad coalition in the Moldovan parliament and the approval of a compromise government with Nastase in the role of prime minister.
This seems to be true, even because such a move would play into the hands of all participants in this potential agreement. Nastase himself would get the opportunity to save the falling ratings of his party and himself, to prevent the DA platform being completely absorbed by the PAS party electorate (which has practically taken place at the moment) and save as well the least prospects of getting into the next parliament.
For PDM and PSRM, such cooperation would provide a convenient excuse to avoid holding early elections under the pretext of forming a “government of national salvation” in the context of a severe economic crisis and pandemic. It would also help the socialists avoiding extremely unpleasant cooperation with the toxic Shor party, which irritates both the domestic public and international partners, as well as avoid the need to satisfy their considerable (allegedly) coalition appetites.
Many representatives of all the parties mentioned do support this scenario making public statements, including Igor Dodon’s soft signals, whose words say that Nastase is by no means an unacceptable candidate for the post of head of the Cabinet. In addition, it is obvious that it would be much easier to negotiate with the external partners of Chisinau with the DA chairman in the prime minister’s office, especially in terms of receiving financial assistance, which in the event of the PSRM-Shor alliance will inevitably be frozen until better times.
According to some data, only the persistent persuasion of some important foreign actors has so far prevented the actual unification of the right and left forces into a single tactical coalition against the president. However, this does not mean these plans were completely abandoned. Now we see Nastase’s active attempts to “sell” to foreign partners the idea of an anti-crisis pro-European government. Thus, the other day he met with US Ambassador Derek Hogan, where, among other things, this issue was discussed, as well as the internal political crisis in the country generally.
Andrei Nastase has no reason to side with the president. He needs nor early elections, since at the moment his party would not receive mandates in principle, or further presidential rating strengthening, that would a right-wing voters flow into the ranks of PAS supporters. In these conditions, the instinct of self-preservation may ultimately outweigh even the opinion of international partners. The decision made by the leader of the DA in the end can be partly judged by the verdict of the Constitutional Court, where, as we remember, as a result of last year’s reshuffle, Nastase’s political formation got a strong influence and the post of chairman.
It is obvious that the head of state and her entourage are well aware where does the wind of factional negotiations blow from, and most likely they are preparing reciprocal moves. At the very least, the presidential candidate for prime minister Natalya Gavrilitsa’s statement about possible changes in the composition and program of her government seemed very curious. Are they preparing for a situational informal alliance with one of the parliamentary parties, well that is a good question and as early as next week we will probably find out the answer to it.
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