Any Constitutional Court’s decision on the presidential decree to re-nominate Natalia Gavrilita to the position of prime minister does not insure against the further escalating domestic political crisis
The nature of events and the way they are developing in Moldova testifies that the knot of the internal political crisis is tightening around the neck of our state with every passing week. Local and foreign experts, closely monitoring the Moldovan political life, are at a loss and no longer risk giving any specific forecasts about the possible course of internal processes in the country.
Against this background, the foreign policy activity persists. Today, for example, a distinguished foreign guest – OSCE Chairman, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde – arrived in Chisinau on an official visit for the first time this year. The formal purpose of the trip is to personally learn the state of affairs around the Transdniestrian settlement and find ways to move it off the ground. However, according to some international experts, another, no less important and urgent task facing the Swedish diplomat is to support Moldova’s pro-European course in general and President Maia Sandu in particular in her difficult confrontation with political opponents.
The Moldovan authorities expect more attention from the Swedish presidency on two main sensitive topics: human rights issues and promoting free movement between the banks of the Dniester, where situation has worsened over the past few years due to the fault of Tiraspol. The international community, represented by the OSCE, of course, expects the soonest overcoming of the internal political turmoil to foster a unified position of the Moldovan elites regarding the principles and model for resolving a long-standing conflict.
February 23 will show whether the political uncertainty will continue or not. By that time, the Constitutional Court of Moldova plans to finally deliver on the constitutionality of Maia Sandu’s decree on re-nominating Natalia Gavrilita as prime minister. However, the high court issued an interim opinion, refusing to suspend the decree pending its consideration on the merits, at the same time restricting the parliament’s ability to consider the candidacy submitted by the head of state before a final verdict is issued.
From a political point of view, the judges made a very elegant move, almost questioning the position of both parties, while further expanding the space for various interpretations. Such in-limbo state and a difficult-to-predict decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova prompted jitters among the Socialist Party members and frontmen, who interpreted the Moldovan Themis’ actions as a desire to strengthen the powers of the head of state.
At the same time, it is difficult to deny such logic of the court, at least for the reason that returning to the procedure for the 2016 nationwide election of the president implies, in fact, much greater legitimacy and trust of electorate. At the same time, the Constitution of Moldova, in turn, was not adapted to the de facto increased role of the presidential institution in the political life of the country, which is clearly demonstrated by Maia Sandu’s behavior. Igor Dodon was apparently guided by the same considerations when he actively promoted the idea of the need to amend the country’s fundamental law in terms of the powers vested in the first person of the state, which was to be developed by a special expert commission.
In all this uncertainty, experts, journalists and non-governmental organizations have already called Moldovan politicians for prudence and to consider creating a broad coalition of the Socialist Party, PDM, PAS and DA Platform as a possible temporary way out of the current situation. In their opinion, this would help to provide a functional government and agree on an algorithm for entering the path of early elections to the country’s legislative body.
However, an open collaboration of the socialists with representatives of the Shor party and the party-switchers, who joined them, has most probably dashed the last hopes that the presidential faction in parliament would agree to even a temporary anti-crisis cooperation with its direct political opponents. PAS is also unlikely to refuse from their pet project to hold early elections as soon as possible to convert their consolidated rating into a majority representation in the future parliament.
Whatever the Constitutional Court’s decision, Moldovan politics is not immune from the worst – a total internal political blockade, in which Maia Sandu will refuse to nominate a candidate from any parliamentary majority, Natalia Gavrilita will not be considered by the parliament, and the people’s representatives will not be able to initiate and implement the impeachment procedure. It is possible that the administration of the Moldovan president is figuring upon this very political deadlock to force the Constitutional Court to come to the conclusion that the only way out of this situation is to hold early elections.
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