A dead end has emerged within the confrontation between the president and parliament. Meanwhile, the constitutional field simply provides no way out of it.
The latest Constitutional Court’s decision not only did not help resolving the growing political crisis in the country but, on the contrary, brought the whole situation into a final and irrevocable dead end. What do we have? Maia Sandu’s decree re-nominating Natalia Gavrilitsa was declared unconstitutional. Nevertheless, the president is not going to nominate Mariana Durlesteanu who is the PSRM – “For Moldova” majority’s candidate for prime minister. Moreover, commenting on the current political alignment in the country, the head of state actually delivered an ultimatum: either early elections or a referendum (meaning the vote for her own impeachment).
Maia Sandu is playing all-in and does clearly exceed her powers attempting to break her opponents’ plans. At the same time, she was left struggling alone (except for PAS, no one in the main legislative body wants early elections), and a broad alliance against her, apparently has not yet developed only due to the influence of foreign partners and internal contradictions between parliamentary factions.
Due to political players’ actions and the Constitutional Court’s conclusions, the country found itself in a kind of a limb and it is absolutely unclear how long such a transitional state might last. At the moment, Maia Sandu has practically no legal opportunities to move the situation off the ground. Therefore, when not supporting Durleshteanu’s nomination, she probably expects holding out until the end of the 45-day deadline for dissolving parliament. But it is a big question will the Constitutional Court take such a dead line into account (as it has now become obvious that the CC is hardly loyal to the head of state).
It is characteristic that opposing the president, parliamentary groups found themselves in a difficult situation as well. They can only punish the obstinate Moldovan leader through impeachment but this is still a very exotic and risky option with extremely vague prospects of bringing the matter to an end. Some socialist deputies are already openly talking about a possible start of the procedure, but the same Igor Dodon announced yesterday that the PSRM would not initiate a referendum on impeachment. However, this could be a trick or an interim solution – after all, everybody knows that ex-president is quite flexible in political matters. Moreover, Maia Sandu herself continues sharply steep betting since having burned all the bridges in relations with the current parliament composition.
On the other hand, to start the impeachment procedure, it is necessary gaining 2/3 (67) of the MPs in parliament. The current majority possess only 56 mandates (37 from PSRM, 16 from “For Moldova” plus three independent deputies Nichiforciuc, Andronache and Oleinic). Thus, 11 more “sympathetic” legislators are needed. They can only be taken from the Democrats and the DA platform (which have just 11 deputies each), but hardly any of them will dare taking part in a joint action with Ilan Shor’s group. In addition, the DA has already announced it will not support the head of state’s impeachment.
In view of the mutual impotence, there is no doubt that in the near future new requests will follow to the Constitutional Court in an attempt to tip the scales on their side and force one side or the other one to surrender.
Meanwhile, against the backdrop of incessant political battles, the country is slowly slipping into a state of financial and economic crisis. One of the striking markers is the repeated increase in fuel prices (which possess signs of cartel conspiracy) that remained completely ignored by politicians and officials for a long time. An even more critical situation is emerging within the Moldovan Railway. Its employees have not been paid salaries for several months and the company was on the verge of bankruptcy.
By the way, there is still no Constitutional Court verdict as to the expansion of powers of Aureliu Ciocoi’s interim government. Thus, it remains of limited legal capacity, not having, for example, the right to sign international treaties. And this means that most likely, this year Moldova will not wait for substantial volumes of external financing, including a new program of cooperation with the International Monetary Fund for more than half a billion euros. And it is completely incomprehensible what awaits our country in the near future after being for the second year already mostly cut off from credit funds.
There is also a real danger that once the political confrontation escalates, some players will be interested in the growth of the socio-economic crisis in the country, for which they will try to blame their opponents. This is already happening now (we are looking at the statements about the railway) and I think further on, this game will continue being played with double interest.
We have to admit that at the moment, there is no way out of the current impasse in the political and legal field. One of the effective recipes could be a large-scale constitutional reform but this is still a long-term decision. Well, what are we to do now? In theory, international partners could again take up the settling Moldovan affairs. A little less than two years ago, they were already able to pull Moldova out of the dual power situation and facilitated Vlad Plahotniuc’s expulsion.
However, the 2.0 Ambassadors Revolution still seems quite unlikely. In 2019, it was a unique situational alliance against a specific person who did not like Moscow and Brussels at all and also lost Washington’s support. Now there is no such figure that, in its rejection, could unite external forces so antagonistic to each other. In addition, over the past time, the intensity of the geopolitical confrontation has even increased and narrowed the field for mutual cooperation.
The second option are street protests. Especially strongly this topic is dispersed by the mayor of Balti, Renato Usatii who strives arranging early elections as soon as possible, while the baggage he has accumulated during the presidential campaign can be converted into representation in the future parliament. However, not everything is obvious here either. The mobilization potential of the PAS itself, as we can see from their previous protest actions, is not that great. To cooperate with Usatii, who has a rather controversial reputation, the president apparently has no particular desire either (after the end of the presidential election, as it is stated, there were no contacts between them).
None of the options can be viewed as the best one and there is reason to believe that while the parties want refraining from overly radical options (such as impeachment or mass protests) they are only making a kind of attrition war. We can only hope that the current situation will not last for too long and will not lead to irreparable socio-economic consequences for the country.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.