The ruling majority has a theoretical opportunity to block the announcement and appointment of early elections to the country’s parliament
The internal political crisis aggravation in Moldova and the lack of a clear understanding as to the optimal way out of the deadlock continue occupying the minds of Moldovan experts, politicians and representatives of non-governmental organizations. After the Constitutional Court announced its decision on the presidential decree illegality, the leaders of the opposing camps again took a wait-and-see attitude to carefully calculate what are further steps to achieve the desired goals.
One of the main catalysts for the rapid approach of political collapse is the parliament and presidency irresistible desire to solve their tactical tasks outside the country’s constitutional field and to give only nominal legality to their maneuvers. According to experts, in recent weeks, events that dynamically replace each other begin acquiring the first alarming signs and that might lead to a sharp turn towards quite non-democratic forms of internal political struggle.
If the current crisis situation does not find its legal solution and blocks the functionality of the state system, then internal pressure may eventually rush into the streets. Recently, non-systemic opposition forces (that do possess a chance to break into the new parliament in the event of early elections) have increasingly begun to articulate the idea of no alternative to mass protests in order to force the current people’s representatives yield to the will of the people. In conditions when Maia Sandu, being the leader of the entire opposition mainstream, found herself in a somewhat hopeless position and could not offer a clear algorithm, acting by trial and error, the same Our Party and the Civil Congress have good chances to intercept the agenda and lead street resistance.
Attention is drawn to the ultimatum rhetoric that Igor Dodon has recently begun using against the president in public space. Apparently, Sandu’s intransigence forces the socialists’ leader to one way or another, act more decisively and go to open confrontation. This is not entirely characteristic of the ex-president, who, judging by the experience of recent years, still prefers political compromises and behind-the-scenes agreements, rather than open and violent conflicts.
Experts believe that the leaders of the conditional parliamentary majority have several practical options in their arsenal which can be used up to a certain critical point – on March 23, when a three-month period expires, during which, most likely, a new government will not be appointed. After that, Maia Sandu plans to once again appeal to the highest judicial body of the country, since, in her opinion, these circumstances create sufficient grounds for launching the dissolving parliament procedure and calling new elections.
Despite Igor Dodon’s pacifying statements that the socialists do not intend initiating an impeachment procedure against the incumbent president, as practice shows, the PSRM may eventually decide to take such a measure. The main difficulty of such an event is the need to find 68 votes of deputies for the temporary suspension of Sandu from her duties. The potential success of such an event opens up the possibility of appointing a cabinet of ministers, which, apparently, should meet the interests of those very 2/3 of the current people’s representatives. Thus, if the stars converge on the Moldovan political horizon, then under certain circumstances, the vote of impeachment becomes quite an attainable goal.
The epidemiological situation in the country keeps aggravating for several weeks in a row, there’s no visible prospect of large vaccine supplies to Moldova, the penetration of COVID-19 mutations form the necessary background to justify introducing the next restrictive measures, which Aureliu Ciocoi, the acting Moldovan Prime Minister, carefully began announcing. The essence of the initiative is to expand the capabilities of the current interim government, including by means of introducing a state of emergency in the country.
Taking into account the control over the current Cabinet of Ministers that the Socialist Party retains, it can be concluded that the idea of strengthening the positions of the executive body of power during the period of political transition is in demand. Taking into account separate signals from other parliamentary factions, this idea has serious chances of support in order to neutralize the president’s attempts and radically change the existing personnel configuration in ministries and departments.
Moreover, in accordance with the current legislation, the state of emergency restricts the possibility of holding elections to central and local public authorities, including republican and local referendums. Thus, the parliamentary majority has a theoretical opportunity to block announcing and appointing early elections to the country’s legislative body, as well as send the president to a protracted impeachment and solve the problem of appointing a loyal government.
Cancelling elections introducing a state of emergency was discussed even during the presidential campaign, but then there were clear signals from Chisinau’s international partners, primarily the EU and the United States, about the inexpediency of such a step. Nevertheless, the emerging epidemiological situation gives a little more reason for it. Not to mention the fact that now the political stakes are much higher, since we are not talking about the struggle for a ceremonial post, but for very specific prospects for control over the country in the coming years.
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