Early elections could be the next step within Moldovan political space restructuring accompanied by a simultaneous removal of all oligarchic and opposition (“pro-Russian”) elements
Yesterday’s Constitutional Court’s decision, which confirmed presidential decree’s legality on Igor Grosu being nominated as prime minister does apparently put if not a full stop, then at least a bold comma in the three-month confrontation between the parliament and the head of state. From now on, legislators face a difficult choice – to either support the vote of confidence in the Cabinet of Ministers of PAS immigrants, or not – and in the latter case, the country is almost guaranteed to get through early elections.
As well known, it is most likely for the major part of current parliament inhabitants not to get into its new composition. The Democratic Party, the Candu group and Pentru Moldova, the SHOR party and the DA platform remain “overboard”. And the largest faction in the main legislative body of the country – the socialists – runs the risk of missing half of its mandates, or even more. In this sense, yesterday’s Constitutional Court’s verdict knocks the ground out of the parliamentary forces and puts them in a difficult position.
As to Maia Sandu, it seems that she will be satisfied with any events development – even if voting for the Grosu’s government. She understands what are the benefits of taking control over the executive branch, which will help ensuring growth, or at least maintain an already high rating and which makes it possible to count on a single majority in early elections. The basis for the interim cabinet’s success might be attracting substantial volumes of external support, for example, macro-financial assistance from the EU, loans from the IMF and the World Bank, grants from neighboring Romania.
Along with, Maia Sandu will try to further expand the already significantly expanded PAS electoral base by means of strengthening the diaspora’s potential. So, the president has already announced her intentions to open even more polling stations abroad (namely, the powerful voting of Moldovan citizens in foreign countries allowed Sandu getting such an impressive lead over Dodon during presidential elections).
Thus, after a series of trial and error, the head of state still managed, at least at this stage, to outplay the parliament and seize the strategic initiative in a protracted confrontation. At the same time, this success became possible in many respects due to Chisinau’s international partners actions, primarily Brussels and Washington. They have recently become noticeably more active in Moldovan affairs, giving public rebukes on certain events and carrying out dynamic shuttle diplomacy. There is every reason to believe that it was the US Ambassador Derek Hogan’s influence that stopped parliament from taking more radical measures against the obstinate president.
As a result, legislators did not dare breaking the rules of game, unlike the same Sandu, who simply ignored fulfilling duties prescribed by the main law to achieve the stated goals. Apparently, it was not without external influence when the key act within the presidential-parliamentary battle, and namely Operation Durleshteanu, allowed the president to push Igor Grosu’s candidacy bypassing parliament.
What’s next? As already noted, the new parliament composition is likely to undergo significant changes. The current ruling socialists have a high chance to find themselves without “friends” at all and get back to a much less “comfortable” opposition than they used to be during Vlad Plahotniuc’s regime.
Earlier, colleagues have already drawn parallels with processes taking place in Ukraine and assumed that the Moldovan president could benefit from his neighbors experience (she has, by the way, quite good relations with). As well known, Kiev initiated a tough media and political space clean-up from opposition elements under the pretext of their “pro-Russian” character and work against the state. A number of media outlets have already come under sanctions, the leader of the Sharia Party (at the moment a ban on the entire formation is being prepared), as well as the main friend of the Kremlin in Ukraine, the head of the political council of the Opposition Platform – For Life party Vicktor Medvedchuk.
This may become a certain teaser for the fate of another Moscow’s partner, but this time in Moldova. There is no doubt the Moldovan political platform will also undergo reorganization. The first “victim”, as yesterday’s events in parliament testify, is the Shor party. Two of its deputies, Denis Ulanov and Petru Jardan, were removed from immunity yesterday at the request of the Prosecutor General and both MPs were detained and taken to a pre-trial detention center. This is probably just the beginning of troubles for the political force of the former Orhei mayor, who was shown a red card by both the United States and the European Union. In these conditions, one can finally expect more active criminal proceedings against Ilan Shor himself, the sessions on whose case are now constantly postponed.
At the same time, not only the left but some of the right forces as well will get “in the hit of the moment”. This is mainly about the party of Andrei Nastase. The platform turned out to be an obvious outsider in alliance with PAS and for the sake of survival, its leader drowned Sandu throughout almost her entire election campaign, in fact playing into the hands of Dodon. Now Nastase’s associates regularly come out with barely veiled criticism for the president, and Alexandru Slusari did publicly call Sandг being the most cynical politician in the country. The DA members disappointment is understandable – the platform had a chance to become a part of parliamentary layouts that would have brought its chairman to the post of prime minister (according to rumors, this did not happen again solely thanks to convincing warnings from some external actors). Now, judging by the DA’s ratings, its electorate will be almost completely absorbed in the next vote by the pro-presidential party.
Whatever happens on, yesterday’s political events lead the country to early parliamentary elections one way or another. The only question is when will they be held. It also means that the period of freedom that followed Plahotniuc regime’s collapse is now ending. Under the supervision of Western partners, Moldova is being consistently consolidated around the figure of the president and her party. In the future, the republic will apparently face a vast political restructuring when surgically removing all oligarchic and opposition elements. The goal is to finally wrest the country out of the Russian’s influence orbit and put it on a firm Euro-Atlantic integration path. However, there could possibly exist other motives as well.
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